Pay Me $250 to Re-demo Your Song!

For the umpteenth time I have received an email from a songwriter who has been mislead by a so-called “publisher” showing interest in their songs.   It’s not the showing interest that’s bad, it’s the thing they do next:  they follow up by asking the songwriter to pay them money to “re-demo” their song(s).

Songwriters Circle
Songwriters Circle (Photo credit: AndyRobertsPhotos)

Fortunately the red flags went up this time and the songwriter emailed me to ask my opinion.  I told him exactly what I tell every other songwriter that emails me with a similar story;  run the other way!  This is how these companies make their money, not by successfully pitching songs to artists, but by making money from the “re-demos”.    And what does the songwriter get?  Another demo of their songs and a big bill.

Pay attention to this:  if ANYONE asks you for money to pitch or re-demo your songs, don’t do it!  There ARE professional legitimate song pitchers out there, but they work an entirely different way and the chances are you wouldn’t know about them until you had some kind of track record for successful songs already.

I always recommend checking out the publication “Songwriter’s Market” for a better chance at finding more legitimate publishers.  It comes out annually and lists publishers and record labels in many genres, and keeps pretty up-to-date on all of them.  It also has a number of really good articles on the do’s and don’ts of pitching your music, so it’s worth the price just for that.  You can find the book in your local bookstore, or you can buy it from Amazon.  If you want to support my website, you can also buy the latest edition through my store by clicking here.

Here are some other tips when it comes to looking for a publisher:

1.  Do some research on the web if you’re not sure about the legitimacy of a publisher.  You want to know how I do it?  I Google the publisher’s name and the word “scam”.  If there’s any question about them, it’ll sure enough show up!

2. Join a songwriter’s web communities like those on the Muse’s Muse or JP Folks, and ask others if they know about the publisher you’re in touch with.

3. Go to BMI or ASCAP and look up the publisher’s name.  If they’re a real publisher, it’ll show up in a database somewhere and at least you’ll know they’ve published SOMETHING.

4. If anything feels fishy at all, trust your gut.  Your gut is smarter than you think, and it’s better to walk away than get caught up in something you’re really going to pay for.  And you can always ask me for my opinion :-).

Most of all, don’t feel bad if you find yourself with one of those “pay us $250 to re-demo your song” letters.  These guys have been around for a long time and they are very smooth.  And they continue to do it because songwriters are so convinced that their songs are great that they’ll do or pay anything that any of these people ask.  But you don’t have to!


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  1. A recent example: I have a page on Reverbnation and recently I was “fanned” and left a message by A&R Select saying how they liked one of my songs and wanted to talk. When I Googled the company name, I found that they had had lots of trouble with the Better Business Bureau and were considered by some to be a “scam”. It always helps to do a check of a company name when you’re not sure!


  2. hey Irene,
    you hit the nail on the head about scam publishers …I bought the book
    “songwriters market” good book and let me tell you another good book is
    “Murphy’s Laws of Songwriting” by Ralph Murphy . I saw where you was working with
    songU… do you still critique songs maybe for a price???? and by the way I think
    you legit,because I’ve swam with the skarks:)

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