The Truth About Pitching Songs (Revised 2021)

the truth about pitching songs

 

One of the biggest areas in which Clay and I see songwriters being scammed is in the area of pitching songs.  There are untold numbers of services that will GLADLY take your money to “pitch your song”.  But here is the truth about pitching songs…

There are two big reasons that this pitching songs arena is full of sharks:

  • You have no way of knowing if they ever really pitch your song.
  • You want a cut so bad you’ll believe anyone who says they love your song.

 

Guess who loves your songs most (other than you and your mom)?  Scammers.  Why?  Because they know they can get you to fork over some dollars for that song, even if it doesn’t have a chance of getting cut.  Even if they have no real connection to the artist at hand or if they have never gotten a song recorded.  Sometimes the artist isn’t even looking for songs.  All they have to do is tell you that they love your song and your wallet falls open.

So, how do you keep the wallet safe and avoid wasting your money?  By understanding how the business works.  And by doing some homework.

The truth about pitching songs: More important things to know…

  • In the real music business, we pitch songs to artists, producers, managers and A&R people.

 

That’s about it.  We don’t pitch to publishers.  Why?  Because the job of a real publisher is to get songs cut for their company, not for you.  So, if you pitch a song to a publisher for Darius Rucker, there’s only one possible, but highly improbable good outcome.  That one unlikely possibility is that the publisher says “This song is better for Darius Rucker than any other of the songs in my catalog, even the ones my writers wrote WITH Darius – so I’m going to pitch it to Darius and give this writer a single song contract.”

How often do you think that happens?  Not very often.  Almost never.

If you pitch a song through an online pitch service and you get an e-mail back from a PUBLISHER saying it’s “Perfect for Luke Bryan”, you’ve likely been scammed.  You want pitch services that are pitching to artists, producers, managers and A&R people – not publishers.

Most artists are not continually looking for songs.

It’s important to know WHEN an artist is recording and WHEN they finish their project.  If an online pitch services is claiming they need songs for Katy Perry and you know that Katy just finished a new record, then you’re probably being scammed.  The scammers count on you NOT knowing what is going on.  That’s how they prey on you.  Check the SongTown pitch sheet, or another reliable pitch sheet and find out when people are recording.  See how the truth stacks up to the reports of people wanting to charge you to pitch your song.  If they are looking for songs for projects that are finished, they just want your money. This is another good read for submitting songs to the music industry.

People who REALLY believe in your song won’t charge you to pitch it.

Instead, they will want to get in business with you – sign you to a single song deal, develop you as a writer, or even just pitch it to help you out and develop a relationship with you.  Clay and I pitch songs fairly often just to help people out. People who don’t believe in your song so much want money on the front end, because they know that’s all they’re likely to get.  People who believe in you invest in you long term.  Scammers want a dollar right now before you figure out that they really can’t help you.  There are independent song pluggers who pitch your whole catalog for a monthly retainer.  IF they are legit, then this can be a good deal.  Otherwise, most of the “Pay to pitch” services just want your money.  Sad, but true.

Check up on ANYONE you are going to pay to pitch your songs.

Don’t go by their website or by what they tell you.  If they are scammers they will lie to your face.  Ask around to see if other people have been pleased with them and had success with them.  Check to see how accurate and current their listings are.

Even with the legit services, like Taxi, you have to send them a song that fits the pitch perfectly.

They can’t risk their reputation by sending a weak song that doesn’t fit the pitch on to the artist.  The responsibility is on YOU to make sure you aren’t wasting your money by sending songs that aren’t ready to be pitched or that don’t fit the pitch.  It pays in the long run to get your songs evaluated by pros BEFORE you pitch them anywhere.

Don’t give the scammers your money.  Educate yourself and make smart choices.  You don’t want to be shark bait!

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

18 thoughts on “The Truth About Pitching Songs (Revised 2021)

  1. Hey Marty
    Love your articles! Is there a “list” of reputable pluggers out there? I’m a past Nashville songwriter and had pub deals etc. I was scammed years ago by a so called “reputable” plugger and caught him in a lie! Got my money back! As I don’t live in Nashville and I know how tough it really is and the politics involved any recommendations? Thanks for your time!

