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Pitching to indie vs major label artists

Updated: Nov 16, 2021

Walker Hayes vs Me. Can he take the heat?

I was talking with some songwriters about pitching their song. I’d seen them perform it at Bobby’s Idle hour a few weeks ago and loved every minute of these guys swaying to the beat, taking a few steps in unison, and one of those co-writers singing bass vocals which I didn’t think for one minute anyone of these guys was capable of.

The moment I heard the song, saw the impromptu dance, everyone in the place smiling and joining in, I thought, this song’d be cool for some up-and-comer.

Their question to me was…

If you pitch my song to major label artists, is it ok if I record it too?...or even license it to another indie artist, or friend? Essentially, will it ruin the song’s chances with the majors if someone else cuts it?

Well lots of people have different opinions on this. Here’s my experience with it…

One of my first songplugging clients was hit songwriter Joe Doyle. Joe was completely ok with an indie artist cutting his songs, as he said….lots of my cuts have come from the indie artist opening for a major label artist. Go for it!

Then there’s Jason Aldean cutting “Dirt Road Anthem” after the song had been released by Brantley Gilbert. Brantley’s version was not a smash. Clearly Jason wanted to take a chance on it. Gotta say this is a rare thing...but it does happen.

Have you seen Walker Hayes’ #1 “Fancy Like” video and dance on Tik ok? Why do most of us love it? Because it’s fun. Even if all it ever was was a backyard lip sync and dance, I’m thinking we’d have heard about it. If you were an indie artist or indie songwriter and your song blew up on TikTok, well you might just be getting a pub deal or record label deal out of it these days ie. Priscilla Block, Andrew Jannikos.

I’m sure there are exceptions, but I don’t know of any situation where a major label refused to record a song where an indie artist or songwriter put it out first.

Jason Blume cited in a recent article that there are zero outside songs (songs not written by the artist) in the top 30 of the Billboard Hot 100 chart. And only 30% of Billboard’s Hot Country chart are outside songs. As songwriters, we need all the help we can get!

If you’re an unpublished, indie songwriter wanting to get a major label cut, you need some serious attention on the song, Something to brag about. Getting a ton of social views can go a long way to proving there’s a market for your song.

So I say...cut it! Have some fun with it. TikTok it! Open for major label artists and perform it...Or give it to an indie artist who can.

If you’re a songwriter like me, you have a whole bunch of songs that are just sitting around in a dusty catalog that need some love!

To increase your chances of getting a major label artist to cut your song, license songs to indie-artists.

If you are a publisher and have a different experience, please share it in the comments. Love to hear from you!!!

Good Luck Out There!

Nancy Deckant, CEO

PS Leave questions in the comments and I’ll circle back around to answer them ASAP.

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1 Comment

Suzanne Yada
Suzanne Yada
Nov 16, 2021

great advice, thank you nancy!

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