Pitching your songs to publishers vs. producers

As a songwriter who is looking for other artists to record your songs you have two main options:

Getting them signed with a publisher or pitching them directly to the artists, their producers or managers. Both come with different advantages and benefits, please decide for yourself.

Upsides of working with a music publisher:

  • a publisher is your one-stop with many industry contacts and a certain influence
  • a publisher polishes the door knobs for you
  • a publisher can be well respected by record companies and music producers because heĀ  pre-filters song submissions and forwards only professional material

Downsides of working with a music publisher:

  • a publisher may pitch songs by other writers first
  • a publisher decides in his sole discretion which songs to pitch and may leave your ‘hit’ out due to personal preferences
  • your songs gather dust on the publisher’s shelf, so all the legwork (pitching etc.) falls back to you while your publisher functions only as a collecting company
  • available publishing rights are often an incentive for producers and labels to make extra revenue. If your song is already signed to a publisher, that incentive will not be available

Upsides of working directly with music producers:

  • music producers search their own song databases first before they look for outside material (e.g. from music publishers)
  • music producers are creative and can imagine your song in different musical styles
  • music producers know what they are looking for and should be happy to tell you
  • you can get direct feedback about possible changes etc. from the person in charge
  • if you haven’t signed your song to a publisher yet, the producer might see this as an incentive to use your song and cash in on the publisher’s share by publishing your song through his/her own label

Downsides of working directly with music producers:

  • you will have to seek, establish and maintain contacts and relationships with a larger number of music producers yourself
  • you will have to do the leg- and saleswork yourself and thus lose creative time

The direct route without the middle man seems to be more efficient, but it also involves a lot more work than working with a publisher. However, many songwriters keep pitching their songsĀ  even when they have a publishing deal but they just don’t want to rely solely on that one company. This being said, offering your publishing rights to a producer who’s interested in your music can become the ace up your sleeve.

Don’t forget to copyright your songs before you submit them.

– Julian Angel

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About MusicBizMadness

Julian Angel is a chart-noted songwriter and film musician with Hollywood credits. He has successfully released six (physical) records by himself. MusicBiz Madness started as a business conference in Germany and keeps sharing hands-on advice for musicians and people in the music industry.
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