Tag Archive for: submitting music to labels

Is My Song Good?


I can’t tell you how many times I’ve been asked that question, and asked myself the same thing – is my song good? With experience releasing my own records and working on amazing projects that inspire me nearly every day, I know what I like in a song to call it good or know it’s potential. But what defines that exactly?


I believe there are 3 ways to look at your track to determine if your song is good.

  • Your personal feeling about the track. Can you listen to your track from beginning to end with your eyes closed? This is usually what many people (myself included) do to test it, some people swear by a car ride listen. In the end no matter how cliché this sounds, what YOU think is really important.
  • Feedback from others. I’ve been talking about the importance of your network and how to connect with other producers you can trust. Share your track with 5 closely trusted people and take in their feedback.
  • Professionals’ (real world) views. If you can find one to two guys that can play your tracks in real events or in podcasts, this is will be precious feedback. Playing your music among others will make little difference truly know – perhaps one sound is too loud or the arrangements is too wonky to mix. Listen to what they have to say.


Sometimes a change in mindset is key to breaking through barriers. Starting today, let’s re-shape your way of making and sharing your music.

I’ve seen some interesting success behind the concept I’ve been sharing with those I coach and will share it with you in this post. Before I do that I want to say that if your intentions are to get signed to a labelposting a full song on Soundcloud is a bad idea.

Even if your song is really good most labels don’t like that a track has been available or overheard before they’ve released it. In an ideal world, labels want to be the first ones to hear you and discover you. But the truth is, we all know how frustrating it is to reach out to them and never hear back.
Posting a snippet of about 1 minute 30 (to 2 minutes, maximum) is a good and safe bet.

With this preview you’ll show what your track has going for it, and your skills as a producer will be front and center.

Why not focus on making and developing ideas of 1 minute 30 that you expose and share on Soundcloud?

If this idea sounds like a bad one to you, try this experiment for a few weeks. For sure you’ll soon see what tunes get people’s attention and make a buzz. For sure you’ll find out that your assumptions might very well be wrong. Then go revisit any of those projects that were appreciated by the most people.


What you are doing here is very similar to A/B testing, a commonly used process in marketing for testing out different products to see how people like one from another. In this case we’re posting music, watching what get’s more attention, focusing on what listeners seem to want more of, and then finishing those tracks.
It’s all about presentation. Dress for success right?
You can go so far as to create enigmatic, invested EP of your own with great artwork. People definitely love that kind of presentation and it WILL draw attention. In the best case scenario (that I’ve recently seen happen) a label may notice this full package, and sign the project as is. If a label comes calling be sure you make them wait too long 🙂

The thing that makes a success isn’t one specific thing, it’s the combination of various assets: doing the right thing, at the right time, presented to the right people.

If Micheal Jackson released Thriller today, the odds of that album having the success it had back then would likely never have the same impact.
Another thing that’s important to consider is the question of what are people usually looking for in a new song?

  • Quality samples, effects.
  • A good balance of new ideas with something they can relate to.
  • Overall, tight arrangements, mixdown, (this can make a difference but don’t bet on that alone to save a pale idea).

In the end, it’s most important to remember this –
Don’t let other’s decide if your music is good.
Don’t let commercial results determine the success of your track.


As always I want to hear your thoughts and comments about this post. Feel free to share with your friends, and leave me a comment below.

JP –

SEE ALSO : Checklist to see if my song is finished

The Changing Dos and Don’ts of Contacting Record Labels

It’s understandable that producers can let their eagerness get the best of them when contacting record labels. They might make one or a few tracks, and then immediately start to hunt for a label to release them. This is not the most effective strategy though, for a few reasons.

vinyl records, store, shoppingTry to think of it from the labels’ point of view. You get a generic email where someone you know nothing about tells you they “love your label,” and straight away asks you to listen to their music. It kind of looks like a phishing scam…

How do they know you love their label? How do they know you’ve been following their recent releases and aren’t referencing something they put out 5 or 10 years ago?

It’s true that in an ideal world, the music would speak for itself. But in a world where label managers are stretched thin and flooded by email requests from hundreds or thousands of aspiring artists like you, they have to filter their messages. The few emails that catch their attention are the ones that look professional and make a real connection. Remember, they have their own roster of artists do keep up with as well.

It requires a lot of hard work, persistence, and patience. To give you an idea of how difficult it is: since I founded Archipel almost 12 years ago, only 4 (yes, 4!) of our releases began with email outreach. It took all of the producers multiple email attempts to reach me, and we had many conversations before they led to anything concrete.

The problem is that many producers have been formatted into an old approach that’s become obsolete. Gone are the days of label-hunting as a transaction — you send a demo, they like it, bam, you get signed. There are just too many producers and too few labels out there for it to work like that anymore.

Today it’s all about building up trust and establishing a relationship, to eventually get to the point where the label feels comfortable investing in your success.

In short, finding your label match is a process with many steps, and every step — especially that first contact — is equally important. You can’t just skip ahead to the finish line.

