Have you ever sought effortlessly on the internet for answers to do with certain areas in the Music Industry? Well I know I have, and recently one of our members approached our CEO Jon Skinner regarding their frustration in having a finished clean cut demo but not knowing exactly what to do with it. With some recording/publishing companies accepting unsolicited material and others not, what is the best way to get unsolicited music heard? What should you consider before approaching an A&R agent? And what steps should be taken when you feel pretty much “ready”?
We sat Jon down with some questions from our member to help bring clarity to this broad issue.
What would be a good starting point for a songwriter with regards to getting songs heard?
Collaboration and building a network is key. If you don't perform it, it’s still best to get a demo recording of your songs. Ensure you have a set up at home as it's affordable and a fundamental part of writing. Connect locally to other writers, co-writing is not only inspirational it's a learning curve and provides a safe house for critique and feedback.
So once you feel you have a song worthy of performance the best way to get unbiased feedback is asking someone to learn it and perform it locally.
What is the expected quality of a demo and would a piano and vocal recording be something which could catch somebody's ear?
It depends on your goal, a stripped back piano or acoustic vibe is good clean and simple. If you are looking to place a song with an established artist then you will need something pretty close to a finished production ready to release.
How has the industry changed over the years for songwriters and how can I adapt to these changes?
In my opinion not much has changed for songwriters in respect of the process, there's more opportunity than ever to connect to the right people in the biz to make things happen. The internet provides a wealth of understanding about writing and the process. Music Gateway helps level this playing field by funneling talent though to those with a need. Are there any good alternative routes I can take, and how could I approach taking them? (eg Film, TV, Adverts etc) Getting placements is very hard work and very competitive. Trying to build relations yourself is very time consuming and expensive - Again this is where we come in bridging the gap between creatives and supervisors.
Whats kind of "Music Industry Professional" would it be wise to get to know?
All depends on your aim. The key ones of course are label and publishing A&R, Heads of music and Music supervisors.
Are there any steps I can take to make it more likely that a publisher will listen to my demo over others?
Why do you need a publisher? Publishers normally look at traction, syncs and or cuts by the writer. By co-writing with others that are managed or published naturally you create an environment for yourself to be introduced to that publisher. Look at yearly rolling admin deals, don't jump on your first offer and get legal advice through Music Gateway before signing.
For more industry secrets, keep any eye out on our blog. If you'd like to connect with industry other proffesionals to get your music demo ready be sure to sign up today and create a project.