Write great songs. Of course, the most basic note stand as the first and most important factor. When you are going to make a sell, you firstly need to have a product in hand to sell it. Nothing else matters until you have some commercial, cuttable songs. The more you have, the better your chances of success.
Expand your network of co-writers. The more people you know and specially to write with, the better chances you will have that one of your co-writers will get a cut or get a writing deal which also helps you. This is how I got my first writing deal. The network of co-writers is great to be big and tight but at the same time be careful of rotten people who exist in many circles.
Be active on social media. Be present. This is one thing is seeing most writers have problem with that they think simply because they’re not on the front line, they don’t need to maintain their social media. That couldn’t be any more wrong. Letting people know what’s going on with your writing is important. Last year, I had one of my best years ever as a writer. I ran into my one of the reps I know, and he said “Man, what’s going on? I thought you disappeared.” Not good. I started posting on Instagram and Facebook about everything I had going on. The next time I saw him, he said “Man you are on fire!” Reality had not changed, but perception had.
Be seen. When I mentioned about your presence on social media, that’s mostly for people in public and for people inside the industry but not very close to you, to see that you’re active and your doing good. But there is another kind of presence which is not really any less important than the social media. To the extent that you can, be seen and involved in a music community. That can be an online community, or it can be in a music center. Either increases your visibility and reminds people that you are active and involved.
Try to develop a relationship with a writer rep at BMI, COMPASS, SESAC or ASCAP or your music society. They are one of the primary ports of entry for new songwriters. Getting one of their reps behind you can be huge for your career. The importance of the reps in the music industry is undeniable and building the relationship with any reps can be one of the biggest favors you’ve ever done to yourself.
Start getting to know and investing in young artists that you believe in. One thing is that you are responsible to help the next generation of writers to grow. It’s duty of each and every one of us towards the industry we are in. The other thing is when you are writing with young writers, you would be surprised that how much you would be learning during this process. Sometimes maybe more that what they would learn. Write with them. Help them learn to write. Help them find their voice. I do this. Some of these artists will succeed and you will succeed along with them if you have been with them from the start.
Gradually start to meet publishers, pluggers, etc. This is really the final step. There’s no need to go here until you have 5-10 cuttable songs. Unfortunately, I see many people taking this step as their first or second one. They just want to go to a publisher directly and secure a place for their songs before they start writing any songs and creating any catalogue. Patience is hard, but it will pay off in the end.
Hangi Tavakoli is our in-house established and professional music producer with more than 18 years of experience in songwriting, music production, mix and mastering. He has produced more than 3,000 and written more than 4,800 published songs to-date, including some major hits in international scale.