So, when’s the last time you pitched one of your songs? Really? That long? I’ll bet I know why. It’s not much fun is it? Dragging around your song children and showing them off to potential “buyers” bears a surprising resemblance to work. Actually, when you think about it, it IS work. OK, I’m with you on all of this. However, since you’re hoping to make money from your songwriting, it’s not unreasonable to expect that some work will be required. To help motivate you, I’ve put together a few reasons why the work of pitching your own songs will be well worth your while.
Even if you’re one of the fortunate few songwriters with a publishing deal and a song plugger, it’s important to think about priorities. If your publisher and song plugger have more than one writer (as almost all of them do) then their loyalty is, at best, divided. There’s only one person who has your songs as their number one priority. You. I’m not saying a publisher and song plugger won’t help but some of the most successful songwriters I know got their biggest cuts on their own even though they were signed to a publisher and had a song plugger pitching their stuff as well. Pitching their own songs is just something that successful songwriters do.
The moment you begin to pitch your own songs, you’ll start to become familiar with the music industry landscape in a way you haven’t been in the past. By learning which labels and music supervisors are looking for material, you’ll become aware of industry trends and the kinds of songs in your catalog that have the most current potential. This is all invaluable information that can only be attained by getting yourself and your songs out there.
One of the questions I can imagine you’d like to ask is “What if I don’t have any industry relationships? How do I pitch my songs then?” For those of you who are new to the industry or don’t have the opportunity to live in a major music city (NYC, Nashville or Los Angeles) there are always pitch sheets (www.SongQuarters.com, www.RowFax.com) and reputable pitching services like www.Taxi.com to get you started. And, the more you reach out through these services and get to know the industry decision makers, the deeper your network will become. Networks aren’t built overnight but they’re never built unless you’re actively building them.
If you’re an unsigned writer – as I am and as I suspect most of you reading this article are – one of the tangible benefits of pitching your own songs is that if/when you get a cut or a film or TV placement, you’ll own your own publishing. Last time I checked, being paid for both the writer’s share AND the publisher’s share is double what you would have received if you’d signed over your publishing and had them do your pitching for you. I’m not a mathematician but I’m guessing that double the amount of royalties is a good thing.
I say this fairly often but writing a song is a victory in and of itself. Making money with your songs, on the other hand, is an entirely different goal. Now – along with being a songwriter – you’ve added business owner to your resume. As the owner of your songs, it’s in your best interest to do the work and get them out there. When you do, good things can happen.