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How to sell your song to a major label/artist?

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  • How to sell your song to a major label/artist?

    I'm just curious if the following happens: a songwriter with an amazing single sells the rights to the song to a major label and/or artist. Perhaps I'm just naive, but I truly have no idea how one would go about doing this, if indeed professional songwriters do this. Does one have to become a "professional songwriter" and establish meaningful relationships with studio heads in order to even get a listen? Or are there means (let's say besides YouTube) by which an average joe songwriter with an amazing hit can submit a song to a label, and sell the rights for, I don't know, $150,000 (I'd be fine with that amount...)?

    Just trying to keep the dream alive and find something to strive for...

  • #2
    You probably at least need to live in city where they buy songs: Nashville, LA, NY. Music business is a business and you have to do lunch, play golf, grab a drink when you do business. Not so easy to do via internet or from my suburb.

    If no one in your town is making it as a professional songwriter, then you are in the wrong town.

    Comment


    • #3
      Business relationships are key to doing anything in the music business. It is all about making connections and exploiting connections.

      It is how the business works. The music business is -- with painful obviousness -- no kind of meritocracy.

      It is all about who ya know and who... ahem... you help out.


      That doesn't mean that all those interconnected people like each other -- far more often the contrary.

      But they know each other. They know what to expect. And, when the song or album flops -- as is most often the case -- they can hide behind the reputation of the "known quantity" they hired to perform each key function. ("Well, they can't blame me, I hired a well known producer fresh from a number one, a top engineer with a bunch of gold, the same back up crew that worked with Joe Superstar on his big hits... the fact they're all my in-laws is immaterial." )


      Are there occasional rags-to-riches stories? Sure. Are some of them true? Sometimes.

      Often, they're just p.r., because one of the number one fantasies sold to pop fans is the rags-to-riches fantasy.

      Because most pop fans are not, let's say, at the top of the economic spectrum. And the fantasy of having someone discover your genius and pluck you out of every day life and pop you into all the trappings of success and popular recognition of your gifts is hugely appealing to those caught up in the mundane struggle to survive.


      But the reality is that most folks who get anywhere have been working long and hard to get there. That story is often rewritten to make it fit the standard rags-to-riches/Cinderella fantasy framework, but the reality is usually far less exciting -- or marketable.

      And, all too often, the folks who haven't come up the hard way through lots of hard work, experience, and building connections, the folks who really do shoot to the top, find out the unfortunate truth of one tireless show biz maxim:

      The faster you come up -- the faster you'll go down.


      music and social stuff | The Forgotify Files | A Year of Songs | mutant pop on facebook | roots acoustic on facebook


      The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

      Comment


      • #4
        Does one have to become a "professional songwriter" and establish meaningful relationships with studio heads in order to even get a listen? Or are there means (let's say besides YouTube) by which an average joe songwriter with an amazing hit can submit a song to a label, and sell the rights for, I don't know, $150,000 (I'd be fine with that amount...)?

        Just trying to keep the dream alive and find something to strive for...


        Nobody would ever pay an unknown songwriter $150,000 for a song. It just doesn't work that way. Pop hits tend to be created in a lab by professional technicians that have spent years and years and years honing their craft. They know people and have a track record of making other people money with their work.

        Read this blog post from Sara Hickman from a few months ago. It breaks down the reality of writing songs for money better than anything I've ever read. Maybe open your eyes a bit to brutal nature of music business for artists on the lower rungs, where most of them reside.

        http://acapella.harmony-central.com/showthread.php?t=2456463

        But by all means, keep dreaming. That's one of the best things about making songs for fun. You're weaving dreams, baby, even if that's all they'll ever be.,,
        <div class="signaturecontainer">Correction - &quot;max is wrong, abrasive and, likely, a felon&quot;<br />
        <br />
        finally found it ... the dumbest person on the internet. matximus.</div>

        Comment


        • #5
          I'll ditto that, including Matximus' reco on the Sara Hickman article, if it's the one I'm thinking of.

          I should have picked up on that angle but I was kind of locked into my own trajectory there.


          music and social stuff | The Forgotify Files | A Year of Songs | mutant pop on facebook | roots acoustic on facebook


          The chorus seems a little weak... I think it needs more lasers.

          Comment


          • #6
            What about TAXI?
            <div class="signaturecontainer">We do this because we love music in a way that others may never understand...<br />
            <br />
            <a href="http://www.reverbnation.com/rockinrobby" target="_blank">www.reverbnation.com/rockinrobby</a><br />
            <br />
            Dukie? Don't step in it? Don't touch it? Don't smell it? Avoid it at all costs... It's poo? And who want's to be associated with poo? Not me...</div>

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            • #7
              What about TAXI?


              The general idea with TAXI is that you have got to know the market. Not sorta know the market, but really know what market you want to sell to -- and know it inside and out.

              I'd guess that services like TAXI don't get too many clients from the big song towns, but rather from far flung corners of the songster map. Just a guess though.

              I've read some posts here and around the web from TAXI members and the general idea is caveat emptor. Perhaps someone around will have first-hand experience and chime in?

              Comment


              • #8
                Seattleswiss, can I recommend a couple of books for you to read:

                1.The secrets of songwriting : leading songwriters reveal how to find inspiration & success by Susan Tucker

                2. 6 steps to songwriting success : the comprehensive guide to writing and marketing hit songs by Jason Blume

                I think both these books will help you very much in understanding what you NEED to do to become a successful songwriter.

                There is a quote in the first book where one of the writers said to a contact why can't I just do this from my home, why do I have to go to where everyone is living.

                He said: "...if you are working at this at a hobby level, you can expect hobby-level results."

                That's true for anything in the music business. Make it your business, not a hobby.
                <div class="signaturecontainer"><a href="http://www.laurenbateman.com" target="_blank">www.laurenbateman.com</a><br />
                <a href="http://www.boston-voice-and-guitar-lessons.com" target="_blank">www.boston-voice-and-guitar-lessons.com</a></div>

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