Tip Sheets: Are They Worth It?
For many songwriters, tip sheets sound like the cure-all solution to their pitch challenges. They include valuable information such as what artists are looking for songs, what label and producer they are working with, when they need material, what type of material they are looking for, and what format they want the songs in (.mp3, .wav, etc). Tip sheets are provided by several companies such as RowFax and SongLink, and are usually distributed weekly (via email).
Since tip sheets are kind of pricey (about $200 a year for a subscription), you need to evaluate their worth to you as a songwriter before you jump on the tip sheet bandwagon.
Information is only as valuable as how able you are to act upon it. So while tip sheets sound tantalizing, they may be worth absolutely nothing or hundreds of thousands of dollars, depending on what you do with the information they provide.
Tip Sheet Questions to Ask Yourself
- Are there other sources I can use to find out the same information that tip sheets provide? (music blogs, TV, contacts, etc)
- Once I have the information found in tip sheets, what will I do with it? Do I have an actionable plan?
- Do I have a strong catalog of songs that can meet the needs of a variety of artists?
- Do I have a network of contacts that can introduce me to those looking for songs or would I be cold-contacting them?
- Do I have the time to schedule pitches with those looking for songs within the timeframe that they need it?
Tip sheets are valuable because they save you from finding all the information they provide on your own. While most of the information found in tip sheets is available through other sources (online media, hearsay, etc), some information may be exclusive, such as what type of music artists are looking for and their contact information. But the most valuable info, the contact details of those seeking music, is not always provided and is only useful if they accept unsolicited material (rare) or if you can network your way to establishing a relationship with them.
Tip sheets are extremely valuable if you already have a strong network of contacts, have the time to pitch your own material, and have a strong catalog of appropriate songs to pitch based on the opportunities you discover. If you are a newcomer, lack a strong network, have few songs, or don’t have time to pitch your songs, you may be better getting a publishing deal or hiring a songplugger who is already in the loop with pitch opportunities.