Being passionate about your songwriting is, without a doubt, both a blessing and a curse.
On the “blessing” side, you’ve discovered something you’re really inspired to do, and you can’t wait for the world to hear your music. However, on the “curse” side, it’s all too tempting to toss common sense out the window in your quest to enlist the support of music industry decision-makers in getting your songs heard.
If you want to not only get industry recognition for your music but also make a good impression and have a long-term career, here are a few guidelines to follow.
1. First and foremost, do your homework.
Having someone ask you for help when they clearly don’t know what your role in the music industry is can be confusing, if not annoying, from the industry’s perspective. If you’re going to approach a busy industry professional for assistance, at the very least learn what they do and confirm that it relates to what you’re asking.
For example, asking a booking agent if they can help you place your song in a film demonstrates that you are unfamiliar with their job or the larger picture of how the business operates. By the way, I’m not saying you should know everything about how the industry works, but if you truly don’t know what someone does, you could simply ask them about their job and what it entails before approaching them for assistance.
2. Telling someone your music is a “hit” is a bad idea.
Confidence in one’s work is a wonderful thing. It’s necessary, in fact. However, there is a difference between the quiet faith of songwriters who have learned their craft and understand where their songs fit into the bigger picture of the music industry, and the noisy, fake confidence of the novice. Telling someone in the industry that you’ve “written a hit” would mark you as an amateur faster than anything else. To begin with, even hit songwriters have no idea which of their songs will become hits, and, more importantly, the only way to know if a song is a hit is when it becomes one. To put it another way, have faith in your songs but don’t boast about them. It’s pointless, and it always results in negative consequences. It’s pointless, and it always accomplishes the opposite of your goals.
3. Remember to express appreciation.
On a personal note – and while we’re on the subject of tossing common sense out the window – it amazes me how much I react to someone’s email request for assistance just to never hear from them again. I understand that learning the music industry can be overwhelming and that there is always something new to learn, but a simple thank you in response to a question answered goes a long way. View this rule as a friendly reminder that music industry professionals are more than mere vehicles for achieving personal success.
Reaching out to professionals in the music industry can be both exciting and intimidating. Finally, we’re both playing the same game and can help each other advance. When you call, email, or otherwise meet with someone in the music industry, keep the above common-sense guidelines in mind. You’ll have a much better chance of not only getting what you want, but also making a good impression.
Best of luck!