Jody is a music industry veteran. Former VP of Creative PRO BMI and worked there for 25 years total. Currently Jody has started Jody Williams Songs, which is a joint publishing venture of Warner Chapel Music Nashville.
His love for music publishing has always been apart of his life throughout his career. Jody serves on the board of the CMA and is a trustee on the County Music Hall of Fame.
What inspired you to jump in and be apart?
Jody’s next door neighbor, Billy Crane, was a big part of his start in music. They had a little garage band and would play shows. This dream stayed until his first year of college until things started picking up and he quit college to move to Nashville and open a record store.
Because of the economy, he was advised to wait on opening the store and instead took a paid internship at BMI in the mail room. In this season, Jody became more and more interested in the backside of the music industry. While he was working this internship, he met his wife and they have been a team on this journey in the music business.
During this time Jody was writing, recording and connecting with artists, but when he saw the path of publishing, he knew that was where he was meant to go.
Jody got a job at Sound Seventy Productions doing publishing. This was the learning stage for Jody on how to pitch songs and be a good publisher.
“The Nashville publishing community needs each other. We depend on each other and it is all about relationship”.
Jody worked at EMI for 2 years and was able to work with even better writers. -He moved to Sony Tree Publishing and stayed there for a few years, but while he was there he was able work with hall of fame artist and continued to grow and take his career to the next level.
-In 1986 Jody got a call to be a writer representative at BMI. -In 1995 MCA (universal) music publishing called Jody up to be the head of publishing. This company merged with another company and Williams ended up losing this job.
While Williams was searching for a job, artist and writers were calling him asking for publishing services, and to pitch songs. Williams never wanted to own his own
company, but it was clear that God was opening the door for him to start his own publishing company. He opened up a small office and the moment that he was signing a lease, something clicked and Jody knew that he was right where he needed to be. This company lasted for 7 years and was a testimony to faithfulness and hard work.
Taylor Swift Career
During this time, Jody bought a Catalog from Sony called “King Lizard” which was full of songs written by Liz Rose. Jody hired Liz as a staff writer and Liz loved connecting with young artist that often were overlooked. One of the young artists Liz was writing with just happened to be Taylor Swift. Taylor’s career started taking a turn and they began pitching and submitting songs. Next thing you know, Taylor was signed by Scott Borchetta.
Later down the road, BMI calls and asks him to be head of creative at the company. This was a stable job and Williams was able support his family more while living out a dream of his to be head of a major Nashville publishing company. Jody sold his publishing catalog to a Canadian company and took the job at BMI and stayed there for 14 years.
How does one start a publishing business financially?
You must be able to create critical mass to pay all your writers or make money off of catalog sales. A joint venture with another company is the way to go, and it is a small safety net to help you get your business going.
Jody Williams Songs
Warner Chapel Music Publishing