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Sending Songs To Publishers, Advice Needed

#1 User is offline   Rebecca0630 Icon

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 07:46 PM

I've been writing songs for quit a while now and I've decided I want to do something with them. I registered them with BMI, but now I want to start sending them to publishers. I'm not sure how to do that though. Do I need to include a letter of introduction and if so what do I say? Do I need to include a bio.? What all do I include when sending them?

#2 User is offline   Salley Gardens Icon

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Posted 25 July 2010 - 08:28 PM

The short answer to your question is to check out a copy of the current "Songwriters Market" at you local library. This lists individual publishers and spells out how to present your songs. Beware however, that some of the "publishers" out there are not what they seem, and are really scam artists... you should never have to pay a publisher.

There is a long answer to your question, but that requires a more expansive discussion! The "Songwriters Market" usually contains articles and other information on the industry. It would be good to read the articles found elsewhere on the Muse site (other than the Forums). Unfortunately, the old models of getting one's songs published has changed, and it's usually no longer as simple as submitting you work. There is no set new model; it's a bit of a moving target.

#3 User is offline   Lorna Icon

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 01:23 AM

Hi There,

There are many ways to pitch your songs, you need permission to send to a Publisher.

You can send or meet up with local bands, or direct to an artist maybe through a musician the Artist employs.

Presentation is very important, and if you meet up with a Publisher, you would need to be able to talk shop, They have no time for chancers, i.e. One hit wonders, and People who behave like amateurs.

Networking is very hard for most writers because in general they are not sales persons,

So many scams out there, to beware of, Demo Studios run by people with dated ideas on arranging your demo, people living in the past. willing to promise everything and delivering nothing.

I would advise finding Pro Minded Critiquing services, like the one run by Jasdon Blume,

you will get an honest opinion of your work, something you wont get from friends and family.

It's very hard to break through, and you will get many dissapointments on route.

#4 User is offline   Neal K Icon

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 05:40 PM

No point in sending a bio if your goal is to have other artists record your songs.

I'm afraid you might be asking the wrong questions. The questions you should be asking yourself are:

1) Have I received positive feedback from my songs from people other than my parents and friends?
2) What is the quality of my demo CD?
3) Am I willing to move to a major music centre and make songwriting a full-time occupation?

Publishers receive hundreds of unsolicited CDs every day from hopeful songwriters. Most of these end up in the trash. For legal reasons, the big publishers won't accept unsolicited demos at all. The last thing they need is a whole bunch of nuisance law suites from amateur songwriters claiming that their song was stolen.

Lorna has given you some good advice: beware of scammers! The closed-door policy of the major publishers has created a whole industry of scammers who prey on the ignorance and vanity of amateur songwriters. Don't ever pay anybody anything until you've gotten some advice from experienced people on sites like this.

It's a long, hard road to get a legitimate publisher to listen to a demo. Writers far, far superior to me have spent years at it, full time, and never got past the receptionist. The bright side is that somebody is getting past the receptionist, because new songs are being produced all the time.

One avenue you may want to explore is to find a local band or artist who might perform your original material... or perform it yourself.

Neal
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#5 User is offline   FunkDaddy Icon

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Posted 26 July 2010 - 08:12 PM

View PostNeal K, on 26 July 2010 - 06:40 PM, said:

Writers far, far superior to me have spent years at it, full time, and never got passed the receptionist. The bright side is that somebody is getting past the receptionist, because new songs are being produced all the time.


This is great advice to both keep you grounded and realize the dream is possible. There are so many talented writers out there who will never get a cut on an album, let alone a hit single. Writing will never be a full-time job for them. But there ARE those writers who make it, so keep fighting the good fight, believe in your ability and play your cards smartly.

If it's too good to be true, it probably is...the best saying to keep in mind for songwriters trying to contact publishers. It's NOT easy to even get a callback, let alone your demo screened or God forbid a face-to-face. Having great quality songs is only the beginning.

