Release Your Music
How To Sell Your Songs
As a songwriter, you don’t sell your songs. Anybody who tries to buy your music is a thief.
As a songwriter, you earn royalties when your songs/tracks are recorded and released on CD’s, performed for profit on the air – radio, TV, online, and licensed for use in TV shows, movies, commercials, and downloaded all over the web.
When CD’s of your work is released for sale, the songwriter usually gets half of the royalty income, called a mechanical royalty.
Pitching Your Song – What Does it Mean?
To pitch your song to recording artists means that you, (the songwriter) are licensing your song to a recording artist and giving them the right to record and release your song in exchange for some payment.
Start Small & Climb The Ladder
Every songwriter dreams of getting their songs heard by big-time recording artist. And while this is a big goal it may not be the best place to start.
A big recording artist gets roughly thousands of song pitches as they’re preparing to release a new album. Therefore standing out in that stack of songs is extremely difficult (especially if you have no connections to give you a recommendation).
So where to start...
Target smaller, up-and-coming recording artists and bands.
You have your reputation as a songwriter to consider as well, so spend a lot of time on the research phase. You want to find musicians and bands that are dedicated and put in the work required. Plus you need to make sure they will do your song justice.
Build Your Network
A great way to build your web of connections in the industry is to co-write with other songwriters. Fill out the split sheet when co-writing to ensure that your writes are protected.
You can create a friendship with other writers by following them on their socials, commenting, and supporting them. YouTube and Sound Cloud are great ways to hear what other artists and independent songwriters are doing
Proven Networking Strategies
Give, then receive – focus on sharing and not selling. Networking is a two-way street and people will often resist a sales pitch. Try to always offer your help and skills first.
Know why you’re networking – What are you looking to achieve? Do you want a co-writer? Are you looking for a publishing deal? Do you need help recording songs?
Don’t ever be pushy or desperate – respect the fact that people are often busy and may not have the ability, resources or desire to lend a hand.
Always Ask Permission – Always….always…always! Get permission before doing anything that may infringe on someone’s rights or privacy
Say “thank you” – you would be surprised how little things like this still go a long way. Be polite and courteous to everyone..
Research Is Key
It’s best to know as much as you can about the recording artists you want to pitch. Do your research, know their musical style, become familiar with their catalog of recordings, read interviews, and check out their bio to see if you have a song that might be a good fit.
When in doubt, opt for songs that deal with more universal themes that anyone can relate to – you know, love, loss, relationships, struggle.
Do’s of pitching songs.
Make sure that your song fits what the artist is looking for very closely
Make sure your song is competitive.
Make your presentation business-like
Don’ts of song pitching.
Never send CDs or pitches of any type without permission.
Don’t Irritate the person you are pitching to. Drop it off, be courteous, and leave
Never complain to the people you are pitching to.
Don’t pitch any song that isn’t amazing. Just don’t. Pitching it will hurt you far more than it will help you.
Collaboration In Songwriting
Elements of A Song
The Art of Co-writing
If you look at the songwriter credits on any music charts these days, you’ll notice that most hit songs are written by more than one writer. it now takes a village.
Collaboration has become the new workplace in the music industries and it’s the combination of talent, skill-set, chemistry, and how connected you are, that all add up to the recipe of success.
“If you plan on writing a hit song, you’d better find a writing partner,” experts advises. “Preferably, four or more.”
Benefits of Collaboration in Songwriting
Working with people who complement your skill set, lightens the load, and increases productivity. Few people are masters at everything, so know what you are good at and master that to the best of your ability. Find collaborators that mirror your skills and bring something else to the table.
Different minds bring different perspectives and a mix of styles. The best part about collaborating is mixing ideas, styles, and cultures. You might never have tried such an idea on your own or written from another angle.
Enhances your professional and personal development. If you challenge yourself and get out of your comfort zone, you will grow into a better writer and develop your “people skills”. Collaboration means you will have to learn to be a politician and your ability to debate, will help you figure out which ideas to fight for and which ones to let go of. Ultimately you are all working for the same goal at the end of the day, aiming high to write the best possible song.
Collaboration forces you to articulate your ideas to other people. One of the most difficult parts of being an artist is clearly explaining your ideas so that other people understand them. When you collaborate you talk your ideas out with other people, you can explain the thinking behind them and collectively come up with the clearest way to articulate the idea to others.
It helps you play to your strengths and accept your weaknesses. In order to collaborate with other people, you must first understand what your personal strengths and weaknesses are. Bring to the table what you know you're good at, and find a friend who can complement your weaknesses.
It's an easy way to gain fans. One of the best benefits of working with other musicians is that you've opened up to a whole new set of fans! If your sound is similar to, but with a unique spin on, the work of the person you're collaborating with, you're sure to open up the door to many fans coming your way. People are always looking for new music, and what better way than to find it through their favorite artists?
