Why You Shouldn’t Hide Your Songs Under a Bush

Posted by Mike McCready | May 29th, 2010 | No responses


We’ve all heard the old stories about the artist who submitted their song to someone in the music business and never heard back. Then, at some point in

the future they heard their song on the radio as a smash hit recorded by someone else and the whole thing ended up in a contentious lawsuit or simply

never got resolved. These days, some artists believe that when they put their songs “out there” they run the risk of it spreading virally and millions of

people will end up listening to the song but the artist never will never see a dime.

As in every industry, the music industry has its share of unscrupulous people so I’ll never go as far as to say that this won’t ever happen again but in my

opinion, the potential rewards of getting your songs heard far outweigh the risks. Here are four points that illustrate why:

  • There are now over a million songs being created and digitally distributed EACH YEAR. There is no lack of great music and smash hits out there and an

    industry professional would rather do legitimate business with a willing artist than to steal a song. There’s just too much hassle involved in stealing a song

    and in today’s digital age. It’s pretty easy for an artist to prove a song is theirs.

  • If you don’t get your song in front of the right people you have no shot. There are plenty of artists out there who understand that hiding their music is

    only going to lead to never getting a deal. In other words, competition is robust and if you don’t get your songs in front of the right people there are

    plenty of other artists who will.

  • Right or wrong, most music business professionals believe that there is no song or artist that can’t be replaced. That is to say, no matter how good you

    are or no matter how good your song is it really doesn’t make sense for a music business professional to try to “steal” it from you. Why get embroiled in

    contention with an artist and damage your own reputation in the business when it’s so easy to find artists with great songs willing to do deals?

  • Mass exposure gives you a better chance of achieving fame or reaching a deal than obscurity does. That is to say, if you are lucky enough to put a song

    out there and to have it take off virally you will do really well. The currency of the digital age is attention. If you get people’s attention you have a better

    chance of converting it into income than if you languish in obscurity. Unless you are a writer of hit songs with a proven track record, a network of

    contacts waiting for your next creation and top artists beating down your door for your songs you need to do whatever you can to establish yourself.

    Having one of your songs go viral will help you establish that.

There is one last issue you should understand. Most music professionals and companies will not accept music submissions if the music they receive is not publicly visible and streamable somewhere. There are a lot of complex legal issues surrounding this but explained briefly; industry professionals and their companies do not want to be put in the position of perhaps being the only people to have ever heard your music. If they were and someone were to copy your music, they could be liable. Industry professionals would prefer to never hear your music than to be put in that position. Therefore, one of the requirements of submitting music via Music Xray is that the music is streamable from the site. This is explained clearly in our terms of service. If you’re not comfortable with it, please don’t use Music Xray.

But again, there are lots of other reasons (see above) why making your music available is in your best interest.

Mike McCready is an entrepreneur at the crossroads of music and technology. He pioneered the introduction of Hit Song Science into the music industry and followed up with Music Xray, the company he co-founded and serves as CEO. His companies have been the subject of case studies at Harvard Business School, IESE and he frequently guest speaks at many of the top business schools around the world. He helps the music industry identify high potential songs and talent and helps musicians get deals, get fans, & get better: