ole Piques Interest With Liz Rose’s Notebook

With budgets and playlists getting smaller by the day,
 the Nashville music publishing scene has grown increasingly competitive, forcing songwriters and publishers to become more innovative and resourceful in their efforts to get songs recorded. Ole, one of Nashville’s most successful independent publishers, is leading the charge for creative catalog promotion by handing out copies of songwriter Liz Rose’s notebook.

Back in 2008, when the publisher bought 50 percent of Jody Williams Music, along with it came Rose’s catalog. Known for pairing with Taylor Swift for some of the star’s biggest hits (“You Belong With Me,” “White Horse,” “Teardrops On My Guitar,” “Picture To Burn”), Rose’s name is well-known on Music Row.

With these big singles to her credit, ole knew there was more gold to mine from Rose’s catalog. The ole team decided to send out a promotional package featuring some of her best songs to producers, artists and A&R people. Gilles Godard, ole’s chief creative officer, says the challenge even for a songwriter with Rose’s track record, is to make people open the package and listen to the songs.

“We got together the most creative minds in our company and
we batted around some ideas,” he tells MusicRow. “We proposed and


 critiqued and defended and argued, and we came up with something we call Liz’s notebook. What’s more precious to a songwriter than their songbook? And our writers’ demos are often gems in themselves, so we decided to combine both with this unique promotion.”

The appeal in Liz’s notebook is that it seems so genuine; with post-it notes, scribbled lyrics on the back of an envelope, family photos, a card from a flower arrangement, a to-do list, even concert ticket stubs and a take-out menu. It is a realistic peep into Rose’s personal life, neatly spiral-bound in a 7” x 9” book. The painstaking accuracy of the reproduction is evident on every page.

Upon closer inspection, the promotional aspects of the product come into focus. There are news articles about the songwriter, and an invitation to the Grammy Awards, where Rose and Swift won a trophy for Country Song of the Year. And in the back pocket is a strategically placed photo of Swift and Rose receiving a BMI award. Also included is a birthday email from Josh Turner, and it turns out the card was delivered with a thank-you bouquet from songwriter/artist Rachel Proctor. Though Rose’s work with Swift is her most recognized, a handwritten list also points out her cuts by artists Tim McGraw, Trisha Yearwood, Gary Allan, and Jo Dee Messina. Most importantly, the book contains a CD with a selection of Rose’s best uncut songs.

Godard reports that the response to the notebook has been fantastic. “Putting this song book together was a labor of love,” he says. “We believe that if producers, artists and label people will open Liz’s notebook, Liz’s songs will open their eyes… and their ears.”

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Sarah Skates has worked in the music business for more than a decade and is a longtime contributor to MusicRow.

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