Looking for Songwriters or Musicians to Collaborate With?
Making music is a collaborative process, as everybody needs somebody else. Finding that right person can be a challenge, but it isn't impossible. If you're looking for a fellow musician, songwriter, or music professional to work with and create some amazing art with, here are a few services you'll definitely want to check out. Best of all, they are free to join, so you've got nothing to lose!
The service allows musicians to find one another for a new project. There's a built-in system that lets collaborators share files if they're working on a song across long distances. On top of that, there's also a feature that enables all creators to split the rights to the song, which ensures that everybody gets paid fairly.
SongwriterLink aims to connect songwriters that complement each other perfectly, which should hopefully lead to amazing music. In fact, the startup claims that it "uses matching engine technology – the same kind that dating websites use – to help users find exactly the type of songwriters they're seeking for collaborations."
British startup Clowdy is a bit different from the other suggestions on this list, as it's almost like a site for showing off a creative portfolio. The company lets musicians display what they've done in the hope of landing gigs and finding people to work with in the future. Clowdy is already a great way for people to showcase everything they've done.
Kompoz is kind of a collaborator's free-for-all, and that's what makes it so much fun. Anybody can upload any bit of music – a guitar chord, a bit of piano, or a killer vocal hook – and sit back and wait for others to listen to it and add their musical two cents. A track can go from one interesting part to a finished song in no time.
Melboss is similar to Kompoz, SongwriterLink, and FindMySong in that musicians and singers can find one another and get to know each other before collaborating, but it takes things a step further by incorporating all kinds of music professionals. Once musicians have gotten together and created something special, they can then work with publishers, label people, and even those booking shows or festivals to get that song out there.
We might consider melody to be the single most important element within a song. In everyday language, this is the element we call ‘the tune’. In technical terms, however, the melody is a series of;
Rythym (Pace & Speed)
Pitch (High & Low Notes)
Volume ( Loud & Soft)
The best melodies are considered to be "catchy". This typically means that the melody is memorable, which should be the desired effect.
How To Develop Good Melody
A good start to write good melodies is to just listen to good ones; Listen to the songs whose melodies you particularly like and get inspired. Perhaps, the melodies you’ll write at first will sound similar to those but don’t worry, that’s a natural process. The more you write, the more creative you will get.
You can also just sit at the piano and get inspired by playing a few random notes on the keyboard, or by improvising over a melody you already know.
Another good way to create melodies is to sing them, or whistling them, and then playing them on your instrument. That process will allow you to sing, whistle or hum a melody exactly the way you want it to be and create a sequence of note that you may have never come up with on your instrument. Remember: music comes from inside you, the instrument is just… an instrument!
Characteristics of A Good Melody;
Keep it easy to sing and easy to remember.
Use mainly stepwise motion. Stepwise motion means moving from one note to an adjacent one without skipping a note. Stepwise motion ensures that the melody is more easily singable
You need a contour which goes somewhere. Common contours are ascending (goes up), descending (goes down), arching (goes up, then back down), and U-shaped (goes down, then up again). These contours all go somewhere and 'tell a story'. Melodies which wander aimlessly are usually boring and hard to remember
Repetition, repetition, repetition. A very effective way to build a phrase is by repeating 1 or 2 basic ideas or gestures, often called motives. Repetition can be exact or can be inverted.
You need variations. If you do something 3 times in a row, make sure the 3rd time is varied somehow. 3 consecutive identical repetitions will be boring.
Beat and Rhythm
The beat of a song is what "drives" the listener to "feel" the song (fast or slow). It is also referred to as the tempo (speed) of the song. Because music stirs our emotions, we often are drawn to a song because of the beat. The rhythm, on the other hand, is the beat that the various instruments (drums, bass, guitar, and keys) create.
Genre and Style
The genre of a song (rock, pop, country or r&b) is typically established by the beat and rhythm of the song. The style may vary once the song is constructed with the words and/or instruments. The style of the song branches out from the genre, such as punk rock, alternative, hip hop, bluegrass etc.
What is being "said" in the song comes through the words called the lyrics. The lyric describes the concept, theme, and/or title of the song. A lyric will typically rhyme in rhythmic phrases in the sections of music.
What is Song Structure:
Song structure refers to how a song is organized, using a combination of different sections. A typical song structure includes a verse, chorus, and bridge in the following arrangement: intro, verse — chorus — verse — chorus —bridge — chorus — outro. This is known as an ABABCB structure, where A is the verse, B is the chorus and C is the bridge.
