As a fellow songwriter, I’m sure you’ve shared some of your songs with your family and friends. You’ve undoubtedly also heard them say that your song is better than any of the songs they hear on the radio. And you know what? They are probably right.
Just because you are an unpublished composer does not mean that you are not good, or even great, at your craft. But, even if your song is destined to be a hit, it may not be cut or even released.
Why? I’m glad you asked. This question weighed heavily on me for years. I was writing songs that I knew were good, my friends and family were telling me they were good, and professional songwriters and evaluators even validated that they were good. So why didn’t they cut me off?
I wasn’t getting a cut because I didn’t know anything about the music industry. I didn’t know who to talk to or how to present my package. I didn’t know that the music industry is a business, I just thought they were in the business of recording hit songs!
The reason I didn’t know anything about the industry is because it is a closed-door industry. The reason no one told me the things you will learn in my book is because no one wanted me to know! That’s how it is. Those who move and those who vibrate and their people don’t want you to know what it takes to write a hit song and record it, because if they tell you …
Then you become competition.
Did you get it? Let me explain. There are thousands and thousands of songs waiting to find a place on someone’s album. But, there is only room for a handful of them. Typically, those places will be assigned to:
1. The singer / songwriter who is the recording artist. Then they will receive the royalties of the composer and their own!
2. Proven songwriters who have had great successes. The label makes a huge investment in every song – they don’t want to mess with an unknown high-risk songwriter!
3. Your friends and relatives or anyone else you owe a favor to.
It’s sad, but it’s true. Your song could be better than any of those other songs, and it already has three strikes against it.
What can you do to change those things? How can you step foot in the door and be recognized for your talent?
Writing more and more, networking with everyone you might meet, and learning about the music industry.
Behind the smoke and mirrors of the music industry is a world full of corporate executives, managers, producers, and A&R staff who want hit songs. Your job depends on finding hit songs, but the odds are stacked against you. So what do they do?
They look for what is wrong in a song, not what is right.
Confused? Do not be. It really makes a lot of sense. Representatives A and R listen to hundreds of demos a week. Any of them could be a hit song. But making sure they find that hit song is vital to their work. So, they remove the songs that have something wrong with them. It doesn’t matter if it’s just a small area of the song, if they can find something wrong with it, it’s gone.
How do you increase your chances? Make sure your song is perfect before releasing it. Get feedback and feedback on your song and rewrite it until it’s correct. Learn to write what record companies are looking for.
Another blow against unknown songwriters is that they are high risk. Record labels spend hundreds of thousands, even up to a million, of dollars on a song. That is a great investment. They must ensure that you can recoup those costs in royalties. Therefore, they prefer to stick with proven and successful songwriters who have already had success, because they have a good track record and are at lower risk.
Does that mean you don’t have a chance? Of course not. You just need to know how to write a better song, you know, a song that they can’t ignore and reject. That’s where I come in.
I’ve been there, I’ve done that. I have paid my debts. In the music industry, this translates to five years, five years of uncut songs, five years of rejection and frustration, five years of doing things the wrong way, rather than the right way. So, I got my first publishing contract.
Why does it take five years? Well, there are reasons why you don’t know about the music industry. They are eliminating you. They make it so difficult to get a cut that songwriters eventually give up. The moment you give up is the moment you need to move on! Five years of perseverance and persistence will help you perfect your craft. It makes you a stronger person. Above all, eliminate the fans. Only serious composers survive.
The music industry makes you show that you are serious about songwriting by paying your fees. If they are going to make a big investment in your song, they want to make sure that investing in you will pay off for years to come. They want someone who can and will produce hits, not a one-time wonder. Therefore, only serious need applies.
All of that works, but only if you really have a hit song. While paying my fees, I learned a lot about songwriting, what works and what doesn’t. I learned that I can write cute love ballads, but if I want a cut, I will have to write what Music Row is looking for right now. Today is fast-paced music, tomorrow, who knows?
One of the things you will learn in my book, How to Become a Successful Songwriter, is that any song can be recorded. There is room for fillers, also known as album cuts, on each artist’s album. But there is a difference between writing an album montage and a hit song. A hit song has to address many areas:
1. Gender: yes, some genres make more money than others.
2. Audience: who will the artist sing this song to? If it matters.
3. Lyrics – Almighty handwriting is more important in some genres than others. I’ll tell you when it should be strong and when it should be minimized.
4. Theme: some songs must be written because they have a message, but they are more difficult to record than others.
5. Melody: melody is more than just chords for words.
6. Structure: There are different ways to write your song, and my book will tell you the most common structures used in hit songs.
Those are just a few of the things to consider if you want to be a successful songwriter. Each of them and more are covered in detail in my book, How to Become a Successful Songwriter. I wrote it to you and I encourage you to read it and pay attention. I paid my five-year maturity so you don’t have to pay yours.
Did you know that there really is a list of the most important qualities of a composer? There is, and that list was developed by the editors. He even goes so far as to list them in order of importance. With the Internet, it is not as important as it used to be that composers live in a city of music. It helps if you’re a singer-songwriter, but that’s not even the most important trait. How to Become a Successful Songwriter gives you the complete list and tells you the number one quality that publishers look for in a songwriter. If you want to write a hit, that’s the quality you should work on the most.
Once your song is perfected, do you know how to release it? If not, you better learn fast, because pitching your song the wrong way can be costly and will likely be rejected usually even before it’s heard.
Rejection is part of the game. Rejection is what also causes songwriters to turn to outfits that make big promises of instant stardom. Beware: there are no guarantees in this industry and if someone tries to tell you there are, run, run as fast as you can. Take your money with you, because any publisher who asks a songwriter for money is a song shark. How to become a successful songwriter tells you how to avoid being bitten by them.
Look for reputable publishers, there are many out there. Once you find them, use the lessons I’ve learned to professionally introduce yourself and your song. Editors know how to identify an amateur songwriter. How to become a successful songwriter will tell you how to market your song so they can’t say that you are one. If you can overcome this hurdle, you can get your foot in the door!
That’s only half the game. The music industry is a business. Songwriting is also a business, and the sooner you understand that and the business side of your craft, the sooner you will be accepted. There are many things to consider: time, desktop publishing or finding an editor, and packaging and presentation. You will need to know the terminology used in the industry and how to protect your copyright property. You should also know the legal aspects of contracts, as well as how a songwriter is paid for their songs. Tip: never, never use the words “sell a song” or ask someone to “buy your song.” That will raise red flags with all the big names in the industry. It’s like a billboard screaming, “I’m a fan!” Songwriters don’t sell songs, they write and own songs. These tips and more are included in my book.
As a songwriter, you are one in millions. The competition is fierce and the door is hard to open. You need to level the playing field if you want to get into the game. Many successful songwriters are actually no better than you. They just learned how to beat the competition and open the door. Like them, you can become the next songwriter to land a publishing or recording deal.
That is why I wrote How to Become a Successful Songwriter. I succumbed to songwriter sharks, faced rejection, and made mistakes. I wrote great songs that never got a chance, and I learned, listened, and kept until I finally did. Many times I thought it was unfair; many times I felt like giving up. But I’m glad I didn’t. I don’t want you to give up either. Learn how to become a successful songwriter today so you can hear your song on the radio tomorrow! Music is really the universal language; How to become a successful songwriter is your crash course in understanding it. The sooner you read it, the sooner you will know the secret to becoming a successful songwriter!
The best of success,
Author, How to Become a Successful Songwriter