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”

Where to Listen to Current Music & Artists

Q: I want to learn more about what kind of music is current. Where do you find new music and artists to listen to? Also I want to pitch my songs to film & TV. Where can I hear artists that are being used in that market?

A: If you’re writing songs for today’s radio or film & TV markets, it’s essential to keep your ears “tuned up”! You’ve got to know which artists and songs listeners like, and you need to have a good idea of what the music industry is looking for. Here are five places where you can hear what’s hot right now.

Continue reading “Where to Listen to Current Music & Artists”

Can You Pitch a Home Recording?

Q: Do you think it’s okay to pitch a home recorded version of a song or should I have the song professionally recorded?

A: It depends on how good your home studio is and your skills as an engineer/producer. There are very few limitations on how good a home studio can be if you have good gear and you know how to use it. But it will be harder if you’re recording a cutting-edge Electro-Pop-Dance track then it will be if you’re working on an acoustic guitar and vocal singer-songwriter song.
Continue reading “Can You Pitch a Home Recording?”

Video #5: Images Bring Your Lyric to Life

To listen to the song examples in this video, be sure to turn on Youtube “Annotations.” Click on the square speech bubble at the bottom of the video screen. Or you can listen on Spotify, Rdio, or any stream-on-demand music website.