I have had a rough week.. After feeling exhausted, rehabbing from knee surgery and traveling, my back (or rather hip flexor) decided it had enough and started to spasm, so bad that I could not move or be left alone. Ever had that happen? It is THE WORST! Luckily I have a network, a community of friends and family that took me to the doctors and took care of me.
What does this have to do with Pay to Pitch you ask? Well the key words are "Network" & "Community” There are many opinions on the pay to pitch model, some are really against it, even some music supervisors. It is not truly how the business works, but it CAN work if you understand it and do it right. Most of my connections to publishers and supes have been formed through the pay to pitch model. In this blog I am going to give you what has worked for me, and my opinion on the topic. I am not going to name any company names. If you would like to ask me about my experience with certain companies please feel free to contact me. When I was first starting out, I had no connections. ZERO. I had no idea where to start. I was learning about song writing in Nashville, taking workshops, writing for myself and didn't know much about the Licensing world. So for me, I started out with the Pay to Pitch model. These guys had the contacts right?? I would get on the fast track, right?? Well, it depends. Some places did me know good because I didn't have the knowledge to pitch strategically & some of the listings were bogus. So here are some things you should look for in a Pay to Pitch model:
What you DO want:
Cheap Submission Fees
Communication with successful members
Yearly conferences where you can meet with publishers/supervisors posting the listings
Feedback for why the songs were not chosen or forwarded
Timely response to listing submissions
Training/blogs/ ability to meet collaborators
Well crafted listing describing in detail what is needed, including song examples
What you DO NOT want:
Sites that promote contests as their attractor
Extra fees tagged onto submissions (submission fee, + site fee + song review fee)
Bells & Whistles like crowd & peer reviews, song popularity tracking etc.
Forums are great ways to communicate with members, see if the site is legit, ask if songwriters are getting placements & deals etc. Once you determine that songwriters have had success, you can they try submitting to a few listings. Be sure that your songs are targeted for the listing. The closer you are to the listing description, the better the chances you have for it getting sent on to the listing party. Make sure your songs are broadcast quality, have universal lyrics and are structured for Film&TV. (See my previous blogs for more info) This is key to your success with the pay to pitch model.
Sending songs in Willy Nilly in to any listing that sounds just a bit close to your song, will waste your money and your time.
Ideally, the pay to pitch company hosts yearly conferences either for free with membership or at a fee. This is where the magic happens. Let's say you get a song sent on from one of the pay to pitch listings. This person contacts you wanting your song, you say "HELL YEAH" (after checking the deal) . Next you exchange some emails and send a few more songs, then you arrange to meet at the conference. BOOM! This person now knows you and will be contacting you directly when they want new songs. Also on forums and at these conferences you meet other like-minded songwriters, you collaborate, you submit, you get introduced to their contacts, you get more songs signed and more songs placed!
Of course you can make these connections via conferences alone as well as other methods that I will talk about in my next blog. But you want to try and choose smaller conferences where you can establish relationships directly with the people who can place your music. Be sure that the conferences have pitching sessions. Most conferences are not free, can take time out of your schedule, and you may only be able to afford one a year. Paying to Pitch a song , to the right listing, can jumpstart these connections for you. Once you have the connections then you can wean yourself off of Pay to Pitch model or be more selective
Sites that promote bells & whistles like contests, crowd reviews etc., are just a waste of your money and a time sink IMO. If I want a review of a song for a listing, I can post it on a forum, post the listing as well, and ask for feedback, all for free. I don't care about a popularity contest, I care if it is right for the listing. Contests are fun, and you can win some stuff, but if it is associated with a pay to pitch site, I feel like that method is just trying to persuade you to submit and to keep submitting to listings that may not be legit and your song goes into the abyss never to be heard from again.
My early placements have initially come from getting songs forwarded from pay to pitch listings. After signing the songs and establishing relationships with the publishers, I was able to start sending them songs directly.
So don't poo poo pay to pitch. It was a vehicle for me to get this ball rolling and it can be for you if you do it right!
Until Next Time!- Michelle
Register for my Licensing workshop on Dec 5th in Maryland!: Licensing Workshop
- Michelle is a multi award winning songwriter with placements in Reign, The Fosters, Benched, Longmire, American Chopper, The Hustlers, GearHeads (Theme song) and more
Michelle Lockey is a multi-award winning singer-songwriter sharing the knowledge she has learned over the years writing for Film & TV.
Like what you are reading? Please Sign up to receive a FREE Music Licensing checklist! 10 Steps to Sync Success