This episode was previously published on the Profitable Musician Show.
Jake Tuton, the head of the artist community, talks about Songfinch. The different artists in this community help create songs for people based on their stories and memories, which is a win-win situation for both the artist and the customer.
Songfinch has been around since 2016, but has been on an agressive climb since 2020. They facilitate customized personalized songs and they have a network of independent artists, songwriters and musicians that are compensated to create and facilitate these songs. People purchase customer music and are very happy to receive it.
People ask for different types of songs. There are the standard stuff for weddings, birthdays, anniversaries and such. Then there are the quirky fun stuff like writing a song from the perspective of the do to the mom. Some requests have been for intense stuff like “Thank you for adopting me” kind of things. They run a gamut from very intense and heartfelt to silly and goofy.
For $200, you just need to fill out a questionnaire where you can specify the type of genre, your preferred singing voice, for what occasion, and background story. Then they receive a beautifully curated radio-quality custom song in seven days.
Artists would need to provide a high-end demo for the song. You need to be able to put a nice mix on the track, add some EQ and that sort of things, but you don’t need to send it out to get mastered and it doesn’t need to be a 64-track masterpiece. A lot of time, it’s instrumentation.
The customer can give recommendations on the tempo and mood of the song. Songfinch would then link the request to an artist that they see fit. Once the artist receives the song opportunity, they can either accept or deny it. If you accept it, then you would write and record the song to the information provided in the brief.
Each song on the customer side is 100% personalized and customized. On the artist’s side, the lyrics 100% have to be new and specific to each song. It has to be new lyrically. A little bit of melodies or instrumentation can be repurposed.
The artist retains full rights, the master, the publishing, and the copyright. Songfinch then offers the customer a personal use license so they could post it on their Facebook and things like that, but they can’t do anything to monetize it at all. The artists, because they own the copyright, save and write a song for each song and have a choice to put it on their EP or album. They own it.
It’s like having the incentive of getting more ideas to write new music. You can rerecord the songs to remove names etc, but it could basically spark a cool idea for a song that could be on your EP. Songfinch basically wants artists to be constantly active and writing.
Currently, they have approximately 1, 500 artists. As 1, 2 or 3 or hopefully dozens of them continue to grow in their career, let’s say they “make it” or whatever that means to become an A-lister. One exciting prospect is having a song from an artist even before he or she becomes well-known.
Songfinch is constantly recruiting artists. They are doing about 3,500 songs per week. On average, artists receive three songs per week. A lot of that depends on the genre and the orders that are coming through. Right now, country orders are far surpassing hip-hop orders because of the nature of the beats. They were getting 3,000 to 4,000 accomplished per week, which is so fun and exciting. People at Songfinch are so grateful with how things are turning out.
Their impressive sales is mainly due to their marketing team. A lot of it is internet stuff like SEO, Targeted Ads and such. One big driver is word of mouth. Usually, when someone receives a song or makes a song, they end up posting about it and telling all their friends about it. There are a lot of repeat customers and a lot of word-of-mouth action.
As of now, they do case-by-case mode for song requests. If a request comes up for something like a song for a podcast, it will probably be treated as a corporate offering and do a side conversation to figure out the best price point.
Songfinch was built in the footprint of a sync licensing company, by the way. Our founders had a sync licensing company for the long haul. The good news is they have a high level of IQ, acumen and lexicon in that world. Let’s say it was dealing with the number one podcast in the world. They would have the acumen to figure out a new site, deal, contract, etc. If it’s straight-up through the Songfinch channels, basically all you have is a personal use license.
Since artists have seven days to produce a song, they have the choice of marking themselves with “Take a break” if they are busy, unavailable, or you go on a tour. You can take a break and mark yourself as available again when you’re back. Artists can come and go as they please.
Artists need to be communicative. If one is offered a song, they have limited time to produce it. The offer comes via email to the artists. The artists have 24 hours to say yes or no. Let’s assume the artist says yes, their window is four days and record the song because the customer window is set. They get it to us on day four. We listen, go over it with a fine-tooth comb and then get it to the customer in seven or less. It’s even a quicker turnaround, which sounds daunting, but once you get in the groove of these things and you know the wave of it and your formula, it’s not as daunting as it seems.
