songwriting pluggers and agents

Songwriting Pluggers and Agents

Should I Get A
Song Plugger or Booking Agent?

If you’re like most songwriters, you have probably dreamed of the day you have a team of people helping you promote your songs and who also have your back. Which route do you take? Do you hire a publicist, work with a booking agent, or an independent song plugger? In this ever-changing music industry, you may be having a hard time deciding which person is worth adding to your team.

As you develop your natural born talents and start building your own personal song catalog, it is natural to want to find more ways to share your songs with the rest of the world. While songwriting often starts out as a lonely venture, most creative artists start feeling the need to share their creations with more people. At that point, it might be worth looking at hiring someone to help you promote yourself and your songs.

What Is the Difference Between a Song Plugger and a Booking Agent?

There are advantages and disadvantages to both song pluggers and agents, and which one you choose depends on your current needs, how you want to pay right now, and what you are currently trying to accomplish.

songwriting contractBooking Agents

In the narrowest definition of the word, an (a booking??) agent is a person who makes live music happen. Your agent is the one who will help you find a gig, negotiate a good contract on the gig, and make sure everything goes smoothly during the job, including getting paid.

Your agent can also help promote any live shows to help get people in the door. Depending on how much you play and what your other responsibilities are, this could mean that your agent does all of these jobs:

  • Works with other bands, labels and, management to ensure the dates will fit into the schedule,
  • Personally contacts the other promoters to coordinate dates
  • Contacts each venue to assure availability and the condition of the property, and
  • Arranges the contracts

The contract won’t just include how much you and your band will get paid. It will describe your other responsibilities if the venue has any special rules. The contract will also include protection for you and your equipment, and it will allow you to present a guest list of those who are allowed.

how does a booking agent get paidHow Does the Agent Get Paid?

The agent typically gets a cut from whatever you get in ticket sales. That basically means that if you don’t get paid, neither does your agent. That is a great incentive for your agent to assist you in becoming successful.


songwriting pluggerSo, What Is a Music Plugger?

You may or may not have heard of music pluggers before. A music (or song) plugger is someone who “pitches” songs to record labels, producers, managers and anyone else connected to an artist. They represent the song and try to get it into the right hands. If you are a staff writer at a publishing company, the in-house song pluggers will “work” your material. They have the connections to get your songs into the right hands.

Song pluggers have the right connections to get into doors usually locked to outsiders. It’s understandable why successful recording artists and producers can’t accept unsolicited work from unknown writers. In addition to not having the time to listen to the songs, they have to protect themselves from potential lawsuits and copyright issues.

writing a songThe Right Match

What if you don’t have a publishing deal? You might consider hiring an independent song plugger. One of the biggest ways a song plugger can help is by finding the right artist for your work and get it to the right people. Song pluggers know which artists and producers are most likely to be open to new material, and which ones will like what you have to offer. They have specialized knowledge and a reputation within the music industry that they can use to help their clients get noticed by people who can help. A good song plugger is connected, with his or her ear to the ground, and knows about new projects going on and who is looking for songs.

songwriting plugger meetingWhat Do Song Pluggers Actually Do?

Song pluggers are often individuals who have experienced the music industry from a personal level. They can match your style and work with the right people, can potentially help you negotiate contracts, and even give you guidance as to which of your songs should be offered first. Just because a song does well in a specific songwriting contest doesn’t necessarily mean it will be a big hit.

A good music plugger can help you find success much more quickly than if you use more traditional methods to get your name out. Like with anything else, you need to be careful when starting a new relationship in the music industry. Make sure you choose a music plugger who has a good reputation and is known for being honest. Usually, reputable song pluggers will only take a piece of your song’s publishing when they get it cut. Be careful about paying someone a monthly salary. Ask around and make sure they have a solid track record and are out working your songs. No matter what, make sure to hire an attorney to carefully read over the contract and negotiate on your behalf. There is no such thing as a standard contract. Make sure to do your homework, with whomever you do business.

If you are ready to take your career to the next level and meet your long-term goals, you might want to think about working with a song plugger or booking agent. In the meantime, submitting songs in songwriting competitions to get feedback can help you present your songs in the best light and prepare you for the next stage in your career.


You might also like these related blogs on songwriting:
Top Tools For Songwriting
How to Sell A Song
Songwriting Contest Tips

About us: Foxhedge Music is a management company and recording studio located in historic Leipers Fork. Our mission is to support and encourage songwriters. We believe they are the back-beat of Music City, while we continue to invest our time and resources in the Music City community. Through the Music City SongStar Songwriting Contest, we want to give songwriters a chance to have their music heard. We’re believers in creativity, chasing dreams and getting the chance to pursue your passion.

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