Which brings me to the question I just asked in another similar thread...are your songs good enough?
Mark
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#6 User is offline   dtrain1234 Icon

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Posted 04 April 2011 - 06:47 PM

I would highly recommend that you get a copy of the book "Songwriter's Market." You can get it online or at your local library. It has step by step directions and information for pitching your songs to publishers. As a rule of thumb I always ask them permission to submit my original material that's been copyrighted by the Library of Congress. If they do allow (most of them don't accept unsolicited material), send your best 3 songs. I usually start with an uptempo, a ballad and another song. ALWAYS leave your info such as your address, phone number and email on the lyric sheets. Don't forget to put your name, song titles and phone number on the CD when you submit your songs (who knows if the publisher looses the lyric sheet but has just your CD). I personally send them a cover letter explaining that I would like to get published, who my musical influences are and a possible critique from them if they have the time. If they like what they hear they WILL call you back. If you are offered a contract ALWAYS have a music attorney look it over before you sign it. Best of luck to you.
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#7 User is offline   zmulls Icon

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Posted 05 April 2011 - 09:27 AM

Quote

One avenue you may want to explore is to find a local band or artist who might perform your original material... or perform it yourself.


The "one avenue" is the only real way to get music out into the world these days. A publisher will not even look at you unless you have some legitimacy, unless you’ve “done something.”

If you perform, just do your songs. Go out and sing them, build a small audience, show that you are a participant, not an observer. Meet people, work with other musicians. Visit major music centers at the very least and get involved.

If you don’t perform, there are fewer and fewer actual opportunities. Very few artists sing songs written by other people, and those that do are going to work with people they have known for years, or who are known by people they have known for years. Or by people who have been involved in doing music for a while. They are not, repeat, not, going to pick up some random CD sent in the mail, or some compilation CD, and give it a good listen. They are inundated with music every second of every day.

Work locally. Meet people. Build relationships. And then *if* your songs are good, and you have a good relationship with an artist or band, you might write a song with them or for them. Get that kind of energy and action going and maybe a publisher will take a look at your stuff.

The fact of the market today is that there are more and more and more people writing, and fewer and fewer and fewer opportunities. And what opportunities there are, are making less and less and less money.
ZMULLS.COM Muses Muse 2006 Lyric of the Year winner -- Four Widows

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#8 User is offline   R-N-R Jim Icon

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Posted 09 April 2011 - 06:39 PM

Hi there

First off, figure out who you would like to sing your songs. Are they or their management approachable? More than likely not, but research an artists background to see if they write their own material or have it written for them. Find out by the cd package who is publishing the songs they are singing. Then find out if that publisher has an open door policy for submissions. Their cd most likely will include information like who manages them or who produced their last cd. It doesn't hurt to look or ask. Worst they can say is "No".

But as the previous posts here will suggest that they don't accept unsolicited material. But sometimes you get lucky to submit something as I did last summer. I went to Beatlefest in Chicago and actually got my cd in the hands of Mark Hudson of the famed 70s tv/music group The Hudson Brothers. No, I haven't heard back from him(chuckle chuckle) but we did talk while he was autographing a shirt for me and at least he took the cd from me. That's all I could really ask for, just an opportunity.

As others have suggested, sometimes its good to get in at the ground floor of an up and coming artist. Alot of indie labels are looking for that one hit to get their aspiring artists off the ground and are more likely to listen to your demo as long as its recorded well enough to hear the potential in the songs. You will hear the pros and cons of a industry style demo and the home demo. There are people here that have shown the ability to record a home demo that sounds just as good if not better than what you get in Nashville and in more cases more creative.

So, you have to outline what your goal is and how to achieve it. First off, make sure the songs are recorded well and are being sent to publishers who are looking and looking for that genre of music. Copyright your songs, or at least copyright a bunch of them under a compilation umbrella if you don't have the money to copyright each song(its what I do). You can do this online and costs 35 dollars if you file online and upload a song to be copyrighted.

