The Powerful Yet Easy Reason Why Your Song Pitching Isn’t Working
You’re an independent songwriter. You have a list of A&R and manager contacts. You have your catalog of songs ready to be shopped to artists. You follow all the appropriate guidelines. You submit your songs in a professional manner. When you send your email pitching your songs you make sure all your i’s are dotted and t’s are crossed. You even get a response via email saying “thank you for submitting” or “I’ll take a listen.” However, it never goes any further from there. You never hear back from anyone while pitching songs. You never get pass the first step. You’re probably wondering to yourself, “my songs are good, why aren’t any of them getting picked up?” Here’s the simple yet powerful very reason why you’re song pitching good songs, but they aren’t getting picked up.
What is song pitching
Exactly what is song pitching? If you’re starting out as an indie songwriter or don’t know much about the music industry you may not be sure. Song pitching is when a songwriter shops his or her songs in hopes that it gets picked up for a recording artist to record and release. Of course the songwriter intends to get paid from their song getting recorded and released. The songwriter can do the song pitching himself or herself, or the songwriter can go through a music publisher. Normally the songwriter or music publisher shops the song to an A&R executive, manager or producer. Sometimes the song can even be pitched to a personal assistant. However, when song pitching you have to make sure you’re following the proper technique. This means:
- Having your songs listed in the email as web link or downloadable link
- Have your business contact listed in the email
- Before sending your songs send an initial email asking can you send your music
- Make sure to use professional language in your business email
- Don’t brag or go on about how great your songs are, let your music speak for yourself
- Make sure the songs you send fit with the artist you’re shopping them to
- Always follow up with the industry executive 2-3 weeks after submitting your songs
These song pitching tips are great and accurate. If you follow these tips of how to pitch music you’re definitely going in the right direction. Don’t think you’re anything wrong. However, there’s 1 important aspect you’re missing. The reality is when you follow the song pitching steps above and get no response it’s not your fault. The music industry is different now. A&R looking for songwriter operate different now. Social media and the fast movement of the internet age has made the music business move different now. This is why technically you’re doing all the right steps, but you’re still not getting a response. Below is the 1 thing you’re missing.
Build a brand
That’s right, the one thing you’re missing when song pitching is building a network. No matter how good your songs are. No matter how professional emails may be. No matter how detailed you follow all the correct steps, you have to build an audience and brand. You have to build an audience and brand this way when you shop your songs you have enough buzz to get your songs past the first step. You can’t be a complete stranger. The A&R, producer or manager you’re shopping your songs to have to know you or know of you. The days of record labels seeking songwriters is over. With the new age music industry it’s all about building a brand and coming in as a complete package. This goes for being the actual artist but it also goes for being a songwriter. If you’re an independent songwriter, a manager accepting a song from you is risky. The reality is they don’t know you or know anything about you. They have no proof you can write a hit. It’s not like you’ve written a hit for artists in the past. Due to this fact the manager and industry executive feel like how do they know taking you on as a songwriter will benefit them? How do they know they’ll gain anything from working with you? The music industry is a business. This means both parties have to benefit from the deal. You may want to benefit as an indie songwriter. However, the executive and artist wants to benefit to. This is why you need a reputation, a brand as collateral to prove you’re worthy of working with. This is what will separate your songs from the others and get your song actually picked up. If you’re wondering what the question is to the million dollar question, how to sell a song to an artist? This is it. You have to build a brand and have enough of a name where whoever you’re pitching your song to feels confident enough to give you a chance. Here’s where the hard work comes in. Knowing what the solution is is 1 thing. Putting the solution into action is another. If you’re wondering, how do you build a brand enough stand out as songwriter? Here are some important tips below.
- Social media – be serious and professional about your social media. Use it as platform and use it wisely. It’s basically your online resume. If you have to create a music, songwriter page and personal page. This way you can truly focus on promoting your music and only your music. Be sure to post snippets, follow other artists, hashtag proper and share music related posts.
- Work with indie artists – your ultimate goal may be to write a future #1 hit for mainstream artist such as Kelly Rowland, Fantasia, Bruno Mars or Mariah Carey. However, you have to start small sometimes. Don’t be afraid to reach out to indie singers and offer to write for them. Of course still follow all the proper business procedures.
- Network – reach out to up and coming producers. See if they’re looking for someone to write to any of their beats. See if another songwriter is looking to collaborate with you and you two write a song together. When doing this make sure to always fill out a split sheet. You never know. That songwriter you just collaborated with may actually know an established recording artist or a producer who works with one. *Click here for a visual example of a song split sheet.
- Network – networking is the key to building any independent empire. As an indie songwriter you have to do the same. Make sure to network. Attend free and charged music related events. This can be something as small as an open mic event, or ASCAP’s “I create music” expo. Go to music festivals, entrepreneur seminars, jam sessions, etc.
- Track your target – as an indie songwriter looking for a big break you should have a target artist. This means you should have 1-3 primary artists you’re pitching your songs to. This doesn’t mean these are the only artists you want to work with. However, they should be your top 3. Once you have your main artists targeted you now should be following everything they do. The days of obtaining pitch sheets for songwriters are over. Networking is now your new pitch sheet. Google and look up recent producers your target artist have worked with. See if you can find that producer’s contact. See if you can find the artists’ direct A&R contact. Now it’ll be easier to contact that artist team. You can also see if your target artist main producer is going to be at any up and coming music events. If he or she happens to be, here’s your perfect opportunity to attend the same event. Now you can network and meet someone that works with your target artist. You can even hand them your demo personally. Just be sure to come off professional and impressive.
These 5 branding for song pitching tips will help you tremendously as an independent songwriter. If you follow these tips you’re guaranteed to build your brand and audience. Once you build your brand you’ll be surprised how many industry insiders know you. You don’t have to be a top-notch executive for this to work. Simply becoming known to 1 or 2 executives can lead you to the one artist you always wanted to write a hit for. The key is to get started asap and build a strategic plan.