If you’re a songwriter, you’ve probably had the experience of pitching your music at some point. Maybe you pitched your music in order to get signed to a publishing deal. Or maybe you’re still out there trying. But as a songwriter, you probably also know that the pitching never really ends. As long as there are songs being written, there is pitching to be done.
And pitching your music is an especially important aspect of being a songwriter if you’re interested in having it placed in film or television. At some point, you’ll find yourself pitching to publishers, music supervisors or other decision makers. In fact, unless you’re outsourcing it, it will be a big part of what you do.
Now putting your music out there can be a difficult thing as it is. Let alone actively competing to get it heard by industry decision makers.
But you can increase your success rate with a little know-how. So I’m going to give you some important do’s and don’ts to help you approach it the right way.
Pitching your music: first things first
It should go without saying that the sound and production quality of your music has to be professional. That means, in terms of quality, it should sound like something you would hear on the radio.
Music supervisors and decision makers are looking for musical craft, emotional quality and a style that fits the palette of the show they’re working on.
But if your song matches all of their requirements, yet still doesn’t have a professional-sounding quality, supervisors will reject it. So if you want to have success with placing your music in film and t.v., start with the basics and make sure you have a quality-sounding recording before you start pitching.
Your initial pitch
Do: keep it short. When you’re approaching decision makers, state who you are and the reason for your call or email. Respect their time.
Don’t: be too salesman-like. Let your music speak for itself.
Don’t: clog inboxes with large files. Never send WAVS or MP3s to someone’s inbox unless you are specifically asked.
Do: follow up. Reach out to publishers and music supervisors but build relationships slowly.
Don’t: pester. If music supervisors or publishers are interested, they will contact you. Following up once is O.K. Following up repeatedly is pestering.
Do: your research. Before you make contact with someone, research the projects they’re working on. What the television shows. This will help you understand what songs to pitch and increase your success rate.
Don’t: wing it. Show decision-makes that you respect the work they are doing by actually watching their work.
Do: be reachable. If a publisher or supervisor listens to your music and wants to use it, they’ll need to be able to get in touch with you. Be available and respond in a timely manner.
Don’t: ignore. You will lose out on a placement if you have no sense of urgency. Don’t ignore voicemails or emails and don’t take days to respond to requests for information. Music supervisors and publishers are busy people and they will move on if they can’t get in touch with you.
So there are some tips to get you started on pitching your music. In my next post, I’ll give you five more do’s and don’ts. You can subscribe to my blog so you don’t miss it.
In the meantime, here’s a handy infographic to help guide you through the pitching process. Print it out and keep it by your desk or share it on Facebook or Twitter to help you remember.
If you’re interested in more tips on placing your music in film and t.v., check out my blog series: The Most Frequently Asked Questions About Music Licensing.