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News November 17, 2017

An open letter to artists looking for a publishing deal

Gary Seeger
An open letter to artists looking for a publishing deal
Gary Seeger with Keith Harris (Stevie Wonder’s manager) and Clive Hodson (Perfect Pitch Publishing)

With over 25 years experience in the music and film industries, Gary Seeger has had his fair share of publishing wins for acts like Powderfinger and Nick Cave and films like The Sapphires and Wolf Creek 2.

Now, as the Creative Director for the world’s largest global independent publishing company Peer Music, and as Music Supervisor for film scoring studio Trackdown, Seeger’s knowledge of the publishing sector is widespread and deep.

It’s because of this that we asked him to pen an opinion piece on what he believes every artist and/or songwriter should know when seeking a publishing deal. Read his open letter to artists below:

There’s no right or wrong way when it comes to music and what a publisher wants. Today will be different to tomorrow. When an upcoming band is on fire and every publisher wants them, one publisher will be happy, and many will be disappointed. A pattern then appears, and many of those ‘missed out’ publishers start combing the same grounds for a similar sound in Newcastle, Perth or Brisbane, and so on…

We’re in the entertainment business, and a lot of it has to do with timing and luck. Don’t get me wrong. The song has to be good along with the package and performance. It has to have the “wow” factor! Like the old saying goes, you can’t polish a turd.

There are millions of bands out there – many of them serious and keen to break into the music market – some do it as a hobby, and sometimes that hobby act turns fruitful. But let’s focus on the artists and bands that truly want to make it in the business.

I recently watched an interesting interview about the national job market and the Growth Mindset. Four main points popped up: being passionate, taking action, seizing the challenge; and focussing on the results.

These all relate to artists and bands in the music industry. How passionate are you? How focussed are you? Are you ready for challenges? How can you better your results?

All these factors should be in the subconscious when writing, rehearsing, performing, and recording.

Talent is vital, but attitude is everything, and a great artist or band, is a combination of the two.

The music industry has changed and will keep evolving. You can have the bells and whistles and colour attached to social media; you can have X amount of YouTube hits, and some high rotation radio airplay, but does that equate to success and longevity?

How serious are you? Will you be willing to rehearse 5 to 7 days a week, live with the band and go on tour nationally and overseas for what could be years? I’m not talking a regional tour of Australia that gets you as far as Newcastle from Sydney! It’s all about commitment and believing in yourself!

If I see a great performer, entertaining an audience (it could be three or 300 people) with a short sharp set, I’d be keen to get to know them and see if they’re focused on a career in the music industry.

I’d also be impressed if they had a three to five year plan and ticked all the boxes I’ve mentioned above.

Peer Music operates 35 offices in 28 countries, with well over a quarter of a million titles in the company’s catalogue.

This article originally appeared on The Industry Observer, which is now part of The Music Network.


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