How to get started in the music industry

DIY MusicianDoing Everything And Getting No Place in the Music Industry

Since my youth, I dreamed of having a music career, performing on stage for thousands. People told me I was a better than average musician and singer-songwriter. But, I still had my doubts.

After many years of putting my songs on the shelf, I decided to take a risk and pitch them to some music execs. Living in Southern California provided the opportunity to personally go to Pitch Sessions in Los Angeles.

Every week for months, I’d spend an hour or two on the busy freeway to get to the weekly pitch. Every week it went the same.

The Pitch

We handed a lyric sheet and cassette recording (before CDs) of the song to the music industry exec. As the track played, the expert critiqued the song, writing notes on the lyric sheet. If the exec did not choose the song for further review the cassette and lyric sheet were handed back.

Occasionally, a song would be chosen.

This happened week after week, month after month. The drive home seemed to get longer and longer with each passing week.

Sometimes, I’d get a few encouraging comments, but I never had a song chosen for further review.

Mail-in Demos

For that reason, I stopped going to Pitch Sessions. Instead, I began sending tapes to different music publishers and entering music industry contests. The Songwriter’s Market stated that the musician would receive feedback in a few weeks. But weeks passed without a word.

I had almost forgotten about the contest when a return package came in the mail.

I hurriedly ripped open the package and unfolded the letter that revealed their analysis with a list of changes that needed to be made. I immediately headed for my little studio, convinced they would pick up my song and give me a recording contract.

The wait began again.

Finally, the long-awaited package arrived. I knew I had made the exact requested changes. With shaky hands, I opened the package and grabbed the letter that would reveal my next step to stardom. I knew there was a contract waiting for me.

My music career was about to launch.

I slowly slumped to the sofa flipping the letter over to see the back. I looked up at my wife standing in the doorway wiping her hands on a dish towel.

She took a step closer, “Well?”

I sat stunned, then held the letter up for her to see.

“Thank you for submitting your song for evaluation. We regret it’s not what we’re looking for at this time.”

That’s it? 

Still Accepting Demos

Some music publishers are still accepting demos. The Songwriter’s Market tells you how to submit a demo. They give you lists of publishers with the contact person, phone number, address and specifically how to submit demos or if they accept demos. All the details are there.


Today’s musicians have more options than any other time in history. We can go the DIY (Do It Yourself) Way. We can take charge of our own music career, becoming your own recording exec.

The drama continues tomorrow. Check out song clips on my website or Larry S Warfield Music on Facebook. Read posts on Medium.

by Dena Warfield

After spending approximately 20 years as a programmer analyst working in both the private sector and county government, Dena Warfield returned to college earning a Masters Degree in Psychology and in Creative Writing. Since graduation, her main focus has been on marketing – Direct Sales, Copywriting, and Writing for the Web. She co-owned and managed a direct marketing company with her husband working, primarily, with local newspapers. She managed the business office, human resources, and helped with training and marketing. She also designed their company Web Site plus writing for other web developers. Dena’s years of business, computer programming, and writing have helped to focus her copywriting skills in the marketing arena. Whether she is writing content for websites, emails, brochures, catalogs, or direct-response her goal is increased traffic and sales to your site or business. Education Dena earned her Master’s Degree in Human Behavior and a Master’s in Creative Writing from National University in San Diego, California. She has also completed a certification program from AWAI (American Writers & Artists Inc., Delray Beach, FL.) with a focus in copywriting for the web. Author Dena has authored a self-help book designed to help people become aware of their negative thoughts and core beliefs that keep them from becoming successful. The techniques described in her book were used to help their sales rep to become more successful. Her book is currently on She also enjoys writing Flash Fiction which can be found on her Facebook page, WarStories by Dena – Flash Fiction with a twist.

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