We all know that talent alone doesn’t guarantee success. Musicians who make lots of connections and have the “hustle” tend to get further in their career than the quiet gifted artist. That just seems to be the way of the world in any industry. It’s not what you know or how talented you are, it’s who you know!
So what about pitching websites/A&R platforms, are they a good way to open doors within the industry … and in particular, is it OK to pay someone to listen to your music?
The first question, would I pay for a song critique or for some music advice?.. absolutely. This I find perfectly acceptable because I am simply paying for a service that helps me to improve. I have paid for music advice before and was actually very pleased with what I’d learnt so no problems there.
Next, would I pay for someone to listen to my music so that I can be considered for a roster/song placement … This is a tougher question.
Many of these pitching/A&R platforms will charge a submission fee and pay a portion of your submission fee to the industry professional advertising the opportunity. If the industry professional that I was submitting music to was not taking a cut of my submission fee then I could be sure that they are genuinely looking for music, but if the industry professional that I was submitting music to was taking a cut of my submission fee, then I do worry.
Call me cynical (and how can we not be in this industry nowadays), but what if they were only “considering” music to make easy money? I know I have fallen prey to scammers in my music career so perhaps I am overly cautious, but the term “consideration” is very non committal?
I am sure a lot of musicians find success using online tools like these song pitching sites and A&R platforms, but there is inevitably a trade off. Either you have to pay for each submission and face the issue outlined above, or you have to pay a monthly subscription which is a pain. Or it’s free, but the opportunities are poor and you don’t receive constructive feedback or advice on your music.
Is there a better model for getting your music heard by the people that are genuinely looking to find new music and talent? Why do we have to pay for someone to do their job? I understand people need paying for their time but (as said before) paying for consideration feels wrong.