Monday, July 25, 2011

Song Writing Agents

            If you are at the point where you have your songs ready to be pushed to a record label or publishing company, you are going to want to find a songwriting agent. Most publishing companies or record labels won’t take unsolicited material. That means unless a representative or agent is bringing them the songs, they won’t look at them. In a sense for the record and publishing companies, it acts like a filter. If the agent doesn’t deem you worthy, why would the publisher or record label?
            Before you begin you need to have good recordings of your songs. You’ll also need to write a query letter to the agent telling them who you are, what you do, and why you are writing them. Most importantly, you need to make sure you own all the copyrights to your music or have licenses for any borrowed material that your music contains. There is a whole process to doing so. But what is more important is that you understand what a songwriting or music agent does.
            Independent A&R representative Zane Tobin has an explanation as to what he does with music that is submitted. In Zane Tobin's page, he explains what he does and what he needs from the artist. Essentially he requests MP3’s and pictures and bios if you are a band. If you aren’t a band and are a songwriter only, you don’t need a photo because the image isn’t really important. If he approves of your music, which he will listen to for free, he will then shop your music around to publishers or record labels for a monthly fee. This fee lasts as long as you want it to or until you get signed.
            Finding the people you want to represent you depends on what genre you are writing for. I’m spending much more of my time writing “art music” which would require me to find a composer representative. Columbia Artist Management Inc., or CAMIis another good place to find or contact people who represent artist. Most of their artists are classical performers or people that work outside the vernacular or popular music world. The webpage shows what artists they represent. The Songwriter Agency is another webpage that also shows what artists they represent, what genres they work in, and also gives you a contacts page, which provides you with information on how to contact the agents that work there.
            So in order to get your music pushed to the big publishers and record labels, you’ll need to do a few things. First you’ll need to write have good demos of your music recorded. You don’t need a lot, just 3-4 of you better works. You’ll also need to find a songwriting agent or some type of A&R representative. Make sure before you send them material that they work in the genre you write for or accept any kind of genre. Next, write them a query letter and package it with your demo CD, bio, experience and anything else they might require from you. Don’t forget to make sure you own all the copyrights to the material you submit. Remember that if you don’t get accepted at one place, doesn’t mean you won’t at another. Have back up plans ready.

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