The good news is that the first step is the hardest part, which is just getting a reply. You should always do your homework to know who you’re dealing with and what the label’s been up to most recently. Then you can try to get your toe in the door by engaging a conversation, but keeping it brief.

A good strategy is to ask short questions that are quick and easy for them to answer, and that show you’re genuinely interested in their work.

For example, does the label have room in their calendar for new releases? What direction are they pursuing in the next few months?

Our approach to contacting record labels needs to evolve to adapt to new realities.These exploratory questions are useful for you too. They’ll save you time and help you decide if it could be a good match. Try to think of it as a job hunt. Be friendly and courteous, and most importantly, don’t make it all about you. What they really want to know is what you’ll bring to the label, and whether there’s the potential for a fruitful collaboration over time. It has to work for both of you.

Just as resumes are being increasingly overshadowed by LinkedIn in the job market, networking and relationship-building are changing the way artists and labels connect. The game has changed, and we need to change our approach to adapt.

At the end of the day, the winners will be the ones who are invested, persistent and consistent over time, so that they’re well-positioned when the right moment arrives.


  SEE ALSO :   How To Define Your Label’s Identity With Your Sound Engineer  


Getting signed to a label

One of the things I notice most from the artists I hang out with is how obsessed they can be about getting signed to a label.

But one of the main reasons people fail is that they’re doing it wrong.

You probably already know how to send in a demo, but do you know how to pick a label? Just like when picking a reference track, you need to find all possible references of the label you want to work with. You need to do your homework.

Don’t get me wrong. Even when I make a new track, there’s always that little voice at the back of my head saying, “Oh, this might fit this or that label.” And if I’ve been contacted recently, then I might if you're having trouble getting signed to a label, you could be targeting the wrong peoplealready have a lead, which makes it easier. Admittedly, at my stage I have a lot of contacts and receive a lot requests, plus I run my own record label, so the question of where to publish my music isn’t as much of an issue. But still, sometimes it is.

If your approach isn’t succeeding in getting you signed, it could be that you’re poorly targeting the labels you’re submitting to. In other words, labels don’t always sign artists for their music only.

They make decisions based on a number of considerations.

Does your approach match how they think? Getting to an A&R (the “artists and repertoire” division of labels) is not easy. You need to find who picks the label’s music so you can submit your music to them. Forget writing to random email addresses or messaging Soundcloud profiles. Trust me, it doesn’t work this way. Instead, try reaching out to an artist who’s already on board to find the right contact. If you can meet them in person, it’s always the best thing to do.

Do you share the same networks? Are you friends with artists on the label? Are you following the same artists on Soundcloud? Is the A&R friends with some of your friends on Facebook? Being socially close to them can really help.

Does your profile answer a need? This one is crucial. Each label has its own ways of doing things and is carefully building up its catalogue just like a DJ prepares their set for a gig. If you’re a DJ, you know that you want certain tracks in your set. You’re avidly searching for a specific sound or rhythm, or a particular song structure, mood, or tone. A label owner has musical needs too. They usually follow trends partly, but they also flow from past influences. It helps to refer to the label’s past releases, but it’s even better if you’re up on what they’re into now. This can be a game-changer.


One of the biggest challenges is to find the perfect match between an artist and a record label The biggest challenge nowadays is to find the perfect match between a label and an artist. Exactly like love, there’s a perfect match for you out there, but how to find it is something that technology has yet to achieve. So, how do you find your label?

Well, first let’s examine a little scenario to give us some context. Let’s say you finished a track based on a reference track by X artist. That reference track is your biggest lead for whom to send it to. But if you’re not yet well known or have very few releases to your name, then sending it to the best or biggest label out there — even if your reference track is released with them — is a very bad idea. Not only are huge labels swamped with demo submissions, but they’re also super picky. The fact is that your reference track likely had to follow a winding road to get that label. So let’s investigate.


Finding your label match takes time, patience, and lots of research. Here are a few cues of where to start.

Soundcloud. The holy grail of every possible kind of music, from unreleased to released, and featuring every possible label out there. Have a close look at your potential labels, and check out who they follow and who follows them. Dig, dig, and keep on digging. Give attention to who leaves comments. Those guys can be really useful because they might like various labels/artists you’re investigating.

DJ sets. Listen to DJ sets to find who plays music like yours. Get the track lists to find out what they play, find what other tracks DJs like to mix those with, and then investigate the artists similar to you and see what labels they’re on. Mixcloud also provides tracklists for DJ sets.

Beatport is a great tool for researching music and labels


Charts. Once you have a track list, go on Beatport to find charts and recommendations. You can find a bunch of labels there, so check out their back catalogues and investigate some more.




Discogs. Browse the discographies and look at past releases. When you select one, Discogs will offer you album suggestions, which in turn can point you to more labels. You can really dig deep that way.

Discogs is another way to discover new music and record labels

Spotify also offers new music recommendations, which will help you find new labels to submit toSpotify. This is another way to find new music. When you select an artist, it will give you suggestions. Note how whenever you swap from one to another, the algorithms will formulate new recommendations.


