View Full Version : Does anyone know of a warning list for songwriters

Penny Graham
06-02-2007, 03:30 PM
Book writer has preditors and editors...is there a list of warnings for songwriters naming agents, labels, publishing companies that are scams, or even recommended companies? We writers can check out agents, lawyers,publishers, etc, while there doesn't seem to be one for songwriters. Thanks if anyone knows.

06-02-2007, 05:26 PM

There is NO listing of Song Sharks that I know of but there are warning signs to look out for.

The song shark's most familiar bait is a small ad along these lines: "Send us your poems for expert criticism. You may have a song hit. Upon acceptance, we edit, publish, record your song and bring it to the attention of bands and broadcasting studios."

When the sucker has swallowed the bait by submitting his song, he gets an enthusiastic letter stating that his lyrics are indeed hit material, that with a good tune and publication they can scarcely fail to score. Expenses incidental to publication—tunewriting, arranging, etc.—will, of course, cost a small amount, which must be sent in advance. The sucker sends the money, and is gratified to receive 20 printed copies of his song. He next hears from an apparently different concern (the same shark using a different address), expressing great interest in his published song and suggesting that all it needs is a recording, by an unfamiliar but impressively named orchestra. This can be done for a small fee, and so on.

By the time the sucker has spent up to a hundred dollars, he usually gets tired and quits. For his money he has received a tune any hack composer could turn out for $5, a printing job worth $7.50, a cheap $1 acetate recording.

Song sharks are hard to catch. Most modern sharks are carefully surrounded by expert legal talent. But they are easy to detect. What gives them away is asking for fees. No legitimate U.S. song publisher ever accepts money for publishing a song.

If you see an ad anywhere promising to turn your Lyrics/Poems into Songs, Be very wary and check with the BBB if possible (They probably won't show up as they reinvent themselves with new names every few years if not more often). If you send them a poem and they start asking for fees for publishing, printing, or recording, (no matter how much praise they throw at you about how good it is) you can be pretty sure they probably are a SCAM, and that it's time for you to run not walk away.

Hope this helps.


For legitimate Songwriter services, Writer's Digest puts out a Songwriter's Market, similar to their Writer's, Artist's, and Poet's Markets each Fall, with lists of Publishers, Recording Studios, Contests, Publications/Resources, Agents etc., and which can be found in most bookstores or libraries or at: http://www.amazon.com/Songwriters-Ma.../dp/1582974314

Anthony Ravenscroft
06-03-2007, 06:46 PM
For all my complaints about Writer's Digest as a magazine, they're diligent about not recommending pay-to-play services in their market listings, & can be trusted.

There's actually a CD produced by one of the subsidy composer/musicians, all from stuff that he did to pay the rent. That was a decade ago, though, & I can't find reference to the darned thing: I Died Tonight. Anyway, I'm pretty certain any suckers wouldn't get the services of a guy that was this talented.

Penny Graham
06-10-2007, 12:30 PM
Thanks guys. I see a lot of music places on the web and it's hard to tell if they are legit. I was hoping there was a Pand E for music but I guess there is not. Thanks for responding.

06-10-2007, 07:54 PM

I'm puzzled when you say you've seen a lot of "Music" places on the Web. Most that advertise "Music" are selling CDs, Downloads, or Radio links, or books on Songwriting or the Songwriting Business. Those listing Songwriters usually refer to personal websites or General Information Chat Rooms. (The John Lennon songwriting Contest used to have a chat room that covered a lot of information and peopled by those actively entering the various Song Contests out there, who, in general, were quite knowledgeable but JLSC closed it down).

Most Song Contests that are listed are legitimate (at least those asking under $50 a song entry) but they are VERY competitive. The best quide to them is how long they've been around. If it's for over 3 years, you're usually pretty safe. (The best of the ones I know about are "The John Lennon Song Contest",
"The Billboard Song Contest", "The USA Song Contest", "The International Song Contest" "The Eurovision Song Contest", " CMT NSAI Song Contest" and "The Great American Song Contest" all of which have been around for a while).
Other Contest sites may be perfectly legitimate but should be looked at closely before entering.

The only other sites I can think of would be music stores and those offering lessons in theory or training on specific instruments, or independent A&R companies like "Song Connect" or "Taxi" that act as middlemen for Songwriters for a fee.

If you know any beyond that, please let us know.


Penny Graham
06-28-2007, 08:20 PM
Thanks JHR, I'm so sorry I didn't get back to you before this. I didn't think anyone else answered and no notification on the thread being answered. My husband has a myspace for his music, and some place called True Talent Management is all over the place on that site and now emails all these needed movie songs for all genres...They want 50% of the Synch license and all exclusive publishing if they place your songs, or 75% of the synch license and you keep the publishing. I think a percentage of the synch license should be enough, but not 75%. Maybe they are legitimate, but my gut says they are taking advantage of people who don't know any better. On the other hand, my husband has been the main songwriter since the 80's of many different genres of bands and has good music sitting around here collecting dust....some heavy rock, some country, all good, but probably more for movies now. Can you check this site out? I'd love to hear your opinion. We have known people in L.A. that just happened to be good friends with a person that placed many of their songs in movies. This seems like the same type of thing, all you need is one instrumental contact and you are on your way, so maybe these guys are for real but just trying to collect more than they should. When you have songs from old bands you aren't using anymore but a horror film would be good for one of them, what do you do? I'm naturally suspicious anyway, so your opinion would be very valuable to us. Just search True Talent Management and they should come up. Maybe, if it is real this would help other songwriters on this site. IF and that is a big IF. Thanks and I will PM you so you know I finally saw your message.

P.S. they are emailing constantly with movies that need songs, of course, and I am leery of the LARGE CAPITOLS and !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!'s that they put in their warnings of what to submit.

06-29-2007, 04:58 AM

Your gut reaction is probably quite correct. They are obviously PROMOTERS who are attempting to set themselves up as Agents and Booking Agents. I suspect they are legitimate but whether they're worth their fees or not is problematical. Their own advertising says that their *Fees* are on a project by project or RETAINER basis, and the fact that they're on MY SPACE indicates to me that they are most interested in PROMOTING themselves.

Your best bet might be to contact some of the people they claim to represent and find out how they feel they've been treated and then check with those friends of yours that have had friends that placed their songs and see how they compare, or check out "Songwriter's Market" for Managers/Booking Agents that have established reputations. (and most who have posted there in the past ask 15 -20% commission on what they place)

Promoters have a valid place in the business and I know of NO way to determine their value other than by trying them out cautiously, (a project at a time) and evaluating their performance.

Hope this answers your questions, at least in part.

Jim Hoye, (JRH)

Penny Graham
06-30-2007, 07:39 AM
Thanks Jim, for checking it out. We work around the music industry here in Nashville, and I see firsthand how many submissions there are on the desks of the a and r people. Stacks adding up to hundreds of songs they go through every day. Boxes and Boxes, all submitted for one artist looking for one song. I couldn't even imagine them adding more submissions by sending emails and trying to get even more songs to listen to than what they already have and did not solicit for. Since my husband answered them once we get 3 or 4 emails every day saying they are looking for this and that. I get the vibe they are working out of their house, and maybe do have that connection but are wanting way too much, much more than industry standard to get these songs placed. Can't blame them for trying, I guess. Connections are valuable. But I think not THAT valuable. Thanks for jumping in. I wonder if anyone else here has heard from these people.