The asian market is getting more and more important for international songwriters. The asian share of the worldwide music market is growing, both in size and importance. I am Mikaela Hammarström, a singer songwriter from Sweden who is now making a living as a musician in Japan.
There are a lot of “songwriting camps” where professional songwriters meet, collaborate and write songs that are aimed for “pitching” to artists in Japan and Korea. They are usually held under a short time, a few days but the tempo and expectations are high.
So what does “Pitch” means? When you “Pitch” your music, you send your song to an A&R (the gatekeepers at the record label) these are in the front line to find the next new big “Hit”. “A&R’s” Stands for “Artist and Repertoire” (Repertoire is a fancy word for songs, don’t ask me why!!). They don’t take “Unsolicited material” witch means that labels do not take material from people they don’t know about, producers/songwriters with no name. That’s why song camps are so popular, here you meet a lot of people who’ve been in the music industry for a long time and got the right contacts.
So how do you get in contact with A&R’s if you’re not in a song camp and you’re a rookie with no “track record” ? It’s not that easy and what I know is that they don’t want a lot of people sending them a lot of cd’s they’re not gonna listen to anyway. You can pay to find contact info at “HitQuarters” or you can also “co write” with someone who works as a songwriter for a publishing company with a “track record” who will have a lot of A&R’s in their music library. “Track record” means a record of accomplishment, a persons history of success. So start working on your track record because YOU WILL NEED IT 🙂
So what about “co writing”? You write music with another songwriter and split the music rights and % between you. When I co write I bring my laptop (I use the music sequencer “Logic”) and I’ll meet the other songwriter at the studio, at a cafe or at home. You sing and you record your music and make a Demo. When I did “co write” from Sweden with a korean songwriter from “SM Town” (Label S..M Entertainment), we worked online. He sent the track, I made the lyrics and recorded it into a demo, and sent it back to him. He showed it for the A&R at SM Town and said that we wanted it for BoA’s upcoming album, but the song it just wasn’t right for the time (you’re gonna hear that a lot).
In Japan it’s important with good relationships and you don’t wanna break someones trust, because then you’re out of business. If someone send you a track it’s better to start working on it right away to show them that you care. You can ask if there’s a deadline (be sure there will be one) because you don’t wanna waste someones time.