One of those websites is in fact our Flipside that you can send your songs and either myself or one of our other experts will listen to your music, give you feedback and possibly help you to grow your music career. We also include mentoring sessions with one of our professional writers. None of the professionals in this industry are going to close the door on you if you submit something that isn’t great as long as it’s for educational purposes. You’re there to learn and they are there to help you. The quality of your demo doesn’t matter much at all here as long as it’s easy to understand the lyrics and hear the melody. Simple work tapes are fine.
Pitches to publishers or PROS (ASCAP, BMI, COMPASS, SESAC, etc). These include more risk. If I waste a publisher’s or PRO rep’s time, I risk getting on their “do not work with” list. Most of them don’t have time to give you a second chance. These opportunities are not placing to experiment or test the waters. You need to be confident that you are giving a publisher or PRO rep quality songs that they think they could get recorded in the current market unless you are meeting with them in a mentoring type setting. Otherwise, you are wasting their time. Pitching to publishers is much different than pitching to artists. Publishers are looking at the quality of your song, not so much the quality of the recording. The only way a publisher makes money is if they get a song recorded. So, if they can’t get your song(s) recorded, means no money and as businessmen they aren’t going to be interested. If you get an opportunity to meet with and pitch to a publisher, you need to research what that publisher does, who their writers are, etc. That information will help you pitch that publisher something he or she might like. PRO reps can call publishers and get you meetings if they like what you do. Basically, PRO reps are considered as some of the most powerful people in the industry because basically everyone in the business, small and big, constantly need to maintain the relationship, so when they ask for something they almost never hear a no as an answer. Even though they personally are not trying to get songs recorded, their job is to help writers with their organization succeed. They can be great advocates for you if they love your music and if they see potential in you. Again, your demo quality needs to convey the song well and be easy to understand, but it doesn’t have to be a full studio demo or track.
Pitching for artists. This is the highest risk pitch. I have Sam Smith's e-mail. I’ve only sent him 3 songs in over a year. He has passed on all of them. I feel like I’m at a tipping point. If I keep sending him songs he doesn’t love, he’s going to quit opening my e-mails. He doesn’t have time to keep fooling with someone that isn’t giving him what he needs. So, I’m going to be super careful with my next pitch. Even if he doesn’t cut it, I want him to think it’s an amazing song so that I can keep pitching to him. Whether you are pitching to the artist, a manager, a producer, or a record label, you want to be really confident in the song you are pitching and the quality of the demo. The closer the song can sound to something that would be on the radio, the better your chances will be. If you have a simple ballad, you might be able to get by with a guitar or piano vocal demo. Otherwise, you probably need a really good quality demo. You don’t get many of these direct-to-artist chances, so you need to really blow them away. If you can’t afford full demos, that’s fine. Stick to the first two kinds of pitches as you work on improving your writing. Publishers can help pay for demos if they think your song is going somewhere. Don’t worry that you aren’t able to get to artists. Just make the most of your situation. And, I always recommend waiting until you get a “WOW” response from one of the safe opportunities before you climb on up the ladder. If you get a “WOW” response from a industry’s professional, book a mentoring session with a professional publisher. If you get a “WOW” response there, you know you’ve got something. If not, you avoid burning a bridge by pitching in one of the riskier situations.
Many writers pitch songs way too soon and leave burning bridges smoking behind them. Don’t do that. Be patient. Keep writing and improving. That’s the ticket to success.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with 20 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has written and produced more than 5,000 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.