How Do You Get A Recording Artist to Record Your Song?

Discussion in 'Recording/Live Sound' started by Griff, Jun 7, 2005.

  1. Griff

    Griff Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    Similar to my earlier thread (and thanks again to all who responded) but with a slightly different emphasis...

    What if your goal is not to score the big recording contract but just to be a songwriter for other musicians? How do you get your song or songs into the hands of producers and musicians who will record them themselves?

    Assume you write, say, a nice commercial sounding country/pop tune that sounds like it would play on country radio and CMT. So you record a demo version and ... then what?

    Send it directly to Shania and Mutt?

    I'm guessing not.

    Should you enter one of those song writing contests?

    Are there clearing houses for producers and musicians when they are looking for new material?

    As always, all advice and thoughts are appreciated and welcome.

    Thanks

    Mark
     
  2. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    It's the same question with the same answers.

    >> Assume you write, say, a nice commercial sounding country/pop tune that sounds like it would play on country radio and CMT.

    Then, like the other 124,387 "nice commercial sounding country/pop tunes" written since breakfast today, it would be sh*t-canned.

    A very successful friend of mine has a terrific expression: "Those guys know how to make hits. Not records that 'sound like hits,' but hits."

    Mary Gauthier has another terrific expression: "The good is the enemy of the great." In other words, mediocrity is a trap. You are competing to be heard against people who can write circles around you in their sleep.* They already have the ears of the artists and labels. If you want your song to make it to the listening pile, you've got to bring something really special to the table so that people start talking about you. You've got to make sure that not a second of that three minutes is wasted on words or music that are merely "good."

    *Some of those songs sound like they were, in fact, written in their sleep. But they already have publishing deals – you do not.
     
  3. hear and play

    hear and play Member

    Messages:
    749
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    I'm used to seeing it the other way: "perfectionism is the enemy of the good."
     
  4. Bryan T

    Bryan T Guitar Owner Silver Supporting Member

    Messages:
    16,903
    Joined:
    Aug 22, 2002
    Michael,

    What if the person truly has something special? How do they get their foot in the door? Or should they just give up because they don't have a publishing deal already? :)

    Bryan
     
  5. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    The obvious way is to get a publishing deal. Funny though, so many writers that I know complain that most of the cuts they get are the result of their own song pitching.

    If you want to know the truth, the best way to go about it is to get to know published songwriters. A friend of mine co-wrote the new Faith Hill single that way. He'll make $300,000 or more this year alone.

    Who needs a publishing deal??!

    :dude :dude :dude
     
  6. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,449
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    >>What if the person truly has something special? How do they get their foot in the door? Or should they just give up because they don't have a publishing deal already?<<

    If you're a songwriter, you're going to write songs regardless of whether or not anyone buys them, so you might as well not give up on selling them. :D

    I have helped artists get publishing deals; it's not impossible, but it takes some work and time.

    Michael's right, of course, in the sense that no one is going to faint and scream, "Oh my God, this is the best song I ever heard, buy it now and pay whatever you have to pay! This is Great Stuff!" There's too much out there for that to happen.

    But a big part of what makes a hit a hit is the artist performing it, not necessarily the greatness of the writing, as we all know. The entertainment industry constantly needs new material; you have to pitch it to the right people at the right time, and that takes some homework, planning and effort.

    There are resources out there, and some publishers specialize in a given genre. Some publishers don't even go after the record market, they go after film and TV (how many times have you seen a movie or TV show where the scene is a club or dance, and there is some forgettable tune being played in the background that never made the radio?).

    There are international, national, and regional conventions where people pitch artists and songs; MIDEM in France springs to mind as a good example. There are producers who need to find songs for their artists, and many of them don't require that the songwriter already be famous.

    Of course, the first course of action is to record them yourself, as demos; if you're a good artist, you're your own customer, but if you can't sing well, have someone else demo the material. If you know other artists, offer them the material to be performed or recorded; if they release a record, there you are, a free demo!

    Heck, there are even those goofy songwriting contests - a client of my partner's just won one last year, and is now being courted by several major labels. She also got to perform on a national television show as a result of her song winning.

    I'd find out who is producing records in your area, and get to know them. That's a great way to get involved in the business. Eventually, someone will want to record a song if the writer is good, and things can grow from there.

    One of my entertainment law clients, for example, who has produced several hit records for well known artists, is planning to begin producing a young girl who doesn't write her own material. He is going to put out the feelers to publishers and songwriters for material in her genre; something's going to get recorded. Something might just hit.

    I think a big key is for the producer and artist to hear a song's potential, which is why people spend money on good demos. My feeling is that if someone thinks their stuff is special, they should put their money behind it, and make the investment in what it takes to get the work out there. Keep doing it, and see what happens. Eventually, one either runs out of money or has some good luck. ;)
     
  7. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    >> What if the person truly has something special? How do they get their foot in the door?

    What Les said. You just keep at it and play out a LOT. Song contests, songwriter organizations, etc., all good resources.
     
  8. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    What I've learned about song contests, is that they are a promotional/profit vehicle first & foremost.

    Nothing wrong with them, just as long as you go in with your eyes open when sending in those "entry fees".
     
  9. MichaelK

    MichaelK Member

    Messages:
    6,479
    Joined:
    Jan 7, 2002
    Location:
    Fort Mudge
    Some are more legit than others. The John Lennon competition, International Sonsgwriter's, the CMA song contest, anything sponsored by NSAI come to mind.
     
  10. LSchefman

    LSchefman Member

    Messages:
    13,449
    Joined:
    Jan 4, 2002
    >>What I've learned about song contests, is that they are a promotional/profit vehicle first & foremost.

    Nothing wrong with them, just as long as you go in with your eyes open when sending in those "entry fees".

    Some are more legit than others. The John Lennon competition, International Sonsgwriter's, the CMA song contest, anything sponsored by NSAI come to mind.<<

    The one my partner's client won was sponsored by some kind of cosmetics company; there was no entry fee.

    There are all kinds of songwriting contests that are sponsored by various companies wishing to promote their image as a "hip" company.

    Another example: my label's two artists are being promoted by a beer company on a website they're developing. They were picked out of hundreds of artists. Is it going to make their careers? No. Is it something nice for their resumes? Yes.
     
  11. chrisgraff

    chrisgraff Member

    Messages:
    2,649
    Joined:
    Oct 2, 2002
    Location:
    Nashville, TN
    Great point.
     
  12. Griff

    Griff Member

    Messages:
    56
    Joined:
    May 12, 2005
    Location:
    Minnesota
    As always, thanks for your thoughts guys.
     

Share This Page