One reason artists enjoy Songfinch is that they take care of the organization for artists. Matters like customer communication, and handling payments are all taken care of.
Production templates make things easier. Jake uses Logic Pro. He’s got song finished templates. He knows exactly what the tracks are. They’re already mixed. It needs to be fine tuned, but the base is there. The template quite literally is there. If he’ll be doing a Songfinch song, he pulls up a song session. He can access his twelve tracks and decide what he’s doing.
Songfinch has five-star rating of 98% or something like that. If by any chance the customer does not like the song, it will be for evaluation. Songfinch will check all the boxes. You asked for a female acoustic uptempo, and they gave you a female acoustic uptempo. They may ask you to pay a small fee to circle your way back around. Now, if the mistake is on Songfinch’s end or the artist’s, they will absolutely handle it free of charge. Consider it done.
Sometimes, if everything is done right by the artist but the customer has a small request, there will be a small revision fee.
Applying as an artist for Songfinch
Jake shares “You can apply on our website site at Songfinch.com under the community tab. Scroll down to the bottom. What happens there is you give us a little bit of info information about yourself and usually a link to whatever music you have, like Spotify or SoundCloud. Our team will review that link and if we say, “This would be a good fit.” We’ll invite you to take the next steps, which is an audition song, like a verse in a chorus, under a minute just to get an idea of, “Can you write? What’s the recording sound from home? A lot of times, the Spotify link you might get from an artist is recorded in a professional studio, but what are you doing from the home studio?
Audition song and then assuming that goes well, we say, “Welcome to Songfinch.” We’ll keep close ties with you in a good way for your first opportunity. Do you understand it? Do you have all the information you think? We have a great artist service and development team. Hats off to all of them. Once you’re off and running, it’s like, “Training wheels off. Go them, tiger. Have fun.”
In my experience, it’s writing for the song, which, if you have the skill set, which I know is so easy to say. It’s easy and if you don’t have the skill set, it can be a little bit of an uphill battle. It’s like getting the artists to the place of educating and encouraging them to get to that Songfinch space. We’ve got people that are amazing talents, but sometimes writing to a brief isn’t their thing.”
Songfinch artists run everything from the gamut from someone at Belmont who is literally in their dorm room and twenty years old but has a great sound all the way up to Grammy Award winners and people who have major cuts with like Tim McGraw. They care about all of their artists, but they speak into the bell curve. You can be at the forefront of your career or you could already be thriving. As long as the musical quality is there, they are not overly concerned about your resume up to this point.
How much artists make per song brief
It’s a 50/50 split between the artist and Songfinch. $199 is the customer cost. The artist gets paid $100 for that. Of that, there’s some added incentive too. Right now, it’s $100 base. If the customer can add an additional verse, that’ll bump it up by $40. Customers are given the opportunity to add gratuity, which happens on about a third of the orders.
Generally, people tip $20, $30, $40, but some have given $300 or $500.
Songfinch wants to feed that middle-class artist that is so close, but they’re still having to do their side hustles. Their goal is like, “Let’s get you out of that side hustle. Let’s maybe with all the respect to all the side hustles, let’s stop driving and dropping off food and being a bar back. Let’s write three songs a week and be a full-time musician instead.”
You’re strengthening your core crafts, which are writing, recording, and building a catalog while at the same time making money up front and building genuine, authentic fan connections.
Once a song is sent to a customer, the artist can choose to release it as a single whenever he wants. It’s all up to the artist and he owns the rights. “Stealing a phrase from one of our founders, but it’s a karma flywheel of just happiness and that sort of thing. The customer is happy, and the artists are happy. There’s not a downside genuinely because it is artists-friendly rights. Everyone’s always waiting for that other shoe to drop. We are facilitating a lot of happiness from every angle of the process.”
Find them at Songfinch.com. All their social media handles are @Songfinch.
- @Songfinch – Instagram
- Twitter – Songfinch
- TikTok – Songfinch
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