So, writing a song is as simple as writing a few verses on paper… and doing that all over again. Creating music is as simple as learning and playing an instrument. Learning how to sing is as easy as skillfully trying to sing. Just don't forget to learn to protect your voice. All of those activities help make up songwriting. Just the thought of doing those activities is exciting to many hopefuls.
How exciting? Ever try writing a song and singing that song into your phone? Sounds too easy of a start, but it's fun right? Plenty of people think it's exciting when they start out. And many eventually get into songwriting and singing just that way nowadays. That's just one of many options people have if they want to join the music industry now. Just as many options exist for songwriters to take their careers to the next level. So, what are you waiting for… if you want your song heard?
If You Want Your Song Heard…
You have a song – a great demo, in fact. You have the lyrics. You might even have a few collaborators who helped you write the lyrics. Now, you need someone who can give you the opportunity to make your big break happen.
Meeting with music industry giants is rare. So rare many consider such an event a myth for so-called small talents. Today, such an event still seems just as rare. But there's a significant difference.
Songwriters and musicians now have more control. They control how to write, record, produce and, eventually, distribute their music. The publisher doesn't have to get involved... as much. But it doesn't mean they don't need to be.
The Story Behind Publisher and Artist Meet Cuts
Publishers distribute, right? And an artist who wishes to distribute their music should, in theory, find a publisher to achieve that goal. But the music industry tends to be large and hard to navigate for a complete beginner. So much many people give up at even trying before they start.
Today, songwriters don't have to stop their efforts to find a publisher. Technically, finding a publisher is far easier than you would think. Securing a publisher… might be a challenge. No one enters this industry without seeking a challenge, though!
Many buy books that list music publishers and use that to get in touch. But one of the most popular ways to get in touch with a publisher involves networking. The most common way? Network with or befriend someone who already has a relationship with a music publisher. Theoretically, they would bring your work to their publisher. And – if they like your work – they'd set you up to meet the publisher to see if something could work out.
Alternatively, there are always events that host songwriters at all skill levels. Songwriting camps, workshops and even music festivals do. Joining a songwriter's organization also works as a way to network with other songwriters. The easiest way to do so without, well, having to search everywhere.
But before you go, remember this tip before you search for a publisher. That tip? Don't work with anyone requiring upfront payment for publishing or requiring you to record your demos with their “in house demo studio” for payment.
Legitimate publishing companies leave the choice to their writers of who to record with as long as you deliver high quality music. Unless of course the publisher agrees to pay for the production in full (which is highly unlikely these days).
Get Your Song Heard: All About The Royalties
If you write or create songs… can you really make money? Most people question the legitimacy of that. Well, the good news is… you absolutely can get paid for your work.
Songwriters earn money through royalties. It's always been this way. Songwriters generally earn royalties through physical (or analog) royalties and digital songwriter royalties. Nowadays, most songwriters earn the bulk of their money through digital royalties. And that's usually if they're controlling their work on their own terms.
For the sake of this article, we're going to talk a bit more about digital royalties. The digital side of the music is where you need to look if you want to have your songs heard ASAP. And you definitely need to learn more about the digital music industry if you plan to do so. Especially if you know you want to make money there.
Digital Download Royalties
As most know, several digital download retailers exist, providing artist money making opportunities. iTunes, Amazon or Google allow artists to earn money on every download of their music. This typically consists of a royalty for the sale of each unit they move.
Streaming services, such as Spotify, also allow artists to earn a percentage in royalties. The catch here is: artists earn royalties per stream. If you plan to allow your songs to get distributed via streaming, you won't get left out. You'll still earn royalties per stream.
'Non-Interactive' Streaming Royalties
You're still able to earn royalties for non-interactive streaming or use of your music. Non-interactive streaming refers to services that stream music. The catch is that users can't interact with the music. 'Interaction,' in this context, refers to creating playlists and selecting songs to stream. It also includes any other user action that involves interacting with digital music.
Internet radio counts as non-interactive streaming. Naturally, artists can earn royalties from such a service. But what you can earn depends on the vendor distributing your music.
Can I Earn More Royalties?
Earning more on royalties is a big concern of many songwriters. In fact, it's a big concern of every creative who sells their works. While the integrity of creating music is important, so is getting properly compensated! Not to mention, earning more money for your music is incredibly encouraging.
So, songwriters can earn more royalties for their music in several ways. Below are some brief examples of the most common:
Through online services and Internet radio....
