Panel Recap: Music Publishing Demystified

We had an amazing turnout at our Music Publishing Panel last week! Thanks to moderator Danny Gillespie and panelists Ted Lowe (Choicetracks), Terrany Johnson (Urban Artist Alliance), Charlie Faye (Charlie Faye & The Fayettes), Roanna Gillespie (WOW Sounds), and Jarrett McGenee (Mood Media) for your words of expertise and wisdom. Special thanks to Gregg & Destinee Ware of One-2-One Bar for hosting, and Henry & the Invisibles for sharing the evening with us and hosting the unofficial after party!

From left: Danny Gillespie, Roanna Gillespie, Ted Lowe, Terrany Johnson, Charlie Faye & Jarrett McGehee. Photo by Heather Bee Photography.

Our panelists helped demystify music publishing and offered a number of helpful tips for artists looking to increase their revenue through songwriting and licensing deals. Three words best summarize what it takes: hustle, drive, and commitment. These are the necessary tools you need to thrive in this competitive market.

Yes, the music industry is becoming more and more competitive. However, there are more opportunities than ever to get your music out there. It all comes down to getting exposure, making the right connections, and being enjoyable to work with.

Exposure is a must. Exposure leads to interest, and interest leads to a paycheck.  “It is hard to get a good paycheck these days,” said McGehee, “people like the top 40.” Our panelists suggested collaborating with other artists or associating yourself with a brand to form powerful partnerships and create mutually beneficial opportunities.

Connections are everything. The right relationships will help get you well-paying jobs and high-level deals. Music supervisors, like most people, are creatures of habit and will often continue to go back to the people that have helped them before and were pleasant to work with. Plus, connections can help you grow as an artist. Working and collaborating with others helps our creative minds expand and able us to learn from others.

In order to create good connections, be likeable and easy to work with! To sell your songs, you should aim to make life as easy as possible for who you are pitching to. This means, always label your material; contact name, phone number, email, and website (this information should always be included in the song’s metadata). Always clarify who owns what of part of the song. Ask music supervisors what they need, and what you can do to help make their job easier. Be nice, and respond quickly to those who want to help you.

Opportunity is out there, you just have to figure out how to navigate it. Remember, hustle, drive, and commitment are the keys to success. So keep creating good music, exposing yourself, and working hard. In the wise words of Terrany Johnson, “The stars will align.”

To listen to the full audio, check out Austin Music Foundation on SoundCloud.

Photo by Heather Bee Photography

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