Getting done with writing a song can leave you with a blissful feeling of achievement. It’s a feat you should definitely be proud of, but there’s lots of work left to be done, especially if you want to benefit from your music financially.
For many songwriters, the next steps after writing a song can seem like big hurdles, which they might fail to cross for one reason or another. Many songs are left stuck on the pages of a notebook or end up hogging bytes upon bytes of space on a hard drive for weeks, months, and even years. If this has been your story at some point in your songwriting career (or maybe even now), read on. Here are 7 things to do after you’re finished with writing a song.
A song might sound complete, especially if it seemed to just flow out of you during one of those mentally-purging moments. Many great songs were written this way but most songwriters can attest to writing a line or phrase that initially sounded cool but made no sense in the final analysis. Doing a thorough review is similar to proofreading a book. It also gives you the chance to check if your song is on point with its targeting, if that wasn’t contemplated from the beginning. Is it geared toward a particular audience or is it all over the place? There will be a higher chance of benefiting from your song if it appeals to a particular market segment and genre.
This is especially for you if you’ve only gotten down the lyrics or just relying on memory. This can be recorded on your smartphone, computer, or another recording device, using a guitar, piano, or even sample music or loops. You just want to capture all the essential components of your song, such as the chord transitions, lyrics, hook, and melody. That way, you can hear what it’s likely to sound like and be able to share the recording with anyone who might need to hear it.
Write out the lyrics
Creating a lyrics sheet is also a good next step soon after you’re finished with writing your song. This allows you to have the lyrics written out in full, word-for-word. You should also include important details, such as your name, the names of any co-writers, and the date the song was created for copyright purposes. As soon as you put your song in tangible form, you own the copyright; putting in the date adds another layer of protection.
Get it demoed/recorded professionally
This is where the rough recording and lyrics sheet become really important as you will need both when approaching a professional recording studio to demo your song. Creating a demo means getting a clean recording of your song, which you can then use to test the market by sharing it with an artist, song plugger, or music executive who you think might be interested in its potential. The session musicians, music producer, and vocalists (if needed) will use your rough recording and lyrics sheet to put together a demo that is easy on the ears and shows off the best parts of your song. As a side note, Tunedly now offers unlimited demo recordings where you can order as many demos as you like for one low monthly fee.
If your demo seems to have hit potential, you might consider turning into a professional recording, This is where you upgrade your demo to a full, radio-ready song that can be played anywhere in the public space. This step is one you should only take if you've gotten good feedback about your demo and plan to pitch your song for opportunities later on. You don't want to spend money turning every demo into a polished song, only to find out that it has no appeal in the music market. As a rough guide, only select 1 - 2 out of every 5 of your best demos to turn into a professional recording.
Having a quality pro-recorded song under your belt is a big step to getting your song out there. However, before you go ahead and click that submit button to upload it online, or send it in an email, or give out a CD to a stranger, it’s a good idea to protect your song by copyrighting it. Sure, you automatically own the song from the moment you write it down based on the Berne Convention. But in the event of a lawsuit, particularly in the United States, a formal copyright registration becomes necessary. It’s easy to have your songs registered for a small fee at www.copyright.gov.
Convert and save your mix
Upon creating your pro-recorded song, you’ll likely receive WAV files from the recording studio (ALWAYS if you use Tunedly). You’ll want to convert the main file into a compressed MP3, which you can now use for sharing. While you’re at it, add the relevant metadata to the MP3 file, such as the song title and name of the songwriter, as well as your contact info. It’s also a good idea to save your files both on and offline, so you can have easy access to it. An EPK is a good place to start where storing it online is concerned. Also, be sure to create backups, whether on a hard disk or cloud storage, just in case your EPK or music files on your computer get deleted for whatever reason.
You've covered all the bases and now have a professional recording in your possession. It’s now time to share your music with the world and possibly receive some financial returns. There are a number of ways, including the traditional methods of sending your demo to an artist, publisher or record label owner. You can also try the networking route by attending music conferences that allow you to rub shoulders with music execs. Nowadays, the internet gives you access to other pitching methods, such as trying to have your song plugged in a movie or commercial. Here at Tunedly, for instance, you can submit your song to our song plugging tool and if it passes a market research, you could land yourself a cool publishing deal.
Getting done with your next song shouldn’t leave you stumped as to what steps next to take. Hopefully, this guide will help you fit the pieces of the puzzle together as you pursue success in your music career.