How Do I Submit Songs As A Songwriter To The Music Business?

submitting songs - music business


There seems to be a lot of confusion out there over the question “As a songwriter, how do I submit songs to the music business?”

The truth of the matter is that there is no one way to “submit” songs to the music business. When you simplify the “song submission” idea, there are basically three categories of song submissions that a songwriter should educate themselves about. I’ll cover each of those here.

1. Educational submissions.

Educational song submissions are “safe” ways to submit songs that you aren’t sure about because the person you are submitting the song to knows that you are just trying to learn. You aren’t going to burn a bridge if the song isn’t there. These would include song critiques or feedback like we have in the pro forum on SongTown. They would also include mentoring sessions with one of our pros. None of the pros are going to close the door on you if you submit something that isn’t great. You’re there to learn and they are there to help you. The quality of your demo doesn’t matter much at all here as long as it’s easy to understand the lyrics and hear the melody. Simple work tapes are fine.

2. When you submit songs to publishers or PROS (ASCAP, BMI, SESAC, etc).

These include more risk. If I waste a publisher’s or PRO rep’s time, I risk getting on their “do not work with” list. Most of them don’t have time to give you a second chance. These opportunities are not places to experiment or test the waters. You need to be confident that you are giving a publisher or PRO rep quality songs that they think they could get recorded in the current market unless you are meeting with them in a mentoring typesetting. Otherwise, you are wasting their time. Pitching or submitting songs to publishers is much different than pitching to artists.

Publishers are looking at the quality of your song, not so much the quality of the recording.

The only way a publisher makes money is if they get a song recorded. So, if they can’t get your song(s) recorded, they aren’t going to be interested. If you get an opportunity to meet with and pitch to a publisher, you need to research what that publisher does, who their writers are, etc. That information will help you submit songs that the publisher is more apt to like. If you need help with learning to pitch your songs…

SongTown Edge Groups are monthly online writer meetings run by top industry publishers.

It’s a great program for learning to target write and pitch to artists. And you’ll get your songs heard in a legit fashion.

PRO reps can call publishers and get you meetings if they like what you do.

Even though they personally are not trying to get songs recorded, their job is to help writers with their organization succeed. They can be great advocates for you if they love your music. Again, your demo quality needs to convey the song well and be easy to understand, but it doesn’t have to be a full studio demo or track.

3. Submitting songs to recording artists.

This is the highest risk pitch. I have Keith Urban’s e-mail. I’ve only sent him 3 songs in over a year. He has passed on all of them. I feel like I’m at a tipping point. If I keep sending him songs he doesn’t LOVE, he’s going to quit opening my e-mails. Kieth doesn’t have time to keep fooling with someone that isn’t giving him what he needs. So, I’m going to be super careful with my next pitch. Even if he doesn’t cut it, I want him to think it’s an amazing song so that I can keep pitching to him. Whether you are submitting songs to the artist, a manager, a producer, or a record label, you want to be REALLY confident in the song you are pitching AND the quality of the demo.

The closer your song demo can sound to something that would be on the radio, the better your chances will be.

BUT if you have a simple ballad, you may be able to get by with a guitar or piano vocal demo. Otherwise, you probably need a really good quality demo. You don’t get many of these direct-to-artist chances, so you need to really blow them away.

If you can’t afford full demos, that’s fine. Stick to the first two kinds of pitches as you work on improving your writing.

These days you can set up a pretty killer home studio on an affordable budget.

Publishers can help pay for demos if they love your song. Don’t worry that you aren’t able to get to artists. Just make the most of your situation. And, I always recommend waiting until you get a “WOW” response from one of the safe opportunities before you climb up the ladder. If you get a “WOW” response in the Pro Feedback forum, book a mentoring session with our pro publisher. When you get a “WOW” response there, you know you’ve got something. If not, you avoid burning a bridge by pitching in one of the more risky situations.

Many writers pitch songs WAY too soon and leave burning bridges smoking behind them. Don’t do that. Be patient. Keep writing and improving. That’s the ticket to success when you submit songs to the music business.

