How Do I Submit A Song As A Songwriter?

 

There seems to be a lot of confusion out there over the question “How do I submit a song?”. The truth of the matter is that there is no one way to “submit” a song. 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.

Educational submissions.

These are “safe” ways to submit a song 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.

Pitches 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 type setting. Otherwise, you are wasting their time. Pitching 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 pitch that publisher something he or she might like. 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.

Pitching for 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. He 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 pitching 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 the song can sound to something that would be on the radio, the better your chances will be. If you have a simple ballad, you might 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. 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 on up the ladder. If you get a “WOW” response in the Pro Feedback forum, book a mentoring session with our pro publisher. If 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.

Write on!  ~Marty

marty-doson-songtown-small

Marty Dodson
Co-Founder Songtown/Songwriter/Corporate Trainer

55 thoughts on “How Do I Submit A Song As A Songwriter?

  1. 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.

  2. 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?

  3. 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!

  4. 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.

  5. 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?

  6. 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.

      Clay

  7. 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.

  8. 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.

  9. 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…?

  10. 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?

    Thanks,
    Bert

    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.

      Clay

  11. 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.

      Clay

  12. 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,
    Gene

  13. “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.

  14. 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

  15. 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
    Thanks
    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

  16. 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

  17. 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

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

    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

  19. 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.

  20. 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

  21. 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?

  22. 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
    BK

  23. 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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