The Best Ways of Approaching An Agent.

We regularly receive emails from composers, just starting out or already established, who are looking for representation. We make a point of listening to every submission.

In their emails, composers ask lots of questions about how to get representation. Here then, are some pointers.

1. Carefully define your product (and continually refine it). That is to say, make sure you have a slick showreel to show producers, along with an as slick website to put it on.

It needs to be easy to navigate and show you in the best possible light. Your website showcases you. Think of a cool name for it if it's not going to be your own. It’s your shop window which displays your brand. A link to a faceless Soundcloud page isn’t particularly engaging – it needs to be all about you. Put on it a professional picture of yourself. And write a biog with a credit list if you have one.

It’s as much about presentation as about talent, which has, needless to say, to be an absolute given, for which see point 2…

2. Be better than and different to the competition. What makes those legendary film composers legendary? They’ve worked on and refined their craft for years and have established their own unique voice.

We represent talented composers, all very different to each other in style. They have a niche that makes them stand out. Their signature style is very important as a selling point to producers and directors alike. Find your style and develop it so that you can present it as something fresh and original to producers.

3. Benchmark from the competition. Do you want to work in music for advertising? Listen to advertising composers’ work. Ask yourself why their music is on this advert. Is your ambition to be a film or TV composer? Listen to writers of your favourite TV drama or the latest English film hit and try to ascertain what it is within their sound which stands out.

4. Don’t give up, but know when to move on. Follow our 3 P’s: Passion, Professionalism, Persistence. It’s the worst thing when you come to a dead-end. If you hit a wall, try to get round it another way. If you don’t get a reply to your email, then call (or vice versa). If you still don’t get a reply, try again. And then move on. Be discerning about who you approach, but approach with confidence and with the belief in your offering. 9 out of 10 times it may be a polite ’no thanks', but that 1 ‘yes’ or ‘maybe’ is worth the investment...

Then, once you have some accreditation through developing your musical voice, you will be in the best position to approach the right composer agency for representation. Remember some composer agencies specialise in different genres - for example, The Composerworks is known for its work in the children’s television and documentary arenas.

Whichever agency you contact, just keep going and don't be perturbed. If you can begin to establish relationships then the work will follow eventually.

5. Do's / Don'ts: And finally, if you do decide to get in touch with us or any other agency, here are a few tips about how to make an approach professionally:

- Be personal in your style (copying/pasting is easy to spot!);

- Be short, concise and spell check;

- Don’t attach music files (just link to your website instead);

- Don't email everyone at the agency (or cc other agencies!), just pick one contact to write to;

- And, of course, do say what makes you stand out from the crowd...

Steve Berman is MD at The Composerworks. Follow us for more insights.

This article was first published in 2019.