Getting Your Songs Cut – Part 2

© 2012 Vinny Ribas

Here are some strategies for build the credibility and developing the relationships you need to move your songwriting career forward.

  1. Write with established writers. That gives you instant credibility. You need to earn your way there, but both NSAI and Indie Connect can help with that. So will the strategies below.
  2. Write with up-and-coming artists. You never know who is going to ‘break’, even if it is as an independent artist. Liz Rose started working with Taylor Swift when Taylor was around 14, and ended up with 7 songs on her first CD.
  3. Establish your credibility by getting indie cuts worldwide. Search online to find singers who don’t write, or artists who haven’t written enough originals. You can license your song to them. If you have a professional demo recorded, you might even be able to license the track to them. Some will even ask you for sheet music.
  4. Hire a reputable song plugger. This is another place where it is difficult to find someone who can and will actually do something with your songs. Here’s the big tip – If they advertise their song plugging services, chances are they are not worth paying. The reputable pluggers, at least here in Nashville, work on a referral basis only. Most don’t have websites. They don’t lurk around the songwriter forums. You literally have to be referred to them.
  5. Co-write with writers who are active on the songwriter circuit here in Nashville. They may not have cuts yet, but your song can get a lot of exposure if they play them at songwriter nights. Recently I saw 3 songwriters at 3 different locations all play the same song that they co-wrote together. That really increases your chances of getting your song heard by the right person.
  6. Join forums like (look for a forum run by Marc Alan Barnette. It is packed with great songwriter advice, including how the Nashville songwriter scene works) and Just Plain Folks ( You can get great advice and helpful critiques, find co-writers and get referrals to reputable industry pros.
  7. Write with producers, engineers and recording studio owners. They often work with artists who need to find songs for their CD projects.
  8. Submit your songs for evaluation by reputable evaluators (ask for referrals to effective ones). They should have some strong credits, and thus great connections. They might even offer to co-write with you, giving you instant credibility and access to their contacts.
  9. You can approach publishers for permission to send 1-3 songs. Do your homework first to make sure they are reputable. You don’t want to sign a publishing deal, even if it is just for one song, with a publisher who doesn’t have the ability to shop your songs to the right people. Don’t let the ‘No Unsolicited Material’ label prevent you from making a phone call. You might ask if there is a certain kind of song that they are looking for right now. If you have something that will work, let them know. They just might give you a shot if you come across as a professional.
  10. Hire up-and-coming artists to sing on your demos. If they like your song enough, they just might cut it.
  11. Join NSAI (Nashville Songwriters Association International – With your membership you get song critiques. And if they like your song, they just might open some doors for you. They also have pitch to publisher nights, so if you’re in Nashville you can submit your songs directly to reputable publishers. Coming to their annual conferences will connect you with countless industry people worth knowing.
About The Author

Vinny Ribas

Vinny Ribas is the founder and CEO of Indie Connect, an artist management, consulting and training company. The company also hosts networking and educational events and has published an app that connects people to the Nashville Music Industry. During his 40+ year career, Vinny has been a full time musician, artist manager, booking agent, songwriter, studio owner, producer and the Entertainment Director for the NV State Fair. He has also coached over 1000 artists and songwriters. He is a sought after speaker and has authored over 400 music industry articles. Vinny is also the CEO of Top 4M Entertainment, an independent film and television production company.