Write on!  ~Marty


Marty Dodson
Multi-hit songwriter/Co-Founder of
Co-Author of the top-selling books  Song Building and The Songwriter’s Guide To Mastering Cowriting

105 thoughts on “How Do I Submit Songs As A Songwriter To The Music Business?

  1. Hey Marty,
    Very insightful information and I plan on going to your webpage to check out all that information as well. I have been writing songs for years, and I decided to finally record this song I wrote called “Rain” in a professional studio.” I have been told by numerous people that this song should be in a soundtrack for a tv show or a movie. You probably hear that all the time. 🙂
    I am wondering what your thoughts would be. If you have a chance to listen and give me a general idea if this is ready for a shot in tv or movies, please let me know. If you have any constructive ideas or thoughts, I would love to hear from your music professionalism.

    Thanks so much for taking the time and listen.


  2. Hello,
    I just had a small question. How do I go about with my lyric writing? I can not sing with a lick or play an instrument. But write that I can do. Is there any program’s or info fir that?

  3. Im 59- have kidney cancer and my wife of 17 years and two boys left me 3 months ago-Ive never written a song before but thought it might help with coping with this. i had a guy put some music to it and sing it- since then i have cleaned up the lyrics some- wish it would inspire someone to publish it

    1. Dear Curtis i heard your song and it was truely heart touching,emotional & inspirational. Please keep writing and posting your songs on youtube it will help . Also my prayers are with you and your family i am God will ensure you are happy and safe. God Bless You 🙏

    1. I too have an original song on YouTube and I’m needing some honest feedback before I try to post any others. It’s not perfect but I’ve got to start somewhere.

  4. I don’t consider myself a songwriter but a couple weeks back while sitting around the dinner table one member of my family (while speaking about another) said the phrase “only when she drinks”. I thought that was a great title for a song. Later that night I wrote a chorus for it. I texted it to my 17 year old daughter upstairs (because you know that’s how parents communicate with their kids these days). A few minutes later she sends my the first verse. I accepted her challenge and few minutes after that I wrote a second and third verse. I walked upstairs, our eyes met and we burst into laughter saying, “I think we wrote a song.” I didn’t want this special father/daughter moment to pass so I found a great singer/songwriter in Nashville and he put music to our lyrics and wrote a great song called “Only When She Drinks”. I would love to do something with this song, After all, there’s a great story behind it but this really isn’t my area of expertise. Any help would be appreciated. Thank you- Ron

  5. I have a song with a melody. Oddly, It’s came to me out of the blue. I had a music major tell me its good. I am not expecting to make a killing but it would be a proud moment to see my name on a music label. I think its a fun song. It could be a song for Garth Brooks or more up beat for Taylor Swift. I did get a copyright. Is there a site that takes links via email to listen to potential songs?

  6. With my lyrics, my goal is to inspire hope, encouragement, and joy. Sometimes, a song is all it takes! I want to be that songwriter!! I’ll be watching your videos!! Appreciate your inspiration!!

    1. I’ve written a song I want to pitch. But I’m no musician or no of any can I just send lyrics as a demo and how would I do that

      1. Hi Bobby,
        You could try something like Songwriterlink. You can team up and collaborate with someone who writes melodies. You can also network with other people which is very useful. I think it’s still free to join.

  7. Thanks for your comment. Money is something that we all must learn to except but yet understand and if most people who does make money learns how to negociate with it, I believe they will live long and set free.

  8. I am so stuck as to where I go at this point. I’m working with a guy and have completed several demos on Some of my songs. I started out taking piano and my teacher asked we one day do I write music .and he was shocked when I pulled a book of songs out of my bag. He was even more shocked when he heard some of my songs. I told him I hear the music in my head then the words come. I seem to be at work or driving and I hear music so I always keep a recorder near so I can hum the sound or the words. Some of these songs can be used forR&B, country and I write a lot of gospel music. It seems to flow so easily. Sometimes when I have my sessions with my teacher, I tell him to listen to this new song and he looks at me and say let’s finish these songs first but he can’t resist, he always listen and say I continue to surprise him. He believes I write songs that people would love. I believe that too, I didn’t when I kept my songs and what’s inside me hid for so long but I do now. So now I’m stuck yet again and don’t what steps I should take. It gets so frustrating because new music is still flowing every week in my head and I sing into a recorder and don’t know how to get it into the right hands. Any advice would be so helpful. Lynn Mallard

    1. Lynn, we work with and train a lot of writers. So we can definitely help. Some of our members have had success signing staffwriting deals and getting major artist cuts. Check out membership.

