What you should and shouldn't do when pitching your music

Posted by Daniel Hodson (Updated: Wednesday, July 28, 2021)

Approximately 3 minutes reading time

What you should and shouldn't do when pitching your music

Pitching music: it's something every musician knows they need to do, but very few have mastered the art. That's because many musicians don't put in ample time and effort into making a good pitch. The truth is, the music industry is pitched hundreds to thousands of songs every day and simply don't have the time to reply to every single one. In order to truly stand out and make your music heard, it's important to understand the do's and don'ts when it comes to the mysterious art of pitching music successfully.


Keep it relevant 

Only pitch music that is relevant to your genre! This may seem like a no-brainer, but it can be a common mistake for bands and artists starting out. Many musicians want to try and make as many connections as possible and believe that sending their music to anyone and everyone in the industry will eventually lead to a positive response. If you follow this route, you will waste precious time, energy, and possibly annoy the wrong person. Instead, put in the research and ensure your music is being sent to those that might actually give it a listen. Here at MusicMissile, we offer segmented music industry contacts by genre, category and location, making it easy to begin your research and pitch to the correct contacts.

Put in the effort

Pursuing the rockstar dream requires talent, luck, and above all, a lot of effort. If creating breakthrough music wasn’t tough enough, there is a lot of competition out there, and you need to be seen as dedicated, at the top of your game and willing to work. Initially, it might seem easy to whip up an email with a couple of sentences introducing yourself, complimented with some demos, but you need more than this. To begin with, understand the individual or company you’re contacting; who do they represent and why would they be interested in you? Introduce yourself and your music in a way that sets up your story for success and shows that you have a plan; what makes you special? A short and sweet message will stand out greater than a generic message or a long droning message.

Be authentic

It's common with any kind of job we apply for in life: we often try to paint an exaggerated portrait of ourselves to impress others. It's not necessarily bad; rather, it's human nature. But when it comes to pitching music, we have to resist the temptation to do so. Being authentic and honest is key, this will get you much farther than creating an image of what you think will please the music industry. If you lie or exaggerate, it could come back to bite you; most artists' metrics can be viewed online when it comes to streams and sales, which reflects demand. Approach each interaction with a personal yet professional manner, but don’t be afraid to show personality; there are many artists whose careers blossomed further due to being charismatic, charming, and interesting people.


Go overboard

Another common mistake bands and artists make when pitching their music? Going overboard. If you are sending an unsolicited email pitching your music, being clear and concise whilst showing personality is needed, but sending an essay with an albums worth of demos is not. Many musicians feel that more songs equals better music and a stronger shot at being noticed, after all, doesn't more music reflect a hardworking individual? Whilst that concept is undeniable, sending too many songs in this context makes it appear as though you value quantity over quality; not to mention the time required for a music industry rep to check out your music and dig out the best songs. Instead, ensure the music you’re making is as good as it can possibly be, get outsider opinion and assistance, then pitch with no more than three tracks. This creates a much more approachable listening experience, which is likely to achieve a response. 


You know when you ask for a quote for something you see online and find yourself getting bombarded with emails, messages and phone calls for weeks? You remember how irritating and troublesome it was? Music industry reps are all too familiar with this, so be respectful in regards to follow ups and give it time. The key in the music industry is this: if someone likes your work, they will let you know, nagging will only work against you, which could result in getting yourself black listed.

Forget about other avenues

The avenues a band or artist can take to pitch for opportunities has changed with the digital era. Years ago, many opted for an in-person drop of a CD or a phone call, which soon led to emails. While these methods are still considered the official route, social media is arguably becoming the number-one communication tool of today, with many bands landing opportunities off public discussion. For example, writing in an event to enquire about local opening slots, reaching out to other bands about support tours, and networking in general. Make sure that your social media presence is solid, as music industry folk may take your social media accounts into consideration when scouting you. 

As a final point, having fun when developing a musical project is the lifeline that keeps it all together, and is the baseline for why we do it. Pitching music should be a part of that fun, as it leads to discovery, success and development. Create good music, focusing your time and energy on perfecting good songs rather than lots of average songs, research, network with bands, artists and anyone in the industry. Prove that you are a person worth working with and investing in. 


Daniel Hodson

Daniel Hodson is a co-founder of Music Missile, and the drummer and founder of various UK bands. His passion stems from both studying and working in the music industry for the past decade.

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