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Creative Services: Vice President/general Manager Of Creative Services • General Manager Of Music Publishing (major Music Publisher)


This area of music publishing directs the creative affairs of the company with regard to the exploitation of songs, acquisition of catalog, and signing of new writers.

At Sony/ATV Music, Woody Bomar's chief responsibilities are to manage and motivate the creative department and staff songwriters, and to exploit the song catalog by securing recordings and licensing use to film, television, advertising, and other forms of performance. He is involved in acquiring existing catalog and scouting new writers to sign with the company. The recording of demos and cataloging of songs also fall under his direction, as does interfacing with personnel at joint venture publishing companies.


Success in creative services requires several qualifications. You must have an ear for recognizing great songs and the ability to connect songs with the appropriate artists to potentially record them. You must have close personal contacts within the music industry, self-confidence, and an outgoing personality. Strong people skills will enable you to work well with a variety of personalities, both inside and outside the company, and to deal with them in a positive and friendly way.


Bomar's workday begins with a 9 a.m. meeting with his creative staff. They listen to the new songs that were turned in the previous day by their staff writers and cast the songs (decide which song to pitch to which artist). They discuss scheduled meetings to play songs for various artists, producers, managers, A&R personnel, and others, and what type of songs those individuals want. During the course of a day, Bomar often meets with writers looking for songwriting deals and may begin negotiating terms. He also meets with the firm's staff songwriters to listen to a newly written tune, hear their pitching suggestions, or simply lend an understanding ear when they are discouraged. Throughout the day he interacts with the business, administration, and legal departments, and handles a variety of managerial and analytical tasks.


Read Billboard, Music Row, American Songwriter, and other trade magazines to become familiar with the industry players.

“Be a friendly face. Don't be too pushy. Remember the Golden Rule and treat other people like you want to be treated. Be the kind of person you would like to encounter if you were the person in the hiring or signing position.”

“There are going to be a lot of ups and downs in publishing. You have to be committed for the long haul. Don't let yourself get discouraged when you're in those valleys, just keep working towards that next hill.”


Bomar suggests that a good way to get into music publishing is through the music business program at a university or college. In Nashville, the two top schools are Belmont University and Middle Tennessee State University in Murfreesboro. “Not only do you get a good education, but through the internships, you make a lot of contacts, and over the years I've hired many, many people that I met through their internship at my company.” Internships give students a chance to get inside a company, where the staff gets to know them and sees how they work. “If you're the kind of person they'd like to have on an ongoing basis, many times, after the internship is over, it turns into a job when there is an opening.”

Another good way is to attend writers' nights to meet songwriters and publishers, and begin to network within the industry. Through those contacts, you may hear of an opening or meet someone who can give you a recommendation.


“When somebody has a problem, I tend to be the guy they go to.”


“Being involved in music and being involved in songs. It's about the songs and the peoplethat's the joy of doing this kind of business at a company like this (Sony/ATV Music). It's hearing these great songs. We have a song currently rocketing up the charts, recorded by Martina McBride. It's called “Love's the Only House.” It is written by Tom Douglas and Buzz Cason. Tom writes for us. I remember the day in one of our 9 a.m. sessions, we were listening to the new songs and that song came on and it just knocked me out. It was just a stand out. Of all the others, that one just stood out that day as being greatness.”


Woody Bomar grew up in a tiny southern town 60 miles from Nashville, writing songs, playing in local bands, and dreaming of one day being like Elvis Presley. “I grew up listening to music and loving music. After school I'd stop by Hatfield's Drug Store and put money in the jukebox and listen to brand new records.” While attending Middle Tennessee State University near Nashville, he got the chance to play some of his songs for music publishers. He was drafted right after college and served a year stateside, and another year in Vietnam. During that time he produced a television and touring show for the Army's Entertainment Division and continued to write songs and submit them by mail, and eventually one was recorded. After he was discharged, Bomar returned to pursue his career in songwriting, but quickly became discouraged. When an opportunity to write ad copy at a Nashville advertising agency presented itself, he took the job.

Ten years later, when Bomar was executive vice president and only wrote songs as a hobby, Loretta Lynn cut one of his tunes. The cut gave him the confidence to return to his dream of working in the music business. In 1979, he resigned from the all-consuming world of advertising “to become a full-time out-of-work songwriter.”

“I thought that I would find a job in the music business pretty quickly because I was a pretty sharp young man. I didn't realize when people say ‘Don't quit your day job’ it's because it's going to take you a year or two to find a job. I didn't believe that. I thought I was so sharp that somebody would snatch me right up.” While he looked for a position, Bomar took freelance advertising work to make ends meet, and a few more of his songs were recorded. A year and a half later, in 1981, he landed a full time job as a song plugger at Combine Music, pitching the catalogs of Kris Kristofferson and Tony Joe White, among others. During the next six years, some of his own songs were picked up as album cuts and for films, including number one hits for Conway Twitty and Joe Glazer. But Bomar came to realize that his greatest talent lay in song plugging. Naturally gifted with a likable personality and friendly disposition, he loved the personal interaction and problem solving that were involved in this work.

Bomar had been promoted to general manager at Combine before he left in 1987 to form Little Big Town Music, with partner Kerry O'Neil. The timing was perfect. Combine Music soon came up for sale, and Bomar was able to lure away some of its best writers, including Bob DePiero and John Scott Sherrill. The following year he signed Steve Seskin. During the next 11 years, Little Big Town's writers garnered 17 number one singles and more than 30 Top Ten albums. As the business grew more successful, Bomar found that his attention was increasingly taken up by administrative duties, leaving little time for the creative aspects that he loved.

In 1998, Sony/ATV Music approached Bomar about buying out his company's song catalog, and again, the timing was perfect. Ready for a new challenge, he sold the catalog and went to work at Sony, managing the creative department's four song pluggers and the city's largest roster of songwriters. Bomar left Sony in 2006 and returned to independent music publishing with the formation for Green Hills Music Group in early 2007. He is a recipient of The Nashville Songwriters Association's President's Award. www.greenhillsmusicgroup.com

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Job Descriptions and Careers, Career and Job Opportunities, Career Search, and Career Choices and ProfilesCareers in the Music BusinessMUSIC PUBLISHING - Executive Office: Chief Executive Officer • President • Vice President/general Manager (major Music Publisher)