music row songs banner

The Song Pitch

If you're visiting Nashville and want to connect with the music industry, simply handing out CDs of your music won't be effective. The music business is saturated with singers, writers, and busy professionals who don't have time to listen to unknown artists. While it's not easy to get heard, you can improve your chances by approaching it the right way.

  • Prepare your presentation.
  • First and foremost, you need good demos (short for demonstration recordings). If you're a songwriter pitching your songs to publishers, basic guitar/vocal or piano/vocal recordings are sufficient. Publishers focus on evaluating the writing, not the recording quality, so even a home recording is acceptable as long as it's in tune, in time, and the vocals and chords are clearly audible. If you can't achieve that on your own, seek assistance or wait until you've improved. Don't include any instruments or harmony unless it sounds professional, as poorly produced tracks are worse than having no tracks at all.
  • Ensure you have typed lyric sheets with the names of any co-writers, and make sure your contact information is included. Arrange the lyrics on a single page, making the song structure immediately apparent.
  • If you're pitching yourself as an artist to a label, manager, or booking agent, professionally produced recordings that showcase your sound will yield better results. Top professionals rarely work with beginners, so impressive recordings demonstrate your dedication and hard work towards your career. If you're at an earlier stage and looking for co-writers or collaborators to help you progress, simple recordings that meet the aforementioned guidelines will suffice.
  • Artists should also have at least one great photo and an artist page on Facebook and/or a website. The website doesn't need to be elaborate, but it should include your picture, a bio, contact information, music samples or links to your online music, a schedule of your upcoming gigs, and links to your social media profiles. Strong engagement on social media can leave a positive impression on industry professionals.
  • Make your music available online. Some people hesitate due to concerns about song theft, but the benefits of being heard far outweigh the risks. In her years in Nashville, Barbara has never witnessed a song being stolen, and uploading your music can serve as evidence in case of a lawsuit. If your songs are good enough for someone to profit from, you'll receive a deal quickly. Having your music online gives interested individuals immediate access, so make it as easy as possible for them to listen.
  • Identify your strongest songs and seek outside opinions on this matter. We often lack an objective view of our own work. If you secure an appointment or are asked to submit music, don't overwhelm the person with a large number of songs. Select three (or at most five) that best represent your abilities. If you have a full-length artist album, suggest the songs you want them to hear the most. Show them who you are instead of trying to guess what they might like. Genuine artists are more likely to succeed. However, keep in mind that upbeat songs are in higher demand than ballads, so be sure to include any strong uptempo tracks you may have.
  • Seek permission beforehand.
  • Most businesses in Nashville do not accept unsolicited material due to the overwhelming number of aspiring songwriters and singers. Additionally, accepting unsolicited material exposes businesses to potential plagiarism lawsuits. While it's possible to obtain permission through cold-calling, referrals from trusted individuals are often necessary.
  • Record labels listen to artists and songs specifically for the artists they have signed. The department responsible for this is known as A&R (artist and repertoire).
  • These songs will ever see the light of day or be pitched to industry professionals. It's important to be cautious and do your research before engaging with such companies.
  • Song pluggers or demo services promising guaranteed success
  • Similar to the previous point, be wary of individuals or services that claim they can guarantee your success in the music industry. Building a successful career takes time, effort, talent, and the right connections. No one can guarantee instant fame or a record deal. Genuine industry professionals are selective and work with artists and songwriters based on the quality of their work, their potential, and their fit within the current market.
  • Exorbitant fees for services
  • While there are legitimate expenses involved in pursuing a music career, such as demos, photos, and consultations, it's important to be mindful of excessively high fees. Shop around, compare prices, and ensure that you're getting fair value for the services you're paying for. Remember, reputable professionals in the industry earn their income through a percentage of your future earnings, not upfront fees.
  • Lack of transparency or pressure tactics
  • Be cautious of individuals or companies that use high-pressure sales tactics or lack transparency in their dealings. Legitimate professionals will be open and honest about their services, fees, and what you can expect from their involvement. Take the time to ask questions, seek recommendations, and trust your instincts when something doesn't feel right.
  • In summary, when pursuing a career in the music industry, it's essential to approach it with professionalism, diligence, and an understanding of the industry dynamics. Focus on honing your craft, building relationships with industry professionals, and being patient with the process. While there may be individuals or services that prey on aspiring artists, staying informed and relying on reputable sources will help you navigate the path towards success.
  • Stacks Image 3

    © Copyrighted 2023 Michael Droste Peoria IL 630-344-9292