WAYS TO GET YOUR SONGS HEARD
that you've got that great song written and demoed, it deserves
recorded so you can start earning the compensation you so
the broad scheme of things, there are two ways to get your
songs recorded. You either become your own publisher or sign
a contract with a publisher in which the publisher finds users
for your song, negotiates fees for their use, then collects
the money and splits it with you on a 50/50 basis.
following are some ways that can take place with or without
Without a publisher, the negotiation and collection still
has to take place
but you hire a copyright administrator or an attorney with
that expertise to
do it for you. You just take on the task of "selling"
the song and experiencing the rejection yourself.
are some strategies:
a Music Publisher to represent your songs
you have no inclination to be on the phones making cold calls
researching recording, TV and film projects and negotiating
deals and you
have no existing contacts in the industry you'll want to go
you have internet access, search the data-bases of ascap.com,
sesac.com, in the U.S.A. or the performing rights organization
for song titles and writers in your style and find out who
publishes them. Call for permission to submit your songs.
There are also other resources for the names of publishers.
to your library, find Billboard Magazine, look up songs on
the Hot 100, R&B or Country charts in the style of your
songs and see the accompanying list of publishers. You may
also be able to also get referrals from your performing rights
representative if your songs are exceptionally good.
songs directly to recording artists
there are artists you truly believe should record your song
really sound great singing it") and it fits their image,
attitudes, style, vocal range, go after them in any way you
they're playing in your town, try to get back stage or run
into them in the hotel lobby. Tell them you have a song you
feel is right for them and ask if it's all right to give it
to them. Often, to protect them from future lawsuits, their
attorneys will have advised them not to accept tapes. In that
case, ask if you may present it to their manager or record
company A&R (Artist and Repertoire) representative. (See
an entertainment attorney submit your music
attorneys have industry contacts and if they feel your songs
merit referral, they'll shop them for their usual fee (roughly
hour) or may do it on spec. Not all attorneys will shop tapes,
your songs or music into film, TV, production music libraries
or multimedia productions
are increasing opportunities in these industries for not only
songwriters but for composers of instrumental music who have
your research in the phone book and ask the companies if they
use original music in their productions. Some will use music
from production music libraries or services that supply prerecorded
music to film and video productions. Ask them for the names
and phone numbers of those whose services they use and follow
up to submit your music.
they like what they hear they'll usually do a contract exclusively
for visual use which means you'll still be free to use it
on your own audio
recordings. You'll be paid as the music is used and you'll
royalties through your performing rights organization, after
appears on television. How much you'll receive depends on
a variety of
factors including the terms of your contract.
Offer a percent of the income from publishing royalties to
associated with the artist
time-honored sales incentive can work if those contacts aren't
prevented by their employers from participating in that type
of transaction. Contacts may include, limo drivers, hairdressers,
road managers, touring musicians and crew, recording engineers,
much? 5-10% of the publishing half of the song's "mechanical"
income (from sales of CDs and tapes). Only offer the percentage
of income from that
specific recording. Do not offer the percentage of ownership
copyright, which will last the life of the copyright and include
other recordings of the song.
an artist/band and write for or with them
you have developed some production skills and have access
to a good
studio, find an exceptional local group with a great singer
or singers and
write for them, creating a style with the songs you write
for or with them.
The Glen Ballard /Alanis Morrisette collaboration is a good
example of this
strategy. Shop the masters to record companies.
your own artist, produce your own CD and sell it at your gigs
is a good route if you have a working band with a following,
of fan addresses and somebody in the band with a good business
head. (Read "How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording"
by Diane Rapaport)
a local group to write with
you're a good lyricist, whether or not you can write melodies,
group with a great lead singer and write with him or her.
That way, the
singer can infuse the song with an individual style and also
be motivated by
participation in the writing royalties.
songs via a respected service organization
best one I know is TAXI (www.taxi.com), an innovative
tip-sheet/independent A&R service. Members, world-wide,
every two weeks by major and independent labels, film music
publishers looking for writers, writer/artists, bands. All
pre-screened and critiqued by industry pros. All styles including
service worth looking into is SongCatalog.com where, for a
you can post your songs online and, by way of entering specific
criteria, potential users can find your song and contact you
seminars and meetings of songwriting and music industry
events and organizations invite record company representatives,
publishers, record producers and managers to speak and screen
songs at their meetings. You can meet them and hopefully begin
to form ongoing relationships with them and continue to submit
BRAHENYis a popular music-industry and songwriting
consultant. He is author of the best-selling Writer's Digest
book "The Craft and Business of Songwriting." He
is also serves as a songwriting judge in the annual Great
American Song Contest.
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