Jason Dauman, Founder & President of Dauman Music Inc.
February 18, 2015
by Whitney Parsons
Are you a songwriter, but not necessarily a performer? How do you shop your songs to recording artists and get them placed on great albums? Jason Dauman is someone you might want to ask! He has quite the respectable catalogue of successful song placements, and though song plugging definitely isn’t an easy job, Jason’s achievements might make you believe otherwise!
He has matched songs to some of the biggest names in the industry, including The Pretenders, Bette Midler, Rod Stewart, and Natalie Cole. A Celine Dion album that went on to sell 30 million copies and win a Grammy? Yup, Jason placed one of the title tracks! His most notable collaboration and placement, he says, was The Pretenders ‘I’ll Stand By You,’ because though it wasn’t technically his biggest chart topper, “it has been covered so many times by so many amazing artists and continues to be relevant today. The original version is even back as a top seller on iTunes. It is the crown jewel of placements.”
Jason says that, today, song matching has really become a collaboration game. With top 10 hits being penned by the same few superstar songwriters, “the power of the outside song and the outside writer has never been more vital in the writing marketplace. But it is a small playing field and an interesting time.”
Why has Jason been so successful in playing the matchmaking game between songwriters and recording artists? Because he knows that it’s all about casting, and he knows how to do the casting!
If you cast well, you should absolutely have opportunities. It ultimately comes down to: “it should fit like a hand and glove.” Does the song fit the artist’s image? I try to prioritize songs that could impact the radio and also try to bring fresh ears to a situation. It's understandable for a songwriter to get emotionally attached to their most recent work. Sometimes fresh ears can help refocus on past works that fall through the cracks. I hear how breathtaking some of these older songs are and have the ability to cast them properly.
Dauman Music Inc. puts out about 10 different projects a year and has a 90% Chart Success rate on Billboard (give or take). 90%! Jason believes that this success stems from the company’s organic approach to the business. They don’t really go into any campaign with a set quota. Rather, they focus solely on the music. In other words, they focus on quality over quantity.
Sometimes it takes persistence…we had a top 10 adult contemporary record that I pitched over 200 times until we got a ‘Yes’ that made the record successful. But you have to gauge reactions – if there is a consistent issue with a particular song that isn’t performing as well as expected, you maybe move it down on your priority list.
A writer shouldn’t get too married to a certain song, even if they believe in it. Don’t sabotage your career over one song.
I think a lot of writers, especially young ones, are too eager, and not helping themselves in the long run. There is a balance between knowing when to move on and knowing when to keep pursuing something.
Music, as Jason so perfectly described, “isn’t something that comes off an assembly line.” To make its way to the top, a song has to be unique and stand out on its own. And finding that one great song to record is vital to a singer/recording artist’s career. In many cases, one song can boost an artist from nobody to the top of the charts. Britney Spears’ first hit ‘…Baby One More Time,’ for example, was actually written for TLC to record. But “there was some disagreement between the record label and the songwriter, so the latter took his song back and Britney ended up with it.”
We all know how Britney’s career skyrocketed after that debut song, so it goes to show exactly how important, and how competitive Jason’s line of work really is.
It is creative warfare, even if you are well armed. Sometimes you admire your competitors, but you have to hold your own. I remember when I held a song at #2 on the alternative charts, but I LOVED the song that was at #1. It’s hard to put your business hat on and set your personal taste to the side.
However he does manage to keep his business hat in place seems to work because Jason has ensured countless radio hits and collaborations over the years!
Thank you Jason for the great insight into the world of song placement!