You don't have to have a long winded cover letter since you are not promoting yourself as an artist. You can suggest to a publisher who you might think this song could be recorded by, just to put a seed in their mind of who they could solicit the song to. Again, most of these small time publishers more than likely know someone in the industry they can maybe open a door to get the song heard if its good enough. And lastly, if you do get a contract offered, you could submit it to the songwriters guild for review, though they may ask you to become a member which isnt a bad small investment if it gets to that point.

Anyways...good luck and I hope your songs are really good :)

just my two cents worth
R-N-R Jim
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#9 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 10:08 AM

Rebecca,

It seems you have gotten good solid advice here. The primary way of getting into publishers are co-writing your way into them. In this day and age everything operates off the referal. Publishers doors are pretty much closed due to the reasons listed here but most publishers have writers they work with both in a representative capacity or in a friendship capacity. Doing that will help you build relationships, and further your skills.

You have heard "It's who you know." Well in the music industry it is "who knows you and how they know you." Your job is to build demand for your product before publishers are interested in it.

I don't know where you are located, but making a trip to a music center to get bearings is a good first step. In Nashville, NSAI is a good place to start.
Aside from that, you might check out local artists in your area, writer's nights, open mics. Get to know people first, the rest will follow if you have the right stuff.

MAB

#10 User is offline   blindcommissioner Icon

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Posted 28 October 2011 - 08:43 PM

does anyone else here use musicxray.com. here you submit to opportunities to music professionals. You have to pay - the fees vary depending on the opportunity but most are only a few bucks. i've submitted a few had some decent feedback but no deal yet, although Sylvia Harris has promised to let me know when some online radio stations go live and offered to play one of my songs.

who knows it may be worth a try

andy
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#11 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 29 October 2011 - 05:49 PM

Andy,

Although you never know what is going to happen in this day and age, and Internet radio does play a lot of material, I wouldn't get my hopes up for radio airplay unless you are a current artist, touring the area of the station, have a label behind you (advertising budget) or are a personal favorite of the staff of the station. There are just too many songs out there to ever find a space on radio. A lot of people are charging promotional money to get songs "out there" but usually their perfect pitch is from them to the garbage can. This is not so much an inditement on some of these promoters, but radio only has so many hours in the day. Even if it is a streaming station, there is usually no lull in content. They have plenty.

I would concentrate on finding consistant touring acts and attempt to write or pitch material to them as they might have a following you can tap into. But whatever you do,make sure that your material is up to speed in the quality they expect. One chance to make a bad first impression.

MAB

#12 User is offline   blindcommissioner Icon

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Posted 31 October 2011 - 04:02 PM

Thanks for the advice mab, my main focus at the minute is a project with a French pro artist who has a lot of contacts. I work with him as a lyricist. He's going to be pitching the songs for film, tv placements in France. The self produced stuff I do I enter the odd comp and submit to some opportunities through musicxray. Have you heard of this site ?
"Though we rush ahead to save our time, we are only what we feel" - Neil Young

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Honorary Mention American Songwriter march/april 2011 - Oceans & Tides
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#13 User is offline   MABBO Icon

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Posted 21 December 2011 - 10:10 AM

blindcommissioner (Man, I wish people would sign their names at the bottom of these, makes it more personal)

I have heard of that site and others. They all seem to have about the same results. Some people like them, some don't depending on their expectations and results. Whatever your approach, the more personalized you can be, the better. If you personally know this French artist and HE knows the market, there's your in.

The problem with all pitch services, mail in's, etc. when it comes to publishers, is that they can't replace the flesh and blood knowing of someone personally, being friends and knowing their habits, traits, etc. With songs and writers coming out of the woodwork in every direction, if you put your name out there as a publisher, you are going to be besiged by hundreds of things coming at you all the time. And if you are legitimate (most publishers are PINO's 'publishers in NAME only)you are going to have friends, your own writers or co-writers, who are your priority. You are not going to take much from someone you don't know or only have a passing knowledge of through a web site.

you are a polititician as much as anything in this business. "Vote for me...vote for my songs."

MAB

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