  2. This is undoubtedly the best article to
    have been written. Many of us can write
    lyrics but we have no partner to write a
    melody. This is where we hit a brick wall.
    This is where chances are taken with the
    companies who promise music tracks, etc.
    There are a lot of song poems going by
    the wayside as well as good talent being
    wasted.

    1. Hi, the better approach is to co-write songs with music people. Most of our SongTown members co-write and they are relationships built on mutual talent and not money.

      CM

  3. Great advice Marty! I’ve written several songs, lyrics only. These songs were written about my experiences, in the moment, that many can relate to. How/where do I find a top songwriter to take a look to see if they’re interested in putting them to music?
    Btw I’m Candy’s friend.

  4. Is there a procedure in ST where standard members can pay on a per song basis to have their song evaluated and if deemed pitch-worthy, have it pitched by ST?

    1. Our Edge groups allow you to target write for an artist and play for publisher feedback each month. killer songs will be pitched.

      Clay

  5. In the valley of the blind the one eyed GIANT rules. Yes there are sharks in this music business but sharks are every where. I am a signed songwriter in the UK, very early on when I was 17 years old I was introduced to a TOP BBC Disc Jockey through my sister who was an Air Hostess at the time. He actually telephoned me and arranged to meet me at a music publishers office in the West end of London. I was late for the appointment. The DJ told me your late and you’ve just missed Neil Diamond. I wanted Neil to hear your songs. He introduced me his friend the publisher and said Johnny will take care of from now on. So I say to you all rising songwriters. Pound the pavements look for top music publishers make appointments. and don’t waste their time by being an amateur. Be a Pro and spend money on your productions to make them BROADCAST quality. This is how you will be judged. Check out music organizers, producers etc. Be polite always and rewrite those lyrics. Song books say WORDS and music NOT THE OTHER WAY ROUND. Believe in yourself and make your songs believable, then others will believe in you also. Good luck be with you and never quit what you love. Don’t listen to the dream stealers.

  6. I have some amazing songs. excellent lyrics. I have had a couple of deals – but my publisher wants to play it really safe and only look for potential chart material with strong hooks and positive lyrics. – It is very difficult to place a song with an artist if you are unknown. I signed with TAXI for a while and got some very good critiques but no actual deals. my demos are well produced in my home studio. I use Band in a Box..but sometimes the publishers want industry-standard radio-ready tracks . This Nashville thing is surely only helpful for country and Western songs am I right?

  7. Marty Working with music for my lyrics.com site . Chas is creating notes and melody for my lyrics,I Iike. He said some clients have had luck using Taxi pitching songs. Have some advice Marty I’am asking ?

  8. Hi Marty and Clay:

    Only two questions.

    1. What major artists and songs did you get cuts with for songwriters?

    2. How do you get paid for your work?

    Thanks,

    Frank Bruno

  9. HI YOU ALL YA I JUST SIGNED A PITCHING AGREEMENT FOR ONE YEAR 2 SONGS DIDNT PAY THAT MUCH BUT YOUR RIGHT IF SONGS STRONG ENOUGH SHOULD BE NO MONEY OR IF SOMEONE WANTS TO PITCH CAUSE THEY LOVE IT WELL LET YOUR SONG DO THE TALKING AND THERE LOVE DO THE WALKING KEEP WRITING WRITING AND MORE WRITING

  10. Ricky we have a great group of melody writers who are members in SongTown. I suggest co-writing. And also you can book mentoring sessions with top publishers on SongTown Website.

    CM

  11. I agree with Glen 💯, if your song is that good, there really shouldn’t be any money coming out of your pocket besides what it took you to write it, and at least what it takes to get it put together on a demo. I feel where there is a will there is a way, and it’s possible to get it presentable at a low cost. If it’s that good it will make sense to the right people.

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