There are several songwriting organizations and Websites that are more than willing to take your money and teach you how to succeed in today’s music business. One of them is SongTown.com, an online songwriting community launched in late 2014 by hit songwriters, Clay Mills and Marty Dodson. Now as Mills and Dodson are both staff songwriters for Nashville-based music publishers, one might think that SongTown is only a Website for country music songwriters. But is that true?
Some of you know that I am an aspiring songwriter as well and am a member of several songwriting organizations including Global Songwriters Connection, Songsalive!, Frettie and yes — SongTown. I also used to be a member of the Nashville Songwriters Association (NSAI) and probably will be again later this year. But for this post, I wanted to describe my experiences with SongTown.
As of this post, SongTown has over 700 members who have paid subscription fees ranging from $15.99 per month to $172.00 or $629.00 annually. The $629.00 annual plan offers additional benefits including access to (2) two of their educational courses, special Webinars and a pro mentoring session with either Mills or Dodson.
While members have their own profiles which they can upload and showcase the songs that they’ve written, most of the interaction between other members happens on the SongTown forums. The forums have more than 10,000 posts already with the most popular categories being the Song and Lyric feedback discussion boards (which isn’t surprising). There are other songwriting forums on the Internet including SongRamp, Tunesmith and MusesMuse but one unique thing that the SongTown forums offers is the opportunity to get pro feedback from professional songwriters including Mills and Dodson.
SongTown offers many opportunities to consume their educational content including several blogs discussing songwriting tips and music business knowhow, a vast video library of interviews that Dodson and Mills have done with well-known music professionals from hit songwriters (Tia Sellers, etc.) to experienced producers (Gary Pacsoza, etc.). There are also free monthly member-only Webinars and “crash-course” events that you can participate in for an additional fee which is usually around a couple hundred dollars. Last, but not least, you can also schedule a pro mentoring session with a growing number of music industry professionals including Dodson, Mills, Clay Myers, a veteran music publisher, hit songwriters Danny Myrick and Chuck Jones and Andrew Petroff, a songwriter who has established himself as a top track programmer. Fees are about a couple hundred dollars as well per session.
Everyone wants recognition for their songs or songwriting talent so SongTown offers several opportunities for its members. These include monthly “Most Wanted” songwriter contests for the top songs submitted by members. While there is no prize for being featured as a “Most Wanted” songwriter, the friendly competition is fun and it’s another way to showcase and get feedback on your best songs by fellow members. As mentioned above, there are also educational courses and mentoring sessions that cost an additional fee. These are great opportunities to get personal attention from music industry pros and to get specific guidance on how you can improve your songwriting. And if you have a great song that is ready to pitch, you never know what doors may be opened for you.
SongTown is a great community for songwriters who want to take their craft to a professional level because of the leadership and carefully thought-out educational and networking opportunities that Dodson and Mills have created for their SongTown members. While the site’s songwriting tips and education are valuable for any songwriter who wants to improve their craft, you’ll find that most members are there because they want to be doing music professionally – whether it’s writing and placing songs for other artists, film or TV or they want to be performing singer-songwriters themselves.
Now even though many of SongTown members are focused on writing country or folk-related music, there are several members who write in the pop, R&B and hip hop genres as well. So while there is a strong country music presence on the site, I believe that the education and tips presented for improving your songwriting craft are universal and can be applied to any genre of music — even jazz. I guess that’s why they say that Nashville is the songwriting capital of the world. Not because of country music, but because of the supportive community that they’ve built for songwriters.
I think Dodson and Mills have done that as well with their SongTown community and recommend that you check it out.