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Friday, April 15, 2011

Getting Your Music Heard pt 2 - "Research The Industry"

Whenever possible, try to find out from the artist's producer, manager or record company if there's a change in the artist's direction. If you're pitching for a new artist, get information from those same sources or find a tip sheet. If you're pitching yourself to record companies as a self-contained artist or group, it's more complex.

The same no-unsolicited-material policies exist here too. You're much better off if you have some performing experience. All the better if you've got good reviews, have been on the road and are used to traveling. Record companies want a band or performer to have been field-tested, if not test-marketed regionally with some success. If they're going to risk (in the case of the major labels) at least half a million dollars to record and market you nationally, they want to know you can handle it.

In this situation too, you need to research the names of companies, producers, managers and A&R reps who know how to market the artists/groups in your musical style. You need to know their names and who they've worked with.
By far, the best advice about doing your research is to read the trade magazines such as Billboard, Hits, Radio and Records, College Music Journal, Music Connection, The Hollywood Reporter (especially if you're interested in film music) and any industry trades that relate to your own musical style.

Call the biggest newsstand in town to find these publications. If they don't carry them, call your local library. If they don't have them, gather a group of others to formally petition the library to subscribe. They may not be getting the music trades because they don't think anyone is interested. Most are weekly magazines and they're very expensive ($250-$300 per year), but if you feel you're ready to begin your assault on the industry, they're one of your best investments.

Trade magazines can provide valuable information such as what records are on the charts in every genre of music and who performed, wrote, produced, published, released and distributed them. For those who want to write songs for others to record, the most valuable information available from the charts is whether or not an artist records "outside" songs.

- Excerpt from "Getting Heard In A "No Unsolicited Material World" listed on the Songwriters Resource Network.

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