What Makes A Song
There are six primary parts to a song:
Intro: A song introduction should catch the listener’s attention.The goal is to establish the rhythm, tempo, and melody of the song, and introduce the singer or singers’ voices.
Verse: The verse of a song is a chance to tell a story. Lyrically speaking, this is where the story actually develops and advances. In most cases the verse is your chance to get your message across. It might be helpful to split the story you want to tell in two and think about how the second verse can build on the first.
Pre-chorus. Although optional, a pre-chorus helps to heighten the impact of the chorus. A pre-chorus usually contains a chord progression from either the verse or the chorus, building upon that familiarity. It’s another chance to experiment—a pre-chorus can utilize different harmonies, for example, or break the pattern of the song.
Chorus. The chorus is the culmination of all the big ideas in your song. This is often why the title of the song also appears in the chorus. It’s a summary of what the entire song is about. The chorus typically also contains the hook—the catchiest part of the song. Choruses should serve as the climax to the song. The verses and pre-chorus both serve to build up to this one moment; therefore the chorus should reflect that release of tension.
Bridge. The bridge typically happens only once towards the end of a song, usually between the second and third chorus. It’s a change of pace in the song—it stands out both lyrically and musically. The point is to remind the listener that there’s more to this song than just repetition.
Outro. This is the end of the song. An outro should signal clearly to the listener that the song is coming to an end. This can be done in a number of ways, but typically is achieved by doing the reverse of the intro—in other words, slowing down
Types of Song Forms
Strophic (AAA): This is where you compose your music with only verses, In some cases it can have intro or outro. An example of this is hymns
Through-Composed (ABCDE..): This form follows a pattern where there is no repetition in sections. Each musical part is independent. An example where this style is commonly used is Jazz
Ternary (ABA): This composition may contain an intro following into a pattern of verse chorus verse. This is the most commonly used style in expressing musical ideas.
Rondo (ABACA) or (ABACABA): This form of songs has been used to produce the world's greatest hit songs. It has three variations of verse - chorus -bridge and a repetition of verse and chorus
The song "If you ask me by Omawumi" is a perfect example of a Rondo form
How To Write A Song
Writing a song with unforgettable melodies and creative lyrics can be challenging. Even the most experienced songwriters can lack inspiration at some point in their careers, and there are many different approaches to songwriting.
Over the next couple of weeks, we shall look at the key elements involved in songwriting. But first, let's look at some helpful tips
Where To Start
Getting started is often the hardest part. Developing your song’s main melody or central chorus is considered by some to be the best place to begin writing your next track. Once you’ve got your hook or key chord progression, you can build the rest of your song around it. But don’t worry if you're struggling to find the perfect melody straight away, this method isn’t for everyone.
The lyrics are the most important part of your song. Lyric writing can often be the most frustrating and difficult aspect of the process, especially for songwriter's lacking in experience. Having a clear idea of what your song will be about is a good start.
Record Any Ideas That Come
There’s nothing worse as a songwriter than coming up with an amazing melody only to completely forget what it was an hour later. Forgetting your ideas can be really frustrating, so it’s important to make a note of your idea while it’s fresh in your mind. You’ll be glad of the reminder later when you return to continue working on the song.
Write From Experience
As obvious as it may sound, some of history’s greatest songs are about personal experiences, with artists drawing on real-life events and traumas to bring out their creativity.
Don't Overthink It
Musicians and songwriters are often our own worst critics. If you judge your own songs too harshly you’ll never get anything done, so it’s important to keep an open mind and let the songwriting process flow, stop worrying, and just get on with it. Overthinking can be your worst enemy.
Ask For Feedback
Find someone you trust to give honest advice, and who’s opinion you value, and ask them to critique it for you. You might find they have some fantastic insight into how it could be improved. Don’t just play it for someone who might be afraid to hurt your feelings.
Don't Be Afraid To Fail
If you’re failing and struggling to write the song, just keep going. There’s no secret formula for successful songwriting, other than the combination of hard work, positivity, and talent. This quote from the legendary
Definition of Terms
Bridge: Contrasts in content with the verse and the chorus usually giving a new perspective on the story. Is the ‘A-HA!’ moment in the song. (What’s A Bridge For?)
Chorus: A core component of a song, it summarizes the main idea of the lyric and is the emotional high point of the song. It contains the title or hook in the first or last line and is the same melodically each time it occurs. (What’s A Song Chorus For?)
Hook: The focused statement of the central idea used as a device to create a memorable core idea to your song. It is most often your title. (What’s A Hook?)
Verse: A major component of a song, the verse’s primary role is to convey the information of the song and set up, or lead to, the chorus, the bridge, another verse, or a title/hook line.
Each verse should have different information in order to move the story forward, and be the same melodically. (What’s A Song Verse For?)