How To Construct An Email To A Publication For Coverage As A Musician

Your emails represent you and your music so ensuring it is professional, interesting, without ego and easy to read is utterly vital.

At some point in your musical career, you’ll be finding yourself emailing publications, blogs, and content creators to get them to cover your latest release. Thankfully, in the internet age, getting in contact with people is easier than ever. Most publications are a simple email away, most journalists are on Twitter, and content creators are everywhere. However, it is important to remember there are thousands of people like you, looking to get your music heard and covered. 

Throughout this article, I am going to talk you through how to write the perfect email based on my experience as a freelance PR manager. 

Step 1 – The subject

So, the first step is to create an engaging subject title, one that is snappy, informative but not too bloated. If you see the example above, you can see that I have included a previous accolade (establishing the artist as legitimate), the artist’s name, the format of release, and similar-sounding bands. All in one punchy sentence. This means that before the recipient has even read the email they know what to expect and if they are going to be interested. Remember, the subject title is the first thing they’ll see, it is vital this bit is perfect. 

Step 2 – Make sure you get their name right

This one’s easy and is simple manners, make sure the recipient’s name is correct when emailing them. It’s an easy mistake to do as you copy + paste your email but it will reflect poorly on you and make it seem you’re not invested in them as a creator/publication. 

Step 3 – The main body of the text should be short and simple and not over inflammatory. 

Your main body of the text should be nice and simple. Start with a simple pleasantry (i.e how are you?) and then explain why you are emailing and what sort of coverage you are wanting. See the example above for a good idea. 

Step 4 – Make sure media assets are attached and links are available in the body of the email

ALWAYS make sure your press release is attached before sending, having to send a follow-up with it attached is embarrassing and lowers your chance of being considered or taken seriously. Also within the body of text make sure you include your social media links, private links to the release (if it isn’t out yet), and single artwork with a solid press photo. All of this saves time and makes it easier for the recipient. 


If you have found this article helpful and want more advice on how to run your own PR as an independent musician then check out our previous article here.

5 quick ways to turn ideas into songs

How do you turn ideas into songs? Make more than just loops and lyrics with our guide to turning a musical idea into a full track.

Are you one of those producers who has lots of little ideas for tracks floating around on your hard drive, gathering digital dust? Catchy beats, or perfect chorus lyrics, that you excitedly dreamt up then abandoned; loops that sound amazing by themselves but haven’t been developed any further?

You’re not alone. Here are five tips to help turn your ideas into songs.


Keep one element of the idea and build upon it

What is it about your loop that you like? Start from a blank project and drop in just one element, and build from there – or take something out and see how it changes the feel. Have a go at changing up your chord progression, swapping to a minor key, changing the rhythm of the chords. No pressure – just play around until the ideas naturally flow from one to the other.


Stuck with lyrics? It’s story time

Every song, even the most commercial of pop songs, is telling a story. You might have come up with one great line, a killer intro, or a single verse with awesome rhyme and rhythm, and then lost the thread. Build upon that one lyrical theme by writing a story around it.

The song doesn’t need to start at the beginning of that story and finish at the end, but you might find it helpful to write down the journey of the song, even if it’s “boy meets girl, girl leaves him.” Basic choices, such as deciding on a happy or sad story, change which sounds you work with.

If “writing what you know” is making you draw a blank, imagine a new character or place instead of drawing from your own life. Quite often themes from your own emotions will feed into the song regardless.

The idea for “Caroline” by Arlo Parks came from the singer people-watching in London

Sort out the song structure

Before getting bogged down in details, have a think about the form you want your song to take. To kick-start an idea, choose a song to use as a reference track for the skeleton of your track’s structure. You’re not copying the song here, just using it at the start as a framework to get those creative juices flowing. It’ll help you come up with the different sections, from intro to outro, and you can switch things around later.

Check out our tips on song structure here.


Research

Still don’t know where to go next? Listen to a few songs in different genres. Try to remove yourself from the boxed-in idea of how you think your track should sound, and get inspired.

