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How To Be Professional As A Songwriter In The Music Business

Posted by Jessica Brandon on Wed, Feb 10, 2010 @10:40 AM

Molly-Ann Leikin

How To Be Professional As A Songwriter In The Music Business

By Molly-Ann Leikin, Songwriting Consultant


The music business is a business.  The people we need to connect with on a professional level may look street and talk street, but when money is at stake – especially big money, which is often the case in our industry – we serve ourselves best by acting and doing business like the pro’s. 

    That means conducting ourselves as we would in any other business - whether it’s selling seashells,  stocks or sour cream cinnamon raisin coffee cake, nuts optional.   It’s not about what we want.  It’s what the guy on the other side of desk needs, and, assuming we have it, trying to determine how best to present it.   

    Say you’re a pretzel baker and I’m the World Distributer.  I would expect you to approach me the way my already established clients do.  Remember, as the Pretzel Honcho, I have thousands of people coming at me every day with pitches.  Therefore, to get my attention, what you’re selling has to sound as good or read as well as, if not better, than everyone else’s.  Notice I didn’t say your product, I said your pitch, because, since I’m Pretzel Queen, if you don’t catch my ear or eye, you’re out.    

    Only if your pitch is interesting, will I be willing to try your pretzel.  I didn’t make that up.  That’s how business is conducted, no matter what the product.

    The initial part of your pitch is the presentation. 

    Fancy jewel cases containing photos of your dying iguana lying on a copy of your past-due rent slip, or dancing adorable treble clefs breaking out as rashes all over your letterhead, don’t cut it.  Use a simple jewel case, include a short letter stating your goal, plus a professional, accurate business card identifying you as your music self.  Leave out the jicama franchise and your muffler academy.  We’re only talking music here, okay?

    Further, if you want to be taken seriously, don’t send anyone an unidentified CD or a lyric scribbled on a used paper towel.  Nor should you send a CD in a collapsed tangerine box stuffed with toilet paper, no lyric, and no contact information.  Please - put your name, address, email address, and phone number on each item, making sure your spelling is correct and the information is easy to read.        

    Remember, perception is everything.  

    You deserve to be successful.  And I’m confident you’ll see that by taking the time to make a thoroughly professional presentation, you’ll already be halfway there.   

© 2010 Molly-Ann Leikin

Molly-Ann Leikin (rhymes with bacon) is a songwriting consultant in Los Angeles. She has dozens of gold and platinum records, plus an Emmy nomination.  So far, Molly has written themes and songs for over five dozen movies and TV shows, including “Violet”, that won an Oscar. The author of “How To Write A Hit Song, Fifth Edition”, “How To Be A Hit Songwriter”, and the producer of “Molly-Ann Leikin’s Master Class in Songwriting”, Molly consults with talented writers and artists all over the world, with a view to helping them market their material.  She also matches lyricists with composers.  Six of her clients are Grammy winners, eleven more are Grammy nominees, and so far, with Molly’s help, almost 7000 other writers/artists have placed their work in movies, on TV, CD’s, in commercials, and their tracks are downloaded all over the web. Her website is You can reach her at  

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Tags: Molly-Ann Leikin, music business, professional music, emmy, platinum records