I’m often asked about what it takes to be a successful songwriter or more often, “How do I get my songs heard?” There is no one answer to this question as everyone must find there own path and decide what success means to you. But there is one attribute that is an absolute necessity to be successful as a songwriter in this business: Tenacity. It’s different from consistent or pushy. It’s more like a dog with a bone who refuses to give up. Here is how Webster’s defines it: maintaining, adhering to, or seeking something valued or desired.
At some point you will decide whether or not songwriting is a hobby or a career. A hobby is something you do without expecting financial reward. If you achieve some success as a by-product that’s great, but I can almost guarantee that a “hobby” songwriter never makes a substantial living doing so. Everybody who is truly successful these days is tenacious as all get out whether it is developing social networks to promote their music or trying to get songs placed in film and television projects. Even on the professional writer level I would say 1 or 2 out of 20 songs ever generate substantial income and if they write 2 or 3 hits a year they have been a tremendous success. In fact they would probably win BMI or ASCAP “Songwriter Of The Year” awards. That’s true for country, pop, urban and all contemporary genres.
It just won’t magically happen unless you’re Rebecca Black and you’re so bad you’re good. I consider that to be a novelty record. It won’t happen like that again for a while. The last one was William Hung or maybe even the “Pants On the Ground” dude. But those are rare events. I certainly wouldn’t recommend that as a career path. YOU will have to be like a dog with a bone.