Put the idea away and return to it the next day, look at it with fresh eyes and ears and see if your perspective has changed. It’s also a good idea to step away from the mix, close your DAW and go for a walk around the block, to mull things over with a change of scene.

Talk to other producers for advice and inspiration – you might find that you end up joining forces and collaborating. Two heads are better than one – no more stubbornly struggling on alone and never finishing a track as a result.


Try a different approach

You might find yourself attached to the thought of using a sound or beat in a specific way, and feel like you can’t break out of that one mindset. Try introducing a completely different effect, or switching up the tempo; adding just one new instrument to your hook, or changing the piano sound to a synth. Sometimes that’s all it takes to spark something off. The pathway that emerges might well be completely different to the beat you started off with.


Some producers try and keep from getting into the situation in the first place by forcing themselves to keep going when they feel like they’re losing momentum. Sometimes you can’t sit around waiting for inspiration to strike – there’s nothing for it but to start throwing things into the mix to see what sticks.


Finally broken free from the loop curse and written an amazing full track? Why not release it. RouteNote can help with that. We can distribute your song to streaming services and stores for the world to discover. You can start to make money from music, and the best part is, it won’t cost you a penny. Find out more and sign up here.

How to export stems in FL Studio – a guide

Image Credit: Image-Line

Want to make stems of your tracks in FL Studio? Let’s break down the process of exporting separate tracks for mixing, mastering, or to use in your other music production projects.

User-friendly FL Studio makes it easy to export separate tracks from the DAW – so if you want to use your drumbeat in another track, you can track out the mixer tracks as individual “stems,” creating separate files for each.

You might for example want to use the kick drum beat in another song you’re producing. Once exported from FL Studio, you’re free to import the stems into whatever digital audio workstation you’d like, for final mixing and mastering, to send to an audio engineer, or use single tracks in future projects and remixes.

Let’s take a look at exporting all mixer tracks as individual Wave files; “wet” track outs with any effects you’ve applied still present on the track.

Follow these steps to export all the tracks on your mixer simultaneously, saving time so you don’t have to manually render stems out from FL Studio one by one.


1. First, make sure you’ve sent every track on the playlist to its own mixer channel.

That way, no sounds will be missed from the arrangement.

You can see which mixer channel your track is sent to from the channel rack.

2. Select the whole of your song, including extra space at the end to catch any tailing-off effects. Do this by clicking and dragging along the Timeline at the top of the playlist:

how to select all tracks fl studio

3. Go to File – Export – wave file

4. In the window that opens, choose a folder to export to or create one (name it “Stems” or something similar)

5. Make sure you’ve given your project a sensible name, and click “Save”

6. In the “Rendering” window that opens make sure that “Enable Insert Effects” and “Split Mixer Tracks” is selected:

There are various options available, such as choosing a bit depth.

“PDC Silence” for example keeps all your tracks in sync by trimming unwanted silence at the beginning of your tracks – so keep that on.

7. Hit “Start.”

All your individual tracks will now be separately saved to that the folder you chose. You can drag and drop them into a fresh project on FL Studio and they’ll line up in the same arrangement.


How do I export stems from FL Studio without effects?

If you want the dry mix of your tracks – without the reverb and other effects you’ve applied – the process is similar. Stay organised by making two folders in your “Stems” folder, named “Wet” and “Dry.” Then follow the same process, except save to your “Dry” folder, and uncheck the “Enable Insert Effects” setting.

Sending the tracks to someone else to mix for you? It’s a good idea to turn off any effects settings that aren’t creative sound design choices – like compressors and EQs – so that the engineer can make their own decisions about what sounds best. Keep effects like distortion and chorus turned on. Always ask the audio engineer what they’d prefer to work with.


How do I export the whole track?

If you’re happy with everything in your mix and you want to export the whole track for mastering, not split into loads of individual audio tracks, follow the exact same process but untick “Split Mixer Tracks.”


What quality do I export stems in on FL Studio?

If you’re listening casually or exporting for CD audio, then 16bit is fine. If you’re sending to an audio engineer, ask what they’d like, but 32Bit Float is the best quality for stems if you’re planning on editing the audio further or reusing a sweet little loop you’ve made.


Happy with how your song sounds? Time to let the world hear it. RouteNote distribute tracks to all the big streaming services and stores, so that musicians and producers can make money from their music. You can get your music online – for free. Find out more and sign up here.

How a DIY label can help an independent artist

Image credit: Kieran Webber

There are now more DIY labels operating successfully than perhaps ever before but how do they help artists?

DIY scenes are popping up all over the world and with that comes a wave of fantastic DIY labels, but how do these labels help independent artists? 

Recently we caught up with a wide range of labels from across the world who all work with a variety of genres. The interviews helped give us an insight into the DIY scenes as well as how they operate, most importantly how these labels help emerging and underground artists. 

A lot of artists will do most of the leg work themselves by creating their own music, touring, emailing, marketing, and everything else that comes with being an independent artist in the modern age. However, at some point a DIY label will be interested in working with them, some times it’s a friend or even another DIY artist. When approached by these labels there is much to think about, what’s their cut, why do they want to sign me, and how will this help me grow as an artist. 

It’s very much a partnership for most DIY labels as Angus (of Double A-Side) explains: “We try to have a meeting with bands we like in order to show interest and see what their plans for releases are.”

This idea of a partnership is backed by Callum of Copper Feast Records who says: “One of the key things we try to do is offer a deal to our artists which are balanced on both sides and gives them fair compensation for their work while still allowing us scope to grow and release more music.” Adding: “We offer a fair share of profits on physical releases with our artists which entitles them to half of the profit on a release with no expectation for them to stump up money upfront for a pressing, nor to buyout any unsold stock.” 

However, it’s not all about the money, most DIY labels want to help you and their scene grow, Callum explains: “We’re trying to foster something of a community spirit within the label to try to allow the bands to support one another, both domestically and abroad, and for fans to find more of a link between all the artists on our roster, in an attempt to bring new fans onto bands they otherwise might not have listened to.” 

It for this reason that many artists are looking to be signed to DIY labels, the idea of working together as opposed to the traditional big label ethos of them owning you and your music. Callum elaborates: “I’m also looking for artists that are willing to get stuck in on their end and be an active part of the decision making and release process to make it a truly collaborative experience between the two parties, rather than perhaps a ‘typical’ artist/label relationship where the label is calling the shots on various aspects of the release and the artist has no choice but to follow.”

DIY labels are carrying a new ethos and a new wave of thinking within the music industry, laying a path for a different way of getting your music heard. Not to mention bringing a much-needed shakeup in how label-artist relationships work. Joe Booley of Beth Shalom Records explains that working with artists is more than releasing their music: “We cover a wide range of services. Our main role across all campaigns is distribution, manufacturing and press, but we also offer tour bookings/promotions (when possible), some artists we work with on a management levels, and look to secure as many opportunities for our artists as possible. If there are certain things that maybe we can’t offer at that point, a lot of the time we know people we can either outsource it to, or even looking moving into that field ourselves.” 

As the industry changes it’s more apparent that DIY labels will be imperative for independent artists, working with them and molding their service around them. A bespoke experience that would be hard-pushed to be found in any major label. Easy distribution has also led to these labels providing a better, fairer experience and RouteNote is proud to serve as a tool for a wide variety of DIY labels across the world. 

Smart ways to use a low pass filter in your mix

What is a low pass filter? Make smart mixing moves with these useful tips for how to use low pass EQ in your music production.

Are you making the right EQ cuts in your music tracks? No idea what that means? Step this way to learn more about how to use a low pass filter and improve the sound of your music production.

The power of a low pass filter is sometimes forgotten, with producers automatically turning to high pass filters instead. But what does a low pass EQ do? Identify the best times to use a low pass filter with our quick tips.


What is a low pass filter?

A low pass filter is a type of EQ cut. Sometimes referred to as LPF, it’s a band setting you see on EQ plugins. Apply a low pass filter and the cut slopes down to the right of the EQ.