      Cheers, Clay

    2. good morning. my name is Sharon I want to write a song. about my mum she pass way last year October. 3rd . I want to sing loves Rock music and get out in the world. and sing and make a record how do I write a soing in Reggae can u get back to me many thanks or call me on 07472080344

      1. Sharon,

        I write songs released Albums with the stage name of Andy Anies. I also produce and studio engineer productions.

        Contact me with your need and I shall get it solved. Thanks

  9. This is great information! I forget and am so encouraged that you and many pro-writers have all heard that infamous word as well: “pass”…ugh….like nails on a chalkboard. Thanks for helping to put it all in perspective with the various pitches and the principles behind them.

  10. I have a few songs but i don’t have enough money to buy this i’m only 17 but I’ve been writing my own music for about 2 years now and I don’t know how this would sound to someone that has never met me so if there’s anyway anyone can help me please let me know.

  11. Hi,

    My name is Marius. I know you get probably letters like this every day, but please continue reading. In April this year had a life changing experience, I didn’t know what to do so I brought my thoughts on paper, first as a poem and then as lyrics for a song. I thought if the girl I love wouldn’t read my poems she would at least have to listen to them when it’s being played on the radio. Please find below a take out of a sample of the lyrics. I wrote 6 lyrics, 5 in English and one in French.

    Every night I cry a thousand tears
    Dreaming those dreams of hopes and fears
    Nothing can take this pain away
    I’ll love you every step of my way
    You’re the pilot of my destiny
    To love you will be my legacy

    I would be really interested in song writing and would appreciate your feedback and whether or not I could send you those lyrics and you could have a look at them.

    I’m looking forward hearing from xyou.

    My very best regards


    1. I think it’s good. Record the song if you can or if you know someone with a good voice (and you can trust) ask them to record it for you.

  12. Looking for someone who would be interested in recording this song I wrote. It can be found on YouTube “Crying in the Hands of Heaven #2”.

  13. I am 47 you, went through some serious struggles in life and have overcome so much. (I can’t believe I’m about to boldly open up here thru an internet comment forum). I’m not on social media, I’m just a normal housewife that has a tax and accounting practice with my husband. I’m teased that I’m going they a mid-life crisis at an early age of 47 – although the life I’ve lived seems like i should be 150. Anyway, I’m at a stagnant point in life questioning my every action and how I can give back or somehow help others who’ve overcome similar things I’ve over come – DV, DIV, No parents, etc etc. (sorry I get long winded but I promise I do have a point). About 9 months ago – August 30th to be exact- my mind was overwhelmed with thoughts and I couldn’t sleep. I sought out a counselor a few weeks later who advised I write my thoughts in a journal. So I did, but with fear and anxiety as if afraid someone was going to see my weakness. I’ve been writing in such an abstract way in fear of anyone finding my journals and finding out what EXACTLY I’m feeling. So I titled my journal – A Novel of People Thoughts. I guess I hoped they could apply it to so many situations so that they couldn’t figure out what was really going on in my mind. I was torn apart and devastated with blood boiling and curdling and anxiety setting in and I began sweating and became frantic when I learned that my personal journal was found and read without my permission. I tried so hard to be nonchalant about it like (oh that- yeah sentences I write down from tv shows on people’s thoughts. 🤥 . “Total lie is what it was”. But the feedback I got from my daughter was these could be beautiful songs as long as they didn’t think it was plagiarism. I cleared that up and said they’re my interpretation of what people said on tv. Anyway this happened last night and this morning I’m wondering how to figure out how to turn my journal entry into a song. I know absolutely nothing about how a song is formed or what the parts are or even what a music note is – but I do love all genres of music – I’d like to add that I shared my journal with my family last night and felt like what my family was doing to my “personal deep thoughts” was trying to make it a song. So I googled search “how do I turn my journal thoughts into a song?” And your website came up. I was amazed to see that what my family was doing last night is what you guys do. So…this is a real thing – I mean like this is how songs are made? People sitting around a table? Can I be a part of it or maybe I’m asking the wrong question, maybe I should be asking “ how can I be a part of it? I found my self alive and exhilarated by what took place last night as if it was an epiphany. My family were so engrossed in my writing and all had mixed feelings about what it means and it woke me up. Any suggestions on how I can be of service and provide that part of me to the song industry process? I don’t even know if this is how to go about this or if I’m barking up the wrong tree. I’m not tech savvy and don’t know all this social media face twit thing. I had a Facebook account once and discontinued because I didn’t understand it. My kids are saying just do YouTube but I interact better in talking to people. I appreciate your feedback and your time and consideration.

