The Squeaky Wheel Gets The Grease

Posted by Aaron Davison on Tuesday, July 9, 2013 Under: July 2013

I once heard the founder of CD Baby, Derek Sivers, tell the story of a well known record label that used to screen prospective artists based on how well they followed up on their submissions.  If someone called up this particular label and asked how to submit their music they would be given the label’s address to mail their CD to.  Once the label received their initial submission their CD would go into a bin and would sit there until…. they followed up and inquired about their submission.   At this point it would go into bin #2 and it would sit there until…. they followed up again.  Finally, if the artist made it this far their music would go into yet a third bin where someone would actually listen to it.

I don’t think that most music licensing companies have this sort of intense and deliberate method of filtering out prospective artists.  But nonetheless, following up on your submissions is vitally important.  Many music publishers and music libraries within the music licensing business are small companies with just a handful of people running the entire company.  It’s not uncommon for a typical music publisher to receive several hundred submissions a week.   There are a lot more songwriters than there are publishers. 

Often times when you submit your music to someone and don’t hear back it’s simply because they haven’t heard your music yet.  A friendly reminder that you’ve sent your music and are awaiting a response goes a long way.  If you haven’t heard back from someone wait a few weeks and follow up.  Many times this is actually helpful,  because it reminds whomever you’ve sent your music to that you are waiting for them to get back to you.

As my publisher often says “the squeaky wheel gets the grease”.  If you have to choose between erring on the side of being patient or persistent, err on the side of persistence.  Patient wheels don’t get grease, squeaky wheels do!

In : July 2013 

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