What does a low pass filter do?

The human ear can hear frequencies from about 20 Hz to 20000 Hz (20 kHz). Once applied, a low pass filter allows only the frequencies of your track that are below a certain frequency on the spectrum to pass through. You hear more of the low-end of sounds.


What’s so good about it?

Move sounds around in the mix with a LPF

One neat technique using a low pass filter creates the effect of a sound seeming further away from the listener than other unfiltered sounds. Notice that using a low pass filter makes the instrument seem as if it is sitting at the back, giving your mix a sense of depth, rather than all the sounds crowding at the front of the mix.


Separate out the sounds in the mix

What sits where in the mix? The frequency spectrum moves from bass at the bottom to sounds like vocals at the top. Instruments that are closer together on the spectrum can clash, creating a muddy, soupy effect.

One instrument might be taking up a larger area in the frequency spectrum than needed, bleeding onto other sounds. When using a low pass filter, you’re filtering out the inaudible frequencies from each sound so they don’t interfere with frequencies occupied by other instruments. Different sounds suddenly stand out much better than before.


Remove noise

Clean up your mix. A low pass filter is pretty effective at removing fuzz from recording. Placing the cutoff at the point where the hissing, or “noise”, is most noticeable will make for a clearer, more exact tone from the instrument.


Bring out certain instruments

A bass guitar is one instrument that loves a bit of low pass filtering. Sitting at the low end of the spectrum, applying a LPF means all those low frequencies pass through the filter with more clarity and oomph.


EQ’ing is mostly about making small smart cuts to keep interesting harmonics present, but still making sure everything blends in well together.

Beware: make sure you’re using your ears rather than your eyes when working with filters, as the visuals of a frequency spectrum can trick you into thinking you need to cut more than you do.


Happy for everyone to hear your finished mix? Talk to us about getting your song on streaming services like Spotify and Apple Music, and start making money from your music. Choose RouteNote as your digital music distributor and you can get your music online for free. Find out more and sign up here.

4 vital mental health guides for musicians from Mind

During Mental Health Awareness Week, UK charity Mind have published four guides to help those in the electronic music industry and beyond take care of their mental health.

Pressures like overworking, unstable income, isolation, and drug and alcohol abuse are known to be damaging to the mental health of artists and those working in the wider music industry. Musicians are up to three times more likely to suffer from depression than the general population.

To coincide with the current Mental Health Awareness Week, UK charity Mind has released four new guides to help musicians and producers manage their mental health, with particular focus on those in the electronic music sector.

Mind have partnered with Ninja Tune, POLY, Paradigm and Percolate to provide resources to help give those working in the electronic music industry the support they need to improve their mental health at work. The four guides are for organisations, artist managers, employees and freelancers.

As noted in the guidance:

“Industry professionals are often passionate about what they do. This means they may be vulnerable to exploitation and can feel guilty if their “dream job” affects their mental health.

There needs to be a greater focus on raising awareness of mental health across the electronic music industry. There’s a lot of stigma around mental health, for example people may feel ashamed of their difficulties or worry about how others will judge them.”

© Mind. This information is published in full at mind.org.uk

While the focus in the guides is on electronic music, the resources inside are applicable to the general music industry, aimed at encouraging people to support each other whilst also taking care of their own mental health. There’s also a spotlight on the impact of coronavirus and racial inequalities on the mental health of those in the electronic music sector. In the UK 9 in 10 professional musicians have reported that their mental health suffered over the course of the pandemic.


If you’ve been feeling under pressure, read our ten self-care tips for musicians struggling with mental health challenges. For a reminder of the joy to be found in music, check out RouteNote staff’s top choices of the music that has helped us get through tough times.

Find Mind’s mental health in electronic music resources here.

Music Minds Matter Helpline: 0808 802 8008

The top 20 best song intros of all time

What’s the most incredible introduction to a song you’ve ever had the honour of hearing? See if it’s made the RouteNote team’s picks of the most iconic song intros of all time.

