Music Publishers
Need Your Songs! 

How to Make a Good First Impression

Music publishers are always on the lookout for the next great song. They need your music! So don't be shy about giving it to them.

But it's extremely important to present yourself in a professional manner. Here are some of the dos and don'ts when dealing with industry professionals.

What Not to Do

DO NOT:

  • Tell them you're the next big thing. They don't want hype. If your song is good enough, it will speak for itself.
  • Send them handwritten lyrics (especially on cocktail napkins)!
  • Send unsolicited material unless they accept unsolicited material.
  • Send a CD with ten songs on it. Three songs is more than enough. If they want more they will ask for more.
  • Be rude to the receptionist on the phone. He or she is the gatekeeper. You must get through them first.
  • Be rude to them if they pass on your song. It's not personal (even though it may feel that way.) You may have another song that's just what they're looking for.
  • Call every day wanting to know if they've listened to your song yet. Music publishers receive hundreds of submissions a week. They are very busy.

What to Do

DO:

  • Be polite and courteous at all times.
  • Ask for permission to submit your song.
  • Tell them you're a hardworking songwriter who just might have the right song for their current needs.
  • Include a cover letter that briefly explains who you are, and why you are sending them this song.
  • Type and print your lyrics neatly. (Don't forget to use spell-check!)
  • Send one to three songs. Always put your best song first.
  • Send the best-sounding recording you can. You've worked hard on your song. Don't screw it up with a lousy-sounding demo! I know you've probably heard, "We don't pay attention to recording quality." Don't bet on it.
  • Include your contact information on everything you send them. Your CD may become separated from your lyric sheet or cover letter. Wouldn't it be awful if a publisher wanted to sign your song, but couldn't find a phone number on your CD?
  • Call them a few weeks after you send your song and politely ask if they've had a chance to listen yet. If they haven't they'll probably apologise!

This is by no means an exhaustive list. For further reading on the subject, The New Songwriter's Guide To Music Publishing by Randy Poe is an excellent book on the ins and outs of music publishing.

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Keep in mind to speak and act professionally at all times, as that is what's expected of you.

And please remember, music publishers are people just like you and me. They have good days and bad days. And very busy jobs.

A lot of songwriters I know seem almost afraid of the people who work in the music industry. They forget it's songwriters like themselves that keep the music executives in business.

They depend on us! They need our songs! So give them the best ones you possibly can. Need I say it?

Politely and professionally!


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