Music Business

5 Reasons A Publisher Will Want A Copy Of Your Song

by Marty Dodson
Dec 31, 2016

There are a number of things that could cause a publisher to request a copy of your song.  Knowing what those reasons are can up your chances of success.  In my experience, these are the top five reasons publishers request to keep a copy of a song:

They already have a good connection that they think would like your song.

The easier you make the publisher’s job, the better your chances.  For instance, if you have a song that would be a great pitch for Demi Lovato, it would be a good idea to get her last couple of CDs and see which publishers show up more than once on her album.  Then, do a little research and see who works at that publisher.  Maybe you discover that “Little Lady Bug Music” shows up a lot and that Susan Smith works there.  You met Susan at a songwriter event last year and got her card.  So, you call Susan and ask to send her one song for Demi.  She’s already had success with Demi and by connecting the dots, you have given yourself a good chance at getting your song to Demi.  Knowing who a publisher has had success with in the past can help you decide which publisher to approach and what to play them. Pitch smart and you have a better chance.

They don’t already have what you pitched them in their catalog.

The publisher might not have an immediate pitch or placement in mind for your song, but it might fit something that they frequently get requests for and don’t have.  So, let’s say you find out that a publisher only has male writers.  You have a couple of great female uptempo songs.  Pitching those might be a good bet because the publisher probably has a huge catalog of songs that are written for male artists.  Again, doing a little homework can help you succeed.

The publisher thinks your song is a hit.

Most publishers get excited when they hear a really well crafted song that they could hear being on the radio – even if they can’t get it cut right away.  Blowing a publisher away with a well crafted song opens many doors.

The publisher hears “promise” in your writing.

I got my first publishing deal before I had written any hit songs.  But, my publisher felt like I was writing some fresh, creative songs and that I could learn how to make them more commercial.  That is not as common these days, but it does happen. Fresh ideas, fresh lyrics and fresh melodies are the key to impressing a publisher in this regard.

Your song connects with the publisher personally.

Not long ago, a friend and I wrote a song called “You Think You Got Time” about life being really short to get in everything you want to do.  One of the pluggers at my co-writer’s publishing company had recently survived a horrible health scare and we thought he wasn’t going to make it.  My friend made a special point to play him our song and it became his favorite new song.  He made it his mission to try and get it cut.  Why?  It touched him emotionally.  He had lived it.  Learn about publishers you are meeting with and find songs in your catalog that will touch them.

Any time you get to meet with a publisher, do lots of research.  Learn everything you can about the company and the person you are meeting with.  Knowledge puts you at the head of the line.

Write on! ~Marty

Marty Dodson

Marty Dodson

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

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