5 Things To Do Before You Pitch Your Song

pitching songs-songtown

Pitching songs that are not ready or that are not in the ballpark for the artist you are pitching to is one of the fastest ways to burn bridges.  In fact, doing either of those things is effectively pouring gasoline on the bridge.  Way too many people pitch songs prematurely and significantly hurt their chances of being heard for any of their pitches in the future.  So, here are some things I recommend doing BEFORE you pitch a song.

Get feedback from someone with a track record of getting songs recorded.

Our pro feedback pros in SongTown have all written hits.  They can give you reliable feedback on your song before you pitch it.  If you know someone else with a proven history of getting songs recorded, get their feedback before you make a pitch.

Make sure you know where the artist you are pitching to is headed before you pitch.

For instance, MANY people ask me to pitch Billy Currington a song that is in the vein of my song “Must Be Doin’ Somethin’ Right”.  That song was a hit in 2005 and Billy hasn’t cut anything like that in a long time.  Pitching an artist a song that sounds like what they did 15 years ago is the kiss of death.  It shows that you are out of touch.  Don’t do that!  Listen to the LAST record the artist recorded and see if your song would fit on THAT record.

Pay attention to pitch sheets and artist interviews.

Interviews can help you learn where an artist’s head is at.  Are they in love?  Just went through a breakup or divorce?  Are they worn out from a long tour?  All of those things can help you see if your song fits the headspace the artist is in. Our SongTown pitch sheets give you a list of who’s looking and often notes about the type of songs as well.

Listen to your song and visualize the artist singing it.

What would it do to that artist’s show?  How does it make the artist look?  Does it fit the artist’s brand?  Every artist has a brand that defines what their fans expect from them.  Pitching an artist that doesn’t do love songs a love song is “off brand”.  It may be a great song, but it’s not what that artist’s fans want to hear from her/him.  Make sure that your song fits the brand of the artist you are pitching to.

Prepare your “pitch”.

My recommendation is to send ONE song.  Tell the person you are pitching to that you believe you have ONE song that is perfect for their artist.  Don’t waste their time by pitching 5 songs.  Take your shot with a rifle, not a shotgun.  If you take one good shot, they may ask you to send more, even if that song doesn’t quite work.  The last thing you want to do is send 5 that don’t work.  Your next pitch will go in the trash if you do that.

If you do those 5 things, you’ve got a chance of making a pitch that counts – one that they either cut or like enough to ask you for more.  You win either way!

Write on! MD

Marty Dodson - pro songwriter/instructor - SongTown

Marty Dodson is a multi-hit songwriter, co-founder of SongTown, and co-author of  The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting and Song Building: Mastering Lyric Writing

10 thoughts on “5 Things To Do Before You Pitch Your Song

  1. Thank you, Marty! I literally just pitched a song then saw your email with this post. I’d sent a message to the producer beforehand mentioning 2 short clips (verse and chorus each.) Thankfully they liked both but picked the 2nd song to work on first.

    Normally I’d send one song as a whole instead of a clip of it; is that the ideal thing to do? Better to send the whole song instead of a snippet so they can hear the song in its entirety? Thanks in advance, and hi from Barbados.

  2. I have several songs that get a good response from my local song writing group. I would love to get them in front of some professional critics. What is my next step?
    I am also a lifelong Dodson and my brother is named Marty!

    1. It’s nice to meet another Dodson! Our members get pro feedback on one song each month and we offer mentoring with publishers or hit writers.

  3. I love these tips. I think being smart about your pitch is a great point, I’d rather pitch one great song then 5 songs that don’t apply. I agree that you need to know what an artist wants and where they are in their life.

    As always your thoughts very appreciated.

    Thank you!

  4. I’ve won 12 songwriting contests, some good cash over the years, and get heaps and loads of praise for my songs. However, I don’t have much of a pitch game at all. My coordination is awful, so my guitar-playing is like drunk driving – something no one should ever do. And the few times I’ve been to that “almost point,” I’ve been told the song wasn’t right for X reasons. I’ll always write. I just don’t know if anything will ever come from it. I plan on using some of this advice, though even if I do have that one artist picked out (e.g. I think I have something hot as fire for Kenny Chesney), I don’t know how to go about locating his people to pitch. I have 0 contacts.

      1. Maybe co-write with Songtownians – they all have their own networks which you can plug in to. 10 co-writes = 10 different networks.

        1. All of that sounds great. This is the first I have ever heard of the place. I think it’s awesome; I’ve liked many of Marty’s songs. I look forward to checking this place out when I get time. I’d be honored to work with talented people here, or perhaps just flattered to be able to view their work.

  5. I appreciate the read and sound advice Marty. Good points in paying attention to where an artist is in their lives. Looking forward to more great reads. Thanks again.

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