Most new artists thrive by sharing their music online. Many distribution channels allow new artists to publish their music. This pretty much encourages many songwriters to publish new and polished works when they're ready. So, where can songwriters publish and distribute music? Try using a music distribution service like TuneCore. You can even sell directly through iTunes.
Direct or through a distributor....
Want to be the songwriter behind a soon-to-be hit song? You can always license your song to another entity. This entity could be someone behind a television show, a movie or an advertisement. Even video games use licensed music. The evolution of popular media has opened more opportunities for small time songwriters and artists to get big.
Join a Performing Rights Organization (it's an absolute must in order to collect royalties in the first place). You may be able to connect with organizations who actively work within the music industry. They may be able to direct you toward potential licensees. Middlemen like Songtrust also help with such a prospect, but do your research first.
Get Your Song Heard… Through Social Media?
As we've explained, multitude of ways for songwriters to have their song heard exist. But getting your song heard doesn't end with music distribution. Songwriters actually have a responsibility to promote their songs. It counts long after they publish and distribute their music.
Songwriters don't have to hire an advertisement firm to promote their music. They don't even need to pay for someone to promote their music. One of the easiest ways to promote music is actually completely free.
Social media. Although plenty used, social media is pretty underrated as an advertisement tool. People already write off social media for being very saturated with advertisements. But don't write off social media yet—there are plenty of upsides. A social media profile can be your most powerful tool for getting a song heard. Most people just need to get more clever about using social media to promote their music.
How clever? Let's find out.
Be You and Be Quality
People love quality music… almost as much as they love unique music. There wouldn't be so many different artists to choose from otherwise. So, if you're going to begin promoting and selling your music, perfect your work first. It's always a good idea to put out the best production possible.
Your audio and visual quality should be excellent. In the digital age, people will comment about the poor quality of your songs. That also includes all your graphics. Your album covers, flyers and other associated graphics made for your image. If you need paid help with those things, don't be afraid to contract it out. It's worth it if you're serious about becoming a working songwriting artist!
Pinpointing Your Listening Audience
Promotion is only truly effective when you pinpoint your exact audience.
Songwriters, if you have a song you want people to hear, broadcast it! People in your social network circles might want to hear it. Take time to talk to them and learn what they might like. Go to them, tell them about your music and, if possible, sell them on your song. It could be as simple as a question or a survey—whatever works best.
Different genres attract different audience. Of course, there's overlap, but you can't rely on crossover all the time. People who listen to one genre will expect to hear just that. And the type of fans who listen to certain genres of music vary. They tend to congregate on different types of social media sites.
A study conducted by Vevo revealed what types of music fans exist on social media. 65 percent social media users identified themselves as a type of 'music super fan.' Up to 26 percent said they were 'country music super fans.' And just as many users identified themselves as 'rock super fans.'
Social media users tend to listen to a lot of music, too. The surveyed users revealed they spend 'more than 25 hours a week listening to music.' Of course, those users spent a lot of time with Vevo. Plenty listen to music via Spotify, Pandora and YouTube, too.
Linking to your music off site is essential, too. Many artists link their music on Spotify, iTunes and YouTube. This allows fans to find their music—whether for the first time or not.
Seize Opportunity and Create a Strategy
Consider this. Thousands of posts enter the world of Facebook, Twitter and Instagram every… hour. Thought we were going to say day, huh? Well, in the past, that might have been the case. But today, it's definitely not. So, millions of posts are being published each day. How will you use that opportunity to advertise your music?
By developing a strategy, of course.
But it takes time to unfold a strategy that works. It's not impossible, though. You might want to research what people who work in your genre do. Research those songwriters on social media and take some notes. Then think about what you could do in their place. There's nothing wrong with having an overactive imagination in this case!
Social media strategies for content creators – or songwriters, in our case – involve a lot of content sharing and community interaction. So, post your content. Share when needed. And don't forget to interact with fans and followers. Remember: people who take time to engage social media tend to grow their web presence faster. It takes time, but the effort is well worth trying.
Tremendous Ways For Songwriters To Get Their Songs Heard
Music is everywhere these days, especially online. Social media, radio, even tube streaming websites…. The saturation of music online is at an all time high, so getting one's song heard isn't an easy task. But it's still possible.
Songwriters can have their song heard. As we've explained, there is a tremendous amount of ways to that. It's just up to you to do the work... and reap the benefits!