Writing music and want to start your track with a bang? From the bizarre to the fiendishly catchy, we’ve compiled twenty songs that the RouteNote team have decreed contain the best song beginnings of all time. Expect killer basslines and pure cheesy pop genius.

In the cut-throat world of digital music streaming, standing out means everything. Trigger-happy listeners on Spotify are just waiting to hit the skip button, and you only get one chance to make a first impression. Listen to these iconic song introductions and get inspired to write a killer intro to your own song.


Michael Jackson – “Billie Jean”

Tom Tom Club – “Genius of Love”

Charles Mingus – “Moanin'”

Thundercat – “Them Changes”

Led Zeppelin – “Kashmir”

Screaming Jay Hawkins – “I Put a Spell on You”

Tame Impala – “The Less I Know the Better”

The Beatles – “Come Together”

Gorillaz – “Feel Good Inc.”

Muse – “Uprising”

Pink Floyd – “Money”

Hall & Oates – “You Make My Dreams (Come True)”

Queen – “Bohemian Rhapsody”

Europe – “The Final Countdown”

Fleetwood Mac – “Dreams”

Men At Work – “Down Under”

Gwen Stefani – “Rich Girl”

Meat Loaf – “Bat Out of Hell”

Red Hot Chili Peppers – “The Zephyr Song”

My Chemical Romance – “Welcome to the Black Parade”

There you have it, the RouteNote team have spoken. But what would you say is best beginning to a track? Let us know your favourite song intro in the comments.

Get music career advice from famous artists in new Spotify podcasts

Image Credit: Spotify for Artists

The Best Advice video series, in which artists pass on the best piece of advice they’ve ever received, has been relaunched by Spotify in a longer podcast form.

Spotify recently revamped their Best Advice videos as a new podcast series. The original video series began in 2018 and featured clips of artists including Phoebe Bridgers and The Killers passing on the best pieces of career advice and life guidance they’d ever received.

After deciding that the short videos didn’t leave enough room for deeper insight from the full interviews, the more intimate format of podcasts was chosen by Spotify instead, allowing for franker in-depth discussions.

Best Advice: The Podcast is the result. The series launched on 6 May with a double drop – one episode featuring Jeezy and another with Charli XCX offering artist advice.


In his episode, Atlanta rapper Jeezy talked candidly about learning to be comfortable with being uncomfortable in rooms with complicated business decisions being made over your head. He also urged that sticking to your principles is vitally important:

“No matter where you get to, no matter how it goes, no matter how it comes at you – the money, fame, temptations – just don’t lose your values, your morals, and your integrity because when it’s all said and done, you could have a billion dollars, 10 billion, if you don’t have those three things, you have nothing.”


Pop singer and songwriter Charli XCX meanwhile drilled home the importance of understanding all your contracts before you sign anything, and also highlighted the value of being openminded about collaboration:

“It’s important when you’re young and starting off to explore different types of people. Even I have to tell myself that now, because I can definitely be a bit of a snob when it comes to who I’m going to work with for my own work… I am very quick to judge and I’m very quick to be like, no that person isn’t right for me, without even having given them a chance or met them. There’s been so many situations like that where I’ve almost decided to pull the session, but then I’ve gone and that person has become one of my most long term collaborators.”


Episodes of Best Advice will be released on Spotify on Thursdays at 10am EST. Artists in the series line-up include Ashnikko, Conor Oberst, Hayley Kiyoko, Joey Bada$$, Princess Nokia, Russ, and Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan.

The Advantages & Disadvantages Of Running A DIY Label

Image credit: Kieran Webber

DIY labels play one of the most important roles in any DIY music scene and although the internet has made it easier for them to exist, it’s still has its positives and negatives.

We recently chatted to a variety of DIY labels from across the world, taking a deep dive into how they operate, how they help artists, and much more. A fruitful selection of interviews helped us discover more about the many DIY labels that are around today. Our discussions helped us uncover the many advantages and disadvantages that DIY labels face on a day-to-day basis. 

Throughout this article, we will be highlighting the answers regarding the ups and downs of running a DIY label with direct quotes from its owners. 

