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Services - Selling Songs - Selling Lyrics

Selling Songs - Selling Lyrics

by Molly-Ann Leikin

Selling songs is not done in the music business.  Even so, many new writers who are unaware of how the real music business operates, dream of selling songs.  They ache to hear their work played on just one radio station – just once – and feel that’s accomplished by selling songs.

It isn’t.

Professional songwriters work like this:  we write words and/or music, we record what we’ve written, then we move into the marketing phase, which includes pitching our songs to music publishers and record execs, who, in turn, pitch our songs to singers and bands looking for hits in our genre.  If we write and sing, we still need the help of music publishers and record execs to place us and our work with their labels. 

When our songs are recorded, we receive quarterly royalties for each copy sold, as well as performance royalties from countries all over the world based on the number of times our songs are performed for profit on radio stations, online, in commercials, in movies, and TV shows.

Nobody I have ever met who is a hit songwriter in the real music business has ever been involved in selling songs.  Legitimate music publishers do not buy songs.  Ever.  If you write lyrics or words only, and need music to complete your songs, once I see your work in a consultation, assuming it’s ready for the marketplace, I can help you find the other half of your songwriting team.  If you have finished songs all ready to go, once I hear what you do in a consultation, assuming your work is ready for the marketplace, I can hook you up with all the right people. 

New or frustrated songwriters should never get caught up in selling songs.   

Selling lyrics

Selling lyrics is also something that is never done.  I am approached over two hundred times a week by naïve songwriters asking my help in selling lyrics.  They think what they write is sold like short stories or scripts.  It isn’t.   

Selling lyrics is never done in the legitimate music business.  There are smarmy  scumbags in every business who will gladly tell you what you want to hear for a price, so if someone offers you a contract for the purpose of selling lyrics, tear it up.  Immediately.  It might feel good for a day or so to be “wanted”, it might feel great to have someone finally “like” something you’ve created, but it will feel awful forever when you realize you’ve been taken by a shark.  Buying lyrics and selling lyrics is never, ever done in the real music business.

Marketing lyrics is just like marketing songs:  you write a lyric, you find a composer to set it to music, you record the song professionally and competitively, then you set out to market the finished song, which includes pitching your work to music publishers and A & R people at record labels, who, in turn, pitch your songs to singers and bands looking for hits in your genre.  When your songs are recorded, you receive quarterly royalties for each copy sold, as well as performance royalties from countries all over the world based on the number of times your songs are performed for profit on radio stations, online, in commercials, in movies, and TV shows.

You write lyrics, you get them recorded, you are paid royalties.  None of this ever, ever, ever has anything to do with selling lyrics.

© 2008 Molly-Ann Leikin
songmd@songmd.com


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Molly-Ann Leikin is an award-winning professional songwriter for hire offering song critiques.

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