    1. There are sooo many independent songwriters around today, all trying to get a “piece of the music pie” and I’m one, probably a bit insane for chasing such an elusive dream. I set aside a very successful career as a fine artist to step back into writing and recording my music. I left the live music scene as a performer some years ago but the passion of music itself never left me.

      All that said, I don’t have any major music industry connections except for a couple of “passes” by publishers on some of my songs. Your best bet is to probably team up with a trusted songwriter and finding that is a challenge alone. As a seasoned musician, I’m not hungry, greedy or any of that and take great pride in what I do. I also work closely with another very talented songwriter and we’re both very good lyricists.

      The best advice I could give you is to first, have your “lyrics” set in poetic form with a commonly used rhyme scheme because that’s how nearly all song lyrics are structured. If you have any poems and would like some feedback, I’d be glad to take a few minutes to read them and provide some feedback, at least from my perspective as a songwriter. I’d also be glad to send you a song or two of mine so you can hear an example of what I do.

      Best regards,

      1. I have some lyrics that have been hiding in my diary for a long time, and I would appreciate it if you can take a look at it. I’m a noob by the way in songwriting.

        Please let me know where I could send it privately.


      2. I hsve two songs l have written and would like to see if you think they have potential. I am going to send thwm to you on my email address so please take a look and give me some feedback. I have backtracks for them but dont know how to send them to you.

        1. Hi Peggy, all our members get feedback from pro songwriters each month as part of memberships. we’d love to see ya inside the members area and work with you to improve your writing.

      3. I’ve written a song with lyrics. I want to know the further steps I need to perform in order to be known as a songwriter.

  14. Hi my name is Felicity Lee Barcus I am 15 years old i live in Boise idaho i am a songwriter am a singer even though i am not a very good one. i want to pursue the career as a Famous songwriter does anybody have any tips on how to get there?

  15. Hi Marty. I got a “This is a SMASH” from one of the ST song reviewers. I have not read all the reviews, but I’ve never seen SMASH – usually they say something like this is demo-worthy. I don’t have any pitching connections. Should I book a ST mentor session with say Clay Meyers? BTW, this song was created in the ST Retreat. Thanks!

  16. I have written the lyrics to my song, “King Gorilla Disco,” which is a campy song. I own the song, including music, that was written by a
    professional musician. I am a neophyte and need help. Does ASCAP need the title of this song. I am a member of ASCAP. Presently, it has been submitted to a disco radio station, which there was open communication, but since the song was delivered, have not heard anything. I need to know what I should do when I submit it to other radio stations. It is copyrighted. PLEASE HELP.

    1. well if you want to publish a song you need to see if it is a compleat song, meaning does it have verses, does it have a pre- chours does it have a chours, and does it have a bridge, and ending verses? those are the compleate parts of a song.

  17. Hello! I usually write songs in many genres such as pop, rock and rap but I don’t know to get connected to publishers. I record some *great* demos but I don’t know the requirements of a good demo to submit professionally! may you help?