Do DIY labels have more control and freedom?

Much like DIY artists, DIY labels much prefer the outlook due to the freedom to create without limitations or big business holding you back. Not to mention interfering with artistic integrity. This is why both DIY artists and labels work so well with one another. As Lee Grimshaw, of Spinout Nuggets, explains: “The natural advantage is that you are able to do what you want, what you like and what you feel people should be listening to.” 

This sentiment is backed by Joe Booley of Beth Shalom Records: “The obvious advantage is control. Being able to work on every aspect of a release and see it through to the end is incredibly rewarding.” 

Meeting like-minded people and being part of something  

Like most people who work in the music industry, those that run DIY labels are music fans. So, as a label owner, you get to work and meet like-minded individuals as well as integrate yourself within the music scene. Fil of Blitzcat Records sums this up: “the friends you make with like-minded people along the way – artists, designers, writers, promoters, other labels – is banging.” 

Callum who owns the London via Australian psych label Copper Feast Records adds: “Being able to meet and work with all these incredible bands and make the big decisions involved to get their records out can have a massive payoff when the LPs arrive for the first time and all the hard work has a tangible result which we’re all incredibly proud of. It’s also really fulfilling when we can get the records to the bands as in a lot of cases, vinyl is only something they could have dreamed about releasing when they first started.” 

The empowerment of the internet 

The internet has become a powerful tool for creatives, never before has it been so easy to create a profile, a storefront, and target a global audience with such ease. Much like DIY artists, DIY labels have also thrived on the internet and used it as a tool to help them grow and even exist. As Joe from Beth Shalom explains: “We certainly wouldn’t have worked with some of the bands that we have in the past or even be able to have the customers we have which are stretched across the globe. So having the internet definitely makes it easier to operate the label and I’d struggle to know how to run it without it I think.” 

Talking about the power of the internet Callum of Copper Feast said: “Without that resource in terms of reach to bands, customers, scenes, record shops, and other key people in the industry, I’ve no idea where I’d have even begun with starting a label, never mind making it beyond the first release.”

This is backed by Angus of Double A-Side Records who explains: “That the internet has made everything more accessible. The information on offer and ways to interacts with fans and your favourite bands are easier than ever now.” 

It’s also allowed for labels to be able to communicate easier too, as Charlie Wyatt of Eeasy Records says: “If I had it my way I wouldn’t bother with any sites or channels but it’s stupid to think like that in these times. I mean emailing or DMing someone is infinitely more convenient and fast than cold calling Or writing a letter isn’t it?” 

As ever with DIY lack of funding and time management can be issues

As is always the plight of any DIY creative funding and time management can be an issue. Chris of Blitzcat Records explains: “What you quickly find out is that everything costs a lot of money.” This is something that is felt by all DIY labels, Joe Booley of Beth Shalom expands: “A huge disadvantage is not having the same financial backing that either bigger labels have or could have available through funding and partners.” 

Callum from Copper feast gives an insight into how this affects his label: “It can definitely be difficult just finding the time to do everything that needs to be done around here when you’re also juggling a day job and your personal life. I get by just about but there are inevitably things that we either can’t do or things that get pushed much further down the road than I would like until I actually have time to get them done. Of course, there’s also the financial side of things in that at least for these first few years, it only takes one unsuccessful release to put an end to our plans for the year until we can afford to release something again. We’re still very much reliant on every single order that comes in, so I can never be appreciative enough of all the fans that have supported us over the past 3 years.” 

Yet even in the face of all this, these labels make it work. Their dedication, passion, and drive are incredibly inspiring. Showing that it’s possible to chase your dreams, even if it doesn’t make you a millionaire. Each label is helping new and amazingly talented artists get discovered and allowing them to have their music pressed onto wax. DIY labels are the backbone to any solid DIY scene, not to mention vital for the growth of the wider music industry. If anyone deserves your support, especially after the pandemic it’s the DIY labels and communities in general. 

5 ways to hook listeners with a great song intro

What’s the best way to start to a song? We explore how to write a catchy song introduction, with music production techniques to stop people skipping your track.

