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I've been studying music on and off for several years now and I've finally composed a pop music like piece. It has no lyrics yet as I don't know how to integrate in the words yet. How do I seek people who would be interested in buying it?

What I mean by piece, is that I believe I have completed an entire song without the lyrics yet. I'm just missing the lyrics.

In essence, how do I show it to people who might be interested in using it, if I can't make money off of it. If it has no interest or no monetary value, then that's fine. However, if someone is interested in using it in their performance or is interested in adding in the lyrics, how do I find such people, assuming such people exist.

  • Perhaps the closest you're going to get to your "instant song, just add lyrics" is the hymn tune, where hymn melodies can be paired to poems (and yes, some melodies get assigned to multiple poems). I doubt you can make much money writing hymn tunes, though. – Dekkadeci Dec 26 '17 at 11:06
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    I don’t think a melody is very sellable and a chord progression is not sellable at all. What can sell is a chord progression with a great melody and great lymrics. Finish the song first before you try to sell it. – Todd Wilcox Dec 26 '17 at 11:09
  • Sadly, you'll probably need to pay someone to add lyrics to the tune. That's the way this usually works. – Doktor Mayhem Dec 26 '17 at 11:59
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You don't. Any creative person's most important asset is the wastebasket. Yours is apparently empty. You don't yet have the chops to recognize what won't work.

Apart from that, you don't even have a song but just some "pop music like piece" without lyrics. That's like having a rough line sketch of a landscape with no idea for colors and now wanting to sell the canvas for someone else to paint.

I think you seriously underestimate what it takes to make money creating music.

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It would be better to rephrase your question as "How can I find someone to add lyrics to my music?".

No one 'buys' songs, but a publisher might publish one of your songs once there are lyrics and if the song is about to be recorded. Thus your best bet is to find a local group and offer the song to them, in the hope that someone in the group will be sufficiently motivated to write lyrics. Then the group might play the song, and from thereon, the sky's the limit.

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You don't need lyrics to sell a song. I write original musical compositions, and arrangements. You want to "sell" these pieces of art. The first thing you want to do is learn to protect them.

  1. Look up copyright information on the US government Patent and Copyright Office website. Paying to register a copyright is very cheap, and you can protect all your work for the price of just one registration form plus a little extra. Last I did it it was about $75 US to register a copyright.

  2. Look up ASCAP and BMI websites and read the background info. The fees are very cheap (some are free) and they will serve as agencies to license your music and collect royalties, should it ever be recorded and played. If you are interested in "selling" your compositions these agencies provide a lot of good information on the process and what to expect. Even if you don't sign up with one of these agencies you can learn a lot by reading the literature on the site. Registering with BMI or ASCAP will lock you into a 3 year obligation to use them exclusively so you may want to wait on that.

  3. Neither of these steps will "sell" music. You need to be a sales person. You need to market yourself and connect with other musicians who are looking for music to add to their lyrics. This requires networking. Look up some information on this part of the business and see if there are networking groups or agencies that you can contact. For example, as a performing artist we usually use agents to procure work. They do the leg work to secure auditions and gigs. Many working bands go through an agency and venues will often have contracts with agents so they won't hire bands that come in off the street (no matter how good they are). Composers may use similar tricks to secure work. Don't sign anything as you may get locked into a parasitic, high %, fee contract for a long time. Shop around and learn more about the process.

  4. These steps are more professional. If you are just starting out, and this may sound silly, you can post a craigslist ad as "Composer looking for lyricist" and see if you can team up with someone who can add the missing pieces, then you both make money off it.

If the last option is not what you are looking for I strongly recommend that you start reading about this end of the business on the ASCAP and BMI websites first. At least you will learn something.

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I believe it is a very good question. You are not in any way alone in seeing the money going round in music business and wanting to have a small part of that. As you are not alone, there are a lot of people in the same situation. Not making any money that is. A few has made it though. In order to make it, you have to both know your handicraft and stand out.

First, I believe you have to spend the time in learning the handicraft. If you want to sell your music you need to aim for a polished presentation. Learn how to create and mix sounds in your software. Learn how to write lyrics, or get a friend that can help you. Sing yourself or find a friend that can do it for you. Train, train, train. A good aim is to produce one song a day for a month. All of these songs will probably go to the waste basket. Maybe 10 will survive the first year.

Now, a year later, you will know how to do the mechanical things, what I call the handicraft. This is the time to start to find outlets for your music. In the same time as you have been training to learn the handicraft you have looked into what the markets looks like. Have you made contacts with a network of people, some in the business, some budding people like yourself, this is the time to start contacting them. There is a very, extremely very, small market creating music for the large global artists. There is as well a market for local bands, local DJ-s looking for original material. Or you could perhaps start DJ-ing yourself ( one example is the artist Avici that started that way ). Some music is sold as "musak", playing in shopping malls or elevators as background.

Regardless, I believe that the best results are made by people that really love what they are doing. Doing it mostly for the fun.

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Other answers address your main question about selling the melody.

But, I would like to address what may be the underlying issue: you don't have lyrics yet.

Consider using "working lyrics." The origin story of Paul McCartney's Yesterday is a well known example.

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Well, it may not possible in the US or Europe, however, film makers in India (Bollywood and others) may be interested in musical scores. That is essentially what the music directors do, lyricists pitch in to add the lyrics to it and eventually come up with the complete songs which could be part of the movie itself.

  • I looked into that 20 years ago. The Indian music biz may have changed, but back then it seemed like the musician did NOT get lifetime royalties. They sold the music in a lump sum and that was it. I think the US model is a little different but I'm not sure. Can you clarify? – ggcg Nov 19 '18 at 15:51

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