  18. I have written lyrics for songs that a few people have read and encourage me to pursure obtaining info on finding out if I’m on to something. I don’t know how to go about finding out if this is something I should pursue and I need advice for the next steps. Thank you.

      1. Ok i have the same problem most people have. No Connections. My originals minus the music are great. I Can write lyrics but not music.

    1. Absolutely. SongTown has members and pros in all genres. Most of the basic rules of writing and pitching apply across the board.


  19. I have been a songwriter for over 40 years. I think my songs are as good as any I have heard. So do the people around me, but I haven’t a clue how to get them heard by the people who can get the recorded. I am by now an old man and I am not financially in a position to do it myself but my material is timeless and sage-filled. A lot of it tends to protest one thing or another, which lends itself to reflect my 60’s upbringing. I truly feel that if the right people could hear some of my songs they would catch on. My problem lies in the fact that both my wife and I are retired and disabled, and living on a fixed income. There are not enough nickels to go around.

  20. Hi I already wrote 4 songs. And I’ve been trying to find someone to look at them. And tell me if they are good or not.
    And if they have any tips for me. Because this is my first year of righting songs.

  21. I composed some sheet music for four instruments in the classical/easy listening genre. I have no way of ever making a recording of it myself. I’m sure it still needs plenty of improving, considering it is one of my first compositions. How do I turn these scraps of paper into something other people can hear? Do I send it to an artist, submit sheet music to a publisher…?

    1. Hi Rahab,
      Have you tried downloading Musescore ? It’s free. You can type your score into it and hear it played back. You can also export it as an MP3 file so that you can email it to other people. Make sure you have proof of copyright before you do, though.

  22. I have written lyrics for a contemporary Christian tune. I do not play an instrument, but I know the song should have a fast beat to it. Where do I go from here?


    1. Bert, when you join SongTown you have access to hundreds of members that collaborate on songs. By finding a co-writer for your song, you can see it through to completion and then start the process of getting your song heard.


      1. Hi,

        I met several great co-writers on Songtown. I wish I were still in ST…only being at the stage my songs sold would be better. One if the young co-writers I met has an album out. Three others have co-written songs that are impressive and the experience was fun, educational, and who knows- one or more songs could sell. For now, I write but am nit able to join ST just now for financial reasons. Go for it! Meet co-wruters and get gret pro advice.

  23. Hi,

    I am a 22 year singer-songwriter (and aspiring Producer) for many years, as a hobby, I used to write songs out of my head as a kid into notepads, then moved on to writing lyrics from instrumentals by other producers on youtube since I was 15. I been writing songs leaving them half done because I had moved on to the next one, I could say in the span of 2 years I worked on over 100 tracks and i can say less then 20% and less then 2% actually gets recorded, I done a track last year for a uni project and rushed the lyrics a bit but I do want a career in the music business as a artist, composer and writer however my confidence in my ability has massively plummeted though I haven’t had a bad review. I want to submit my work with a industry so i can work as a writer for them however I don’t know where or even how to speak to them when I do get the opportunity to send the my work

    1. Congrats on your dedication to writing Panashe. We set up SongTown so writers can make connections and advance their careers. It’s not easy but Songtown can help you learn to do the right things to get ahead.


  24. Clay,
    My wife and I sing and write southern and country gospel. We have wrote over 200 songs of which we have not pitched any of them. I am currently 76 and my wife 73 and would love to be able to get a selection to artists of those genres.
    I have one recitation song that has been a fan favorite for over 30 years and sold more cd’s than any song we have. How do I find the artist that is looking for that type song. It is based on a true story and will bring joy and tears to listeners. We feel it is time to seek artists to listen to some of our best songs.
    Thank you,