Music fans have less patience than ever before. Research shows that a listener on a streaming platform like Spotify will hit skip on a song before even 30 seconds has passed if they’re not immediately entranced.

Whilst a gloomy fact, no doubt that has as much to do with personal preference as with the sheer amount of music being released each day – there’s only so many songs one person can give their full attention to, and there’s too much great new music around to stick with something you’re just not that into.

But how do you make sure your track doesn’t get skipped? Write a killer song intro, of course.

There are neat music production techniques that you can use to hook the listener, gaining their full attention quickly at the beginning of the track and keeping it until the end. Here are five examples of the best way to start a song.


Go straight in with the chorus

A big, catchy chorus is the gooey chocolatey centre of the cake, so why wait to reveal it? Hook the listener in by hitting them right between the ears with it from the word go. The Beach Boy’s “I Get Around” opens straight away with the main refrain.

Hall & Oates’ “Rich Girl” begins with the super-catchy chorus, leaving you waiting eagerly for it to come back around again.

Start with a fat riff

Some of the catchiest song introductions of all time open with the central riff; think synth classics “Jump” by Van Halen and “Just Can’t Get Enough” by Depeche Mode. Metallica’s “Enter Sandman” is a masterclass at building suspense with a simple, beefy riff that gets your head bobbing.

The most-streamed song on Spotify, “Shape of You” by Ed Sheeran, starts off determinedly out the gate with that irritatingly catchy lead line.

Treat the intro as a preview of what’s to come

Try taking a few tantalising instrumental lines or reversing a drumbeat for the first couple of bars of your song. The listener will be intrigued, and when the sampled elements return later, the ear will latch onto the familiar notes. “Everybody Wants To Rule The World” by Tears for Fears begins with the twinkling synth, rolling guitar line and a single held vocal note that later triumphantly repeats.

The Weeknd’s “Blinded By The Light”, the second-most streamed track on Spotify, starts with an eerie remix of the main riff before it properly kicks in for the first time.

Get weird

Nobody said a song has to start with any notes or beats whatsoever. Try drawing attention by using sound effects. Pink Floyd’s “Money” aptly opens with the sound of a cash drawer.

Great intros have been known to start with a guttural cry, as in the Libertines’ “Up The Bracket” or “Cry Baby” by Janis Joplin, or the triumphant “WHOA!” that begins James Brown’s “I Feel Good.”

The dorky vocal effect at the beginning of The Offspring’s “Pretty Fly For a White Guy” sets the mocking tone of the song, as well as pricking up listener’s ears.

Stay simple

Try starting your song with just a couple of elements, like just the vocal or a drumbeat, before building up the instrumental parts, making the listener curious as to what’s coming next. Blur’s “Song 2” begins with an intriguing tick-tocking drumbeat, whilst “Everlong” by Foo Fighters leads in with a quiet guitar before the rest of the band gradually enter. The piano note at the beginning of My Chemical Romance’s “Welcome to the Black Parade” builds more drama by being hauntingly simple.

The irresistible “September” by Earth, Wind & Fire assembles part by part before the horns hit.

The dominance of social media and the age of streaming means long artistic intros are out. With TikTok’s influence on the music charts right now, it’s more and more common for producers to start a song with a hook, hoping to attract use in social media content and spark a trend.

Listeners are likely to skip when a song is unfamiliar and they’re feeling particularly fickle. How you produce your track’s introduction depends on the style of music you’re making, but if you’re eyeing playlist adds and a high play count it pays to think cynically about how to start a song.

But as the above examples show, there’s no one successful way to write a song intro. Feeling lost? The best route is to listen to as much music as possible to get inspired, and analyse the parts you have already written, to see what elements might work best to announce the arrival of your track.

Now, check out our pick of the best song intros of all time.


Got that intro nailed and your song mixed and mastered to perfection? RouteNote can get your song on all the major stores streaming platforms and stores, so that you can start making money from music. The best part is, it’s completely free. Find out more and sign up today here.