8 Tips For Getting Your Music Heard
Ask Abbie: I’m a Christian songwriter and I’m very frustrated. I’ve been sending my music everywhere and no one will listen. Why?
Abbie’s Reply: I’ve been in your shoes. It’s frustrating when you desire to share the Word of Christ and can’t get heard. Although your intentions are noble, you must understand that music is a business. Assuming your music is good, there are several common mistakes new songwriters make when attempting to be heard. I created a list of eight tips for songwriters and artists seeking contracts or publicity, and these tips will help you better prepare and present your music.
1. Production, Production, Production! I can’t stress enough the importance of good production and mastering. You will never get an opportunity based upon potential. I’ve heard too many great songs that were poorly produced. Never send a song to anyone in the music industry which has not been professionally produced and mastered.
2. Consider the person you are soliciting. For example, my preference is harder rocking, high energy rock edge. I can appreciate a good worship song, but slow worship music does not entice me to showcase the individual on my website or pass it on to an A&R colleague. Solicit accordingly when shopping your material. Study the person or company before submitting your material.
3. Avoid Long Musical Introductions. As a new artist, avoid the long intro. People who screen songs for a living hate them. Most of us know almost immediately if we want to consider the artist. The long intro hurts your chances. There are some who will immediately stop listening and go on to the next artist.
4. Tune the Vocals. I cannot stress this enough. I have received so many songs with great potential, and the vocalist was pitchy. I don’t care how good you are as a vocalist, every vocalist should have the vocals tuned. All it takes is one note slightly off. If I have to question whether it’s pitchy or not, it’s over. It’s sad how many recording studios will take an artist’s money, record a great sounding song or CD, and leave the vocals raw. I don’t care how great the arrangement or instrumentation is, if the vocals are not great, it gets rejected.
5. Best Song First – Not Necessarily the Title Track: As a recording artist you will often get the opportunity to present a song. Always present your best song. Too often I receive the title track, which is not always the best song or a good representation of the artist. When soliciting attention, don’t just send a link to your material on iTunes. Suggest a specific song or send only as requested! Again, professionals who listen to music daily are limited to time. Respect that! Additionally, most of the music we receive is not very good. Therefore, we are all very quick to discard your music and go the next in line. If the first song is good or shows promise, I will randomly jump to several other songs to gauge quality and consistency.
6. Follow-up email: I recently read an article from a very large CD distribution company telling their readers to always follow up. From my perspective, I disagree. There are so few songs that really blow my socks off, but when that happens, I will always follow up. Most listeners, like myself, don’t want to reply back to artists and bands who are either not very good or lack production, arrangement, etc. We just don’t have the luxury of time considering the amount of music we receive. Additionally, some artists, when rejected, either get angry and email you to death or request a critique. I don’t say this to be mean, but again, industry people do not have the time required to guide an artist. There are exceptions to sending emails. There are times I will begin dialog with an artist I like and allow them to get buried in my daily work. If this happens to you, then follow up. Otherwise, play the numbers and move on.
7. Consider a service like TAXI. I have written about them several times. It is a great place to get critiques before spending valuable time and effort marketing your music. TAXI will offer critiques and opportunities to get your music heard.
8. Don’t Make Them Search. There is nothing worse than receiving a “Hey, listen to my music,” only to have it take you to a page where you can’t find their music. Make your music easy to find and recommend your best song. If you have a Facebook and Twitter page, make your music links easy to find. I often go to Facebook for an artist and can’t find anything about their music.