  25. “Hello, Clay , my name is lesah, 15 years ago I woke out of bed directed by a feeling so strong it compelled me to grab a sheet of paper and pencil.. I couldn’t stop writing , wrote then, what I thought was some words I would just toss away the next morning… when I was finished , I couldn’t believe what transpired on to the paper, set in a format such as music, the verses the bridge etc… beautiful a few hours later I was humming the words then singing the words , I never wrote anything or did anything like that before the next day I was at work and was humming and singing the lyrics I had thought I’d never think about again weirdly but serendipitously a man at the counter bar eating a burger said. Wow I love that song and don’t think I’ve ever heard it , is it new? It’s so catchy It already stuck in my head. I was blindsided by what came next I told him and by now a few other people were listening to that I wrote it last night and a few other ones and couldn’t go back to sleep until I had sung , he said I play guitar and would love to put that on a cd , so you get the how it happened .. in a basement with what he had he made with me a demo. Beautiful catchy couple of songs that were not made for then , but for now .. no matter who hears them they get stuck in their heads and I mean really really 2 hits without a doubt!! I’m not a singer but came out awesome to “get ” please tell me what to do Just a divorced mumma of four without any knowledge of what to do to get someone to seriously listen . Much appreciated . L.

  26. I am in the middle of writing lyrics at the moment, but I was wondering if I could get someone’s email so that I can send my lyrics in so they can get looked over if they are any good… Please message me back!!! Thank you so much and have a wonderful day!

    1. Faith, all SongTown members get feedback from pro songwriters on their songs each month. Once you join you can submit to the pro feedback forum on the website.

      Cheers, Clay

  27. Himy name is James Chasen I’m a songwriter keyboardist who write different styles of songs lately I’ve written several country song pop country soulful country an Traditional country songs I would like to send you some of my songs please contact me
    James Chasen

    1. Hey James, SongTown members get feedback from pro songwriters on their songs each month. Once you join you can submit to the pro feedback forum on the website.

      Cheers, Clay

  28. Hi,
    I only just started writing I believe some of my works are okay. However, I do not know how to fully accomplish the whole music thing because im still a noob. I want my lyrics to be looked at or even published but I don’t know how to still.

    1. Kai, SongTown members get feedback from pro songwriters on their songs each month. Once you join you can submit to the pro feedback forum on the website. You will also find writers to write with as well.

      Cheers, Clay

  29. Would you accept sheet music w/lyrics and an instrumental version? I don’t sing well and can’t afford a vocalist each time. Also, the sheet music is very simple – Like you find in music books. Chords (fretboards) over the melody instead of on a staff.

    1. Louis, many of our members collaborate. co-writing with someone that is good at singing could really help you in that area. ~Clay

  30. I write lyrics and the music. Do you deal with country gospel?
    Can I sent shorts on mp3?
    Thanks in advance.

    1. Nellie, I have personally written a Southern Gospel song of the year. We definitely can help with your writing in that arena.

      Cheers, Clay
      SongTown Co-founder

  31. Keith Urban should consider cutting a 4th Radney Foster tune “another way to go”. From that same album the song “again” is perfect for 90’s era Aerosmith.

  32. I have written some songs. But I am not a singer but would like somone to tell me if they are good enough.

      1. So you say you have no pro feedback. How will someone know if they really good?
        Do you roughly listen to everyone who sent tracks?

        1. Connie, we teach our members the business side of pitching songs. When you join we have a course that you can watch to get you going. CM

  33. hi
    i’m Jean i’m writing for while and i believe i’ve been written some great work but i don’t know how to connect with a publisher is that any advice you can give me on that?

    1. Yes, our SongTown members have access to Pro Publishers and can book mentoring sessions any time to play them songs.

      Cheers, Clay

      1. I write Christian/Gospel music and wondered if a pro could listen to them and let me know if they are recordable to sell?

  34. Hey Marty thank you for sharing priceless insight. I look forward to networking and writing some grest songs..I have a link to a song we recorded live in 04..My first drum tracks and working on a new album.Love to hear some feed back..Thank you for your time and what you guys do for musicians like myself. Peace

  35. Do you have a suggestion on how I can get a meeting with a writers’ rep at my PRO? Because I’ve tried, without success, to do that for three years. I contact them every 3 months or so just trying to set up a meeting. I’m not looking for them to personally connect me with co-writers or publishers, I politely ask if I could meet with them, get some general advice. But not only have I never gotten a meeting, my emails don’t even get replied to. It’s frustrating.

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