If your productions are tight and ready to go, and you have been looking for ways to get labels to sign your tracks, the natural next step would be to send out a ton of demos to labels and wait for them to call you back with a deal. It’s time to start living the dream right? You’ve done all your homework and followed the advice you’ve read online about how to get the attention of label reps. The thing is, and I hate to break it to you, there is another bit of info you probably don’t want to hear, but it’s important that you know.
Labels don’t want you to contact them.
Many labels won’t come out and actually say, stay away don’t bother, but before you throw in the towel let me try to explain what this means in the most helpful, and constructive way. I’m also speaking from experience here, so please don’t assume this is standard for every label.
With the enormous and ever increasing stage called social media, a never-ending flood of new artists emerging daily, all wanting the same thing – your attention. With free and new tools available to make marketing and promotion easier by the day, the credibility of the ‘artist’ has become diluted from the perspective of the consumer.
Whether you believe this is good or bad, a new impression has been created which is:
- Everyone is a producer, and,
- They all seek some level of attention because they’re not getting in touch. Ironically, people want to listen to music more than ever, but the vast flood of new music leaves many listeners overwhelmed by it all. It’s the same experience for labels.
After such an onslaught of new artists sending in demos many labels become numb to the possibility of finding something great. This makes it harder for those who are truly deserving of attention and recognition.
Does this all mean to give up and stop sending in demos? I would say not necessarily. I’ve covered this topic in previous posts, but I’ll cover this point a more in depth here.
There is one important statement I’d like to point make out about our industry though: The whole concept of promotion has become obsolete and alienated. I’m talking specifically about the promotion from artists to label, artists to fans, artists to promoters as well as labels to DJs and labels to fans.
But still, labels will always find quality music and prefer if they find you. This is a fact. Think of Perlon for instance, they largely release music from their circle of friends and the track to be released will need to be tested by the core of the label (Zip mainly, but Ricardo too) in multiple contexts to see how well it’s received by the crowd. Serious label owners have a very particular vision of their sound platform, and your music will (in many cases) need to follow their established sound to get signed.
In my honest opinion: if you want to be on a label’s radar, you will get better results by getting played by DJs.
Besides music, labels are searching for these traits in you:
Patience. this is perhaps the most prized trait a label will appreciate from you. In this fast paced world, patience is not only rare but it is also a quality that we all need to work on. It’s about having trust that things will work out in the end and that one’s results will be something that happens in some distant future. Parallel to patience, this goes hand in hand with trust. One goes with the other. It means to be able to have a bigger picture of things, that perhaps somewhere down the road, something great will be happening. Maybe not… but to not lose patience over delays is critical as these are common in the music industry.
Get organized. Being organized is super important and will make everything easier. An organized artist should have a solid promo kit on hand – professional photos, your music project and files in order, ready to be retouched or fixed in case of a problem. There’s nothing more annoying than having to go back to fix a sound, but if you’re all over the place, you might cause delays which then moves the entire schedule, or can even destroy your opportunity for exposure. It’s helpful to start off your productions right, follow these mixing and production tips and save yourself headaches later.
Reactivity. Fast replies to emails, answering promptly, precision with your communication will make you pretty awesome to work with. Busy people appreciate this, and it goes a long way.
Flexibility. This is the opposite of being finicky. Things will never be perfect so let’s try to make the best of it.
In the end, it’s up to you to put in the work, which can be made easier when you step back and look at the big picture. What are your goals? Work backward and determine what action needs to be taken in order to achieve your goals. Take a minute and check out my guide to shameless self-promotion here. Add in a little good luck, some magic here and there, and consistent focused daily efforts. Best of luck to you ~