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”. There are two big reasons that this 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. Even if they have never gotten a song recorded. Even if the artist isn’t 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.
Here are some important things to know about pitching songs:
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.
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. People who scam you 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!