I’m not positive how many songwriters are actively pitching material at any given time- I’ve seen estimates of well over one million- but the music business port of entry for most will be with a music publisher. Here are 5 things every songwriter needs to know to get a song signed:
1. Music publishers don’t purchase songs. They sometimes offer a cash advance on songs against future royalties but they don’t outright buy songs reel mp3 song. If you approach them as if your unpublished songs are surefire hits and offer them for sale you’ll only mark yourself as a total amateur and hurt your chances of getting your song added to their song catalog.
2. Music publishers don’t do a lot of publishing, that’s making songs available to the public and it’s usually record companies that do that. The term “publisher”is a carryover from the days when the main release of a song was through printed sheet music.
Those days are long gone, today’s music publishers are more involved with copyright administration and/or promoting songs signed to their catalog. Think of them as song agents. To help get your song signed, approach them as if they are talent scouts, not manufacturers of product.
3. Music publishers are typically swamped with submissions and they’ve heard it all, you can not hype your way into a contract. Let the high quality of both your song and your demo recording speak for you.
4. Music publishers are people. They all think they know what constitutes a potential hit but most are wrong more than they’re right. And few properly acknowledge the role that both personal taste and personal experience plays in their decisions. The lesson? Don’t take rejection personally. Figure that the reason your song, “I Love My Girlfriend Nearly As Much As My Harley” was rejected has nothing to do with it being crass, unfunny and insensitive. Perhaps it’s because the female publisher’s biker ex-boyfriend spent a little too much time with his Road King.
5. Music Publishers have certain criteria: Songs no more than four minutes long, a clever title, possibly a specific artist or movie scene they need a song for- whatever their particular parameters are and it can change from one pitch to the next- but largely getting a song locked into a publisher’s catalog is a numbers game. A high quality song with a stellar demo production pitched to a sufficient number of publishers equals success!