With the painstaking work of writing and polishing your song completed, how do you get it to the music industry professionals who can help make it a Billboard hit? Where do you find their contact information? How do you approach them? This article will answer those questions.
First, your song needs to be presented in a form known as a “demo” recording. A demo does not necessarily need to be engineered to the level of a master recording intended for public release but it must be close- it should be completely professional in terms of performance and sound quality. A slightly off key vocalist, low signal levels, music that isn’t tight as a drum and other amateurish mistakes will likely earn your song a trip to the nearest trash can. You’re making a huge time investment in both writing and marketing your song, be sure your product is quality. Unsure if you’re on the mark? My company will send you free mp3 samples of our recent work, request a few and compare (contact information is in the blurb at the end of this article).
The most popular submission formats are CD and mp3 so have each song you intend to market available in those formats. You’ll be presenting them to song publishers, music producers, artists, managers, and others who receive a steady stream of demos, probably every day. Your song must stand on it’s own, hyping it in person or in your cover letter (“This is going to be a huge hit!”) will only mark you as an amateur. If you submit by mail, include a cover letter with just a sentence or two explaining why you are sending the song to them (as a possible addition to their song catalog or for a specific upcoming project). Type everything including the address and return address. Enclose your CD. a 6″ x 9″ envelope will be sufficient.
Presenting in person? Be on time, offer no hype, and don’t talk as the song plays. Certainly, don’t try to do their job for them (“This is blues but add some fiddle and steel guitar and it could be great for Kenny Chesney…”) let them listen, and above all, make no excuses. At that point, it is what it is.
Not all industry people are eager to listen to new songs. But you can find an abundance of those that are through various song marketing tipsheets, books, and your own legwork. I recommend the book Songwriter’s Market which is available at Amazon.com and Row Fax, available at rowfax.com. They are probably the only two sources you’ll need. Your initial contact should be a phone call or a letter with a self addressed and stamped envelope (a.k.a. SASE) enclosed.
Another method of getting songs to an artist is through their band members or the artist during meet & greets after a concert. I’ve heard of a few successes doing this but in my opinion, it’s a long shot. Having been a musician in that situation the last thing I wanted to do at the end of long day of travel, soundcheck and show was to review a CD or keep track of one, so it may get lost before they get around to it. And musicians are very uncomfortable taking a song to the other band members or to the artist they play for as a bad pitch could damage their credibility, it has to be stellar work to even be considered. But it happens and if you’re positive you have a song for a specific band or artist, it’s the most direct route.
I hope this article has given you some insight into the arcane world of song marketing and will inspire you to go out there and pitch your songs until you get that contract or hit you deserve!