What to Do AFTER You Write Your Song

Your song is finished. You like what you’ve written. You think it has commercial potential. Now what will you do with it? You’ve got options. You can start by pitching it directly to music publishers or, in today’s Internet-driven music business, you might decide to create a buzz around your song on a site like YouTube.

Here are six tips for increasing your chances of finding a home for your song in the music business.

1. Know what GENRE you’re writing in. For the best chance of success, write your songs in a contemporary style that you hear on the radio or on film and TV. Music publishers and music supervisors look for songs that appeal to an established audience. If you fit in to a style with proven appeal, you’ll have a better chance of a successful pitch.

This doesn’t mean you should write a song in a style you don’t like or don’t feel comfortable with. Stay true to your emotions and themes, but you can make small decisions as you go along that will steer your song toward a more marketable sound if you keep a genre in mind as you go along.

For the best result, ask yourself what genre you want to write in BEFORE you write your song. Then you’ll be able to shape your song as you go along. Then, when a music publisher asks you what current style you’re writing in, or what artist do you sound like, you’ll have your answer ready.

Find out how to break down a genre and study it.

2. Aim your song toward a USE. Will you pitch to film & TV music libraries? Or pitch to other artists through a music publisher or personal contact? Or perform it in your own live shows? Each of these songs has to perform a different job. This will suggest, for example, how big and catchy your chorus needs to be. For an artist looking for a hit single, think big, irresistibly hummable chorus. For a film & TV song, you can keep it more low key and intimate.

A great song that works for one type of use may not work well for a different use. Just because a song isn’t a hit single, doesn’t mean it isn’t a great song. Maybe it would be perfect under a scene in a prime time TV series.  Study songs that are successful in the market you want to write for and learn from them.

More about writing songs for movies and TV shows.

3. Know which contemporary artists are similar to you. The first thing the music industry will ask is who do you sound like (if you’re an artist) or what style/artist do your songs sound like. This is standard shorthand for the industry so be ready with an honest, accurate answer. It’s not that they want you to copy or sound exactly like someone else, but they need a ballpark so they can quickly assess whether you fit into their current needs.  Continue reading “What to Do AFTER You Write Your Song”

How to Rewrite Your Melody

Q:  I usually get stuck on the first melody that I think of but all my melodies are starting to sound the same. How can I rewrite my melody?

A: Most of use know how to rework a song lyric to make it stronger but melodies are often left out of the rewriting process. Try these tips to work on  your lead melody line:

1. Break up a series of similar lines into different lengths. Turn a long line into two shorter phrases or run two short phrases together by adding notes/words.  Continue reading “How to Rewrite Your Melody”

7 Tips to a Great Vocal Performance

There is no rule that says every songwriter must be a good singer. But, as the writer of a song, you can bring emotional authenticity and insight that a hired vocalist might miss. You don’t have to be Celine Dion or Josh Groban. Many times it’s more about phrasing and presence than hitting the pitches perfectly. Still, you can give yourself some help when writing your song and recording your track with these tips.

1) Figure out the highest note that you sound good on. Then figure out the lowest note. Try to keep your melody between those two notes. Sing your song while your write it and notice when you’re getting too close to your top or bottom notes. You can easily change the melody at that point.

2) Emphasize your strongest vocal notes in your melody. If your high notes are weak, use them as passing notes only; don’t try to sustain them or use them for important words. Continue reading “7 Tips to a Great Vocal Performance”