Music Production: 10 Tips For Getting Signed To A Record Label
1. Be Professional
When sending an email to a record label try to keep the email as professional as possible, this is your first impression with them. Include things like your social media links, a brief description of yourself, upcoming shows, upcoming releases with other labels, and anything notable about you, such as big name followers, or notable releases that have charted or been featured on big music websites/channels/radios/blogs/whatever.
2. Know The Label
Listen to the stuff that the label is already releasing, make sure the song(s) you are sending for your demo would fit well with the label’s style and production quality. A label will most likely turn down songs that are below the quality of the stuff they are already releasing even if it has a good arrangement/groove.
3. Aim For New Labels
New labels are often searching for artists to help them grow and they will be more likely to sign your stuff. Who knows, you could even help that label grow to be a big influence on the music industry. A lot of the biggest labels in the world started off small with smaller artists.
4. Send A Press Release
A press release is a folder with a lot of different files about you for the label to view/use, such as your logos, press shots, discography list, and show contracts. Already having a press release with your email will show the label that you are proactive about expanding your fan base and getting shows/releases.
5. Speak With The Owner Directly
This is often hard with labels, especially bigger ones, but it’s worth it, and it increases your chances of getting signed with them by a lot because of the personal connection you've created with the label owner. If you can speak with the label owner in person, face to face, even better.
6. Listen With A New Set Of Ears
You could take this literally and ask for the opinions of other artists you look up to, which never hurts, but you could also simply look at your track(s) from a different point of view. You are more likely to like your own song(s) after you’ve completed them because you know what went into making them, you know how much hard work has been put in and you are proud of what you’ve made. Try to pretend that you didn’t make your track and that you are hearing it for the first time on the radio. Does it still sound good? Does it still have the same groove? Is the quality the same as the other songs playing on the radio?
7. Follow Instructions
After owning a label myself, I can tell you that a lot of labels have specific ways they want artists to send in their music. Most labels like to get an email with a link where they can privately stream your song and don’t have to download it from anywhere first. The “privately” part of this is key. Labels don’t want to release music that has already been released to the public, so make sure you send private links. A lot of labels ignore or delete demos that were sent in incorrectly, and you can’t get signed if they never listen to your music. Make sure to do some research and figure out how each label asks that you send in your demos and follow their instructions as much as possible.
8. Be Patient
It can take a long time for a label to reply to your demo, and the chances are, the bigger the label, the longer it will take for them to reply. This is for a variety of reasons, but the main one is that the bigger the label, the more demos. Think about it, each and every demo has to be opened, read, listened to, and responded to. This can take some time. Also keep in mind that indie labels might also take a while simply because their owner may have things to do regarding their own personal lives. You wouldn't want to settle for a backup label only to have the main label you wanted to release on message you saying they loved your music a week after you've signed with the backup label.
9. Don't Get Discouraged
Most artists get declined at least a few times before they ever see that contract. Use it as motivation to work harder on your next song so that they will want to sign it.
10. Get Connected
If you already know someone that is releasing with the label you are going for, or has in the past, ask them if you can use them as a recommendation. Labels will be more interested in you simply because one of their artists is backing you up.