The Secret This Songwriter Used to Become a Recording Artist


For nearly a decade, Mickey Shiloh wrote music for others. Now, she’s writing music for herself.

But doing so can be difficult, both artistically and financially.

Shiloh wrote hits for the likes of Janet Jackson, Britney Spears, Pitbull, and Jennifer Lopez. That meant writing music designed for those artists, their voice, and their sound. Now that she’s releasing music under her own name, she’s had to develop her own sound rather than adapt to the sounds of others.

“It’s hard,” she says. “As a songwriter, you’re giving others a piece of your own artistry. I’m giving them a piece of myself. And if they sound like me, how can I come out with my own sound?”

What’s more, there’s a lot more work and costs involved in recording and releasing your own music as opposed to just songwriting. The recording and promotional costs alone quickly add up, especially for artists outside the label system like Shiloh.

So she turned to one solution for both problems—Royalty Exchange. A producer friend of hers who previously used Royalty Exchange to raise money turned her onto the idea of selling a portion of her back catalog to do the same.

Selling her old catalog gave Shiloh the artistic closure she needed to put her work for others behind her, and begin putting the work for herself first.

“It’s perfect because now I’m focused more on my own stuff rather than trying to land placements for the old stuff,” she said. “I’m not playing that game anymore.”

It also gave her the funding she needed to make her musical vision possible.

Shiloh is a DIY artist, which means she prefers to forge her own path—recording her own music in-house, producing her own videos, and more. That takes funding, and creative means to finding it.

The royalties she was earning from her old catalog were making just over $2,000 a year. Not enough to really put to use in a meaningful way. Her last publishing deal just ended. But she didn’t want to enter a new one because doing so would mean committing to writing session for other artists rather than writing for herself.

“That’s not my goal any more,” she said. “I’ve lived that life. I’d rather get money for something I’ve already done.”

So she listed the songwriter's share of her catalog on Royalty Exchange (keeping her publishing) at a starting price of $4,500. Three days and 56 bids later, the closing price ended at $20,500, far more than she expected and more than enough to fund her projects.

“It was really incredible. A godsend,” Shiloh said. “The last few minutes were the best. Really fun, and that was the most exciting part.”

With the proceeds, Shiloh has supported the distribution of two EPs of her own music, funded a social marketing campaign, and paid for her first music video in support of the single “Zen.”

“It took me a while to get adjusted to the idea of selling,” Shiloh said. “But once I understood that I could sell my songwriter's share and keep my publishing, it just felt right. Now I’m moving forward with a fresh start.”

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