Top 6 Tips for How to Sell Your Songs to Record Labels

By Tiara Ogabang

You have songs, labels need them. Make it happen!

Almost all record labels have divisions that are dedicated to helping develop music for the labels artist roster.

While bigger labels have in-house teams that are dedicated to this task, small and medium levels may be interested in buying songs that can then be recorded by their artists.

Despite the fact that there may be many different record labels that may be looking for songs for their artists at any given time, it can be difficult to find exactly how to reach them.

We've created this guide to help you understand your options when it comes to selling your songs to record labels. We hope that this will help you on your journey to becoming a professional songwriter who works with all sorts of artists on all sorts of different labels.

Tip 1: Know who to contact

It probably isn't going to be enough to just randomly send songs to a record label as general contact box.

Instead, spend some time researching exactly who at the label would be the best person to contact regarding your songs.

With a little bit of research, you may find exactly who to contact. One message sent to the right person, such as an A&R executive, will be better than 100 messages sent to the wrong people or no one person in particular.

Tip 2: Make your demos shine

These days, with the rise of brilliant home recording technology, it doesn't have to cost an arm and a leg to produce really polished demos that can give people a good idea of what the finished product will sound like.

It can be much easier for a record label or employee or executive to understand exactly what your song is doing and how it may flatter a particular artist if they can hear a fully fleshed out demo that sounds at least a little bit like a finished song.

Don't be afraid to team up with a competent music producer to help with your demos. You may find that this is a difference-maker in getting people to listen to what you have to share with them.

Tip 3: Find like-minded collaborators

Writing songs can be a lonely affair, but obviously for most songwriters they work just fine in an isolated environment.

That said, there can be quite a few benefits derived from collaborating with other songwriters.

If you find people you work well with, it may end up that your songwriting output may double or even triple.

You may find that the results of your songs improve drastically with another person or other people who help you write. This can improve the odds that you create an awesome song is undeniably catchy.

Tip 4: Have a massive catalog

You may only have one shot to impress a label executive when it comes to your song catalog. Most of the time, executives expect songwriters to have a big catalog full of options when it comes to choosing songs for their artists.

Don't blow your chance by only having one or two songs that you can stand behind. If the label executive doesn't like the few songs that you have, they will be likely to just move on and never give you a second chance.

Have a massive catalog ready to go so that you can impress someone at a record label as soon as you're given the chance.

Having a variety of songs to choose from is going to impress people, if every time a label executive asks "can you show me something else?" you actually have something else, it will be difficult for them to deny your talent as a songwriter.

Tip 5: Improve your online visibility and reputation

First inclination of anybody at a record label who receives an email or message from you, it's going to be to Google your name and see what shows up.

Things like a good professional looking website, interviews and appearances in music blogs, a social media presence... These are all ways to impress label executives and demonstrate to them that you are in fact a talented and notable songwriter.

Business people in the music industry may be unlikely to take a risk on buying your songs if you don't have an extensive track record as a songwriter.

Or specifically, if your track record as a songwriter isn't visible online (even if you have a track record) they may think that you're inexperienced and not pay you much mind.

Work on improving your online reputation and visibility and make sure that this isn't a reason that you're passed on by someone at a record label when it comes to selling your songs.

Tip 6: Patience is a virtue

Don't be discouraged if you don't receive responses from label executives overnight. Convincing someone had a record label to buy your songs and have their artists record said songs can be a long-term game.

Don't exhaust yourself over one weekend and think that you'll start to see results right away. It's better to do a little bit every day, to ensure that you are reaching out to a lot of different people.

Tip 7: Make sure you're copyrighting everything!

We don't necessarily want to scare you, but rest assured that we have heard horror stories about songwriters who have contacted supposedly interested labels only to find out that their songs were effectively stolen by songwriters at the label.

These artists almost always never have their songs copyrighted, and the result is that it's very difficult to claim ownership of the songs by the time the label commandeers them.

Most labels are honest and wouldn't do something like this, but is going to pay massive dividends in the long run if you ensure that you are copyrighting everything.