The music industry has changed greatly in the past few years, but hit songs are still a must-have for record labels that want to push their artists into the mainstream.
Many of you song riders out there are probably aware that record labels typically have teams of songwriters collaborate on what I hope will be the next hit single that can propel their artists to stardom.
The reality is that record labels still rely on talented songwriters to do most of the heavy lifting when it comes to music creation. Songwriters, in addition to producers and recording engineers, are constantly in high demand, whether the label is big or small.
While the ultimate goal for most songwriters is to become a full-time songwriter at a major label, songwriters who are just starting out cam still sell songs and lyrics to record labels who are interested in having an artist record the track.
We created this guide to help you understand your options when it comes to selling your lyrics to record labels.
Keep in mind that the tips and strategies you see here are the only ways to get in touch with record labels. But, if you're looking for some quick tips to help you get started on your journey to becoming a professional songwriter, read on.
While you can for sure sell just your lyrics to a record label, note that it can be helpful if you collaborate with a music producer who can help create a demo track that record label executives can listen to.
While imagining a finished song may be easy for you as a lyric writer, for people who are just in the music business, it may be difficult for them to realize the potential of your lyrics if there is no accompanying music.
You are just a lyricist, no problem, there are plenty of producers who aren't songwriters themselves who would love to have a talented lyricist help them work on some demos.
This isn't a totally necessary step, but something to keep in mind if you're having trouble finding labels interested in buying your lyrics.
One of the best ways to sell your lyrics to record labels is to contact one of the labels artists directly. Depending on the label and on the artist, the artist may have quite a bit of say in the type of music and the songs that the label will put out and promote.
Typically, Labels are at least somewhat receptive in hearing out what their artists want to record. After all, a happy artist is much more likely to put out good, exciting music than an artist who is unhappy with the creative direction their career is going.
If you develop relationships with artists that you admire and think would be interested in recording your songs, you may be able to skip contacting the label directly all together.
By having an artist that admires your songs communicate with the label directly, you'll save yourself a lot of headaches and trying to find the right person to hear you out.
You can't reach out to Travis Scott on Instagram and expect a response. Similarly reaching out to artist who have already made it big and who likely have teams of songwriters working on their behalf for time and around the clock isn't a good way to start building relationships.
The reality is that you will need to work with artists who are still on the come up who could make use of great songs.
This doesn't mean the artist you have to work with need to be totally fresh or without a fanbase. There are plenty of mid-tier artists who will be very receptive to a talented songwriter reaching out to them with a track that they think will be perfect just for the artist.
In fact many of these artist may be flattered, and if they are impressed by your songs, they may want to make collaborating with you a regular thing.
Don't hesitate to reach out to your favorite artist that you want to collaborate with on social media. You would be surprised as to how many artists are actually constantly checking their DM's, and if you send the right message at the right time you may just get a response.
Don't bother sending messages via generic contact boxes that appear on the contact page of most record labels websites.
You can do this as a last resort, but don't be surprised if you never hear back from anyone at the label if you only use this means of contact.
The much better way to sell your lyrics to a record label is to find someone at the label who is directly responsible for helping artists record their music.
An executive of A&R for example, is likely to have a hand in helping artists figure out what songs to record and release.
If you get in touch with this representative at the label, using something like rocket Rich, you'll save yourself a lot of weight time and delay.
People are much more likely to respond when they see that an email is specifically for them then when they see an email sent to a generic inbox.
In all industries, but especially the music industry, being persistent can pay big.
Don't be afraid to follow up on emails that you send to label representatives, if you don't hear from them in about a week or 10 days, it's totally fine to send follow up messages asking if they have received the message or are interested in discussing further with you.
Don't mistake being persistent with being annoying or belligerent – if people begin to feel like you are a costing them digitally, they aren't going to want to respond to you, and in fact, may actively avoid you.
Be persistent and consistent, but avoid being belligerent.
You may have the most amazing song anyone has ever heard, or the most heart wrenching lyrics that can bring any casual music listener to tears.
It could be that basically every single record label out there would be interested in buying your lyrics and songs if the timing is right.
But the unfortunate reality is that, even if you contact the right person at the right label, they may be too preoccupied with something else going on to ever get back to you.
Maybe they had a problem with their email and your message went directly to their spam box for example.
There are 1,000,001 things that are out of your control, so don't be discouraged if you do your research, are persistent, and still don't hear back from anybody. Timing is everything, which means that finding the right fit to sell your lyrics may take a number of tries.
Don't be discouraged and keep at it!