As in any business, your reputation and the impression that you make is a big part of a successful career in songwriting. Being well-respected and taken seriously as a songwriter will, in time, open doors and lead to work that will get your songs to a wider audience and generate income as well. However, as with almost everything in music, building this reputation takes time and conscious effort. Below, Cliff Goldmacher shares several things you can do to begin building your all-important reputation as a songwriter.
1. Write quality material
Writing consistently good songs takes lots of practice. Don’t let the myth that “all you need is one good song” distract you from working on improving your songwriting every day. I’m of the belief that songwriting is a muscle that needs to be constantly worked in order to stay strong.
2. Present your songs professionally
Music industry professionals hear a lot of songs every day. Don’t give them a reason to discount your songs by pitching a poorly recorded or tentatively performed demo. Put your best foot forward by presenting not only a well-written song but one that is professionally produced.
3. Develop your people skills
Your best bet for finding a receptive industry audience for your work is to remember that interpersonal skills count. Being friendly and taking an active interest in the people you’re meeting makes a big difference. If you’re interested in a publishing deal, go hear some of the writers already signed to that company. Find out what kinds of material they’re writing.
4. Take criticism well
If you’re hoping to get one of your songs recorded or used in a TV show or movie, then listening to the comments of the publisher, A&R exec or music supervisor about your work can give you real insight into what they’re looking for. Responding defensively to these comments won’t get you anywhere. You certainly don’t have to agree with every criticism but it’s in your best interest to give the comments real thought and consider where they’re coming from.
5. When pitching songs, remember that “less is more” on every level
I understand how passionate songwriters are about their material. It’s incredibly tempting to want to show any interested person A LOT of your material. Don’t. Only present the song that is most appropriate for the pitch. Believe me when I tell you that if a publisher or label exec wants to hear more of your songs, they’ll ask.
6. Be dependable
It’s essential for people in the industry to know that they can count on you to do what you say you’re going to do. By showing up to meetings on time, following up on things you’ve discussed, and generally being reliable, you can go a long way towards developing a bond of trust. When people in the music business feel they can trust you, it’s amazing how many opportunities present themselves