Think away, do your homework, and plan carefully before submitting your demos. Our label gets so many demos that we can allow ourselves to be very picky, and it’s the same for many of them out there. It’s about much more than presentation at this point — it’s about being spot on with who you target, and then selling yourself with a push from someone they know and respect. You’ll have a much harder time if you try to go it alone.

SEE ALSO : Besides music, labels are searching for these traits 

Dealing with Past Mistakes

I was chatting with a producer friend of mine recently, and he mentioned that he was currently contacting some record labels he had released with in the past to ask them to remove his music from digital stores. I didn’t get why he would ask for such a thing, but he explained that he felt embarrassed by his past tracks and that he didn’t want them to represent him anymore.

“What was I thinking? I have no idea, but it’s embarrassing!” he explained.

He said he feels that most of the music he made back then was directionless and tailored for specific labels, and that it has nothing to do with the artist he is now. So the big question is: do I live with the past, or do I try to erase the music that I don’t want to be associated with anymore?

Well, let’s try to unpack what happened in order to avoid falling into the same trap. What were the main factors that caused my friend to react towards his past in this way?

You're never reallyalone in thisTechnical challenges. This one is pretty obvious. Let’s say you start making music, and one of your main focuses is to release on label X. All of your efforts will logically be channelled towards making music that’s an aesthetic fit for the label. But then again, you’re only just starting to produce. So you’ll find samples and presets that sound alike, try to make everything fit together, and then when you think it’s ready, send it off. You have no idea though how many demos we (as record labels) receive from people who didn’t do their homework, and who haven’t listened to our last 3-4 releases to see if their productions are up to par. For example, most problems my friend had were related to the mixdown and arrangements, which are due to simple lack of experience. As you produce, you gain experience and whatever you release will always reflect where you were technically, at that point of your life. You can remove it from stores, but not from people’s computers.

Lack of music testers. Have you played your music for people who you know are reliable sources of criticism? This might sound obvious, but a lot of producers will just finish a track and send it off to a label right away. This is a very bad habit to develop, because a second pair of ears might be the best tool out there for gaining a fresh perspective on potential issues with your tracks.

You might think you can disown the problem by relying on the label owner to take care of the technical aspects, but the truth is that a lot of label owners aren’t always technically savvy. This is how my friend and I were wondering, “How did the label owner let that get past them without sending it back to have those issues fixed?” Mainly because it’s up to the artist to ensure their track is solid enough for them to be proud of — and for it to pass muster with reliable critics too.

music direction, compassLack of direction. This one is tricky. How do you know if the music you’re making now will still hold up in 4-5 years from now? Well, you’ll never really know. But making timeless music should be more of your goal than making music that would sell, at the precise moment. Many DJs change styles and genres every year, whether because they jump from one bandwagon to the next to chase the trends, because they’re lacking gigs and choose to adjust their sets, or simply because they get bored. This can become a real issue, because if a release takes a few months to a year to get published, then by the time your music is out, you’ll have already moved on. For producers, this presents one big existential question: “What is my voice?”

If you’re spending most of your time trying to sound like others, you’ll be trailing behind all the time, trying to adjust yourself to their sound even after they’ve moved on. This is not an issue if you’re sounding like yourself.

But how do you know what your voice is?

This is a difficult question to answer. If listeners can recognize your sound from one song to another, there’s a good chance that you’ve found it. And if you tend to return instinctively to a particular musical direction when you’re having fun in the studio, this can also be a strong indication of your voice.

Try these tips to find your own voice:

  • Don’t buy samples anymore. Try to make your own.
  • Don’t use presets. Again, make your own.
  • Pick a few effects you love and use them in all your productions.
  • Spend time learning sound design.
  • Build a reference folder with tracks that inspire you no matter what.

In conclusion, I’d really encourage you not to remove music you made in the past. It is you, and old productions can be very useful for keeping track of how much you have evolved. Besides, some people might have loved what you made, and keeping the music out there is a good way to reach appropriate people.

Use Mastered Tracks To Submit A Great Demo

This post will cover some essentials on how to submit a music demo to a label you want to join.

How to send a demo to your favourite record label

If you’re a music producer and have been making a few tracks, perhaps you thought it would be a great idea now to submit a music demo to a label. I mean, that’s pretty much what we all dream of as musicians, which is to be part of a community of artists we appreciate and to be appreciated in return. That sense of accomplishment is something you’ve been pursuing for a while and will most probably be chasing for years to come. Trust me.

I’d say that if you want to reach your goals or be part of a label, especially one that has a certain notoriety, you’ll need to be prepared and to do things right.

I thought I’d make a list of rules for you, starting with these:

  • One demo, one label. Think of who you want to send your music to, check out the latest tracks released by the label, and then pick your tracks accordingly. If the label has been there for a while, chances are they might have a restricted number of artists and that their sound has changed over time. So make sure you’re up to date.
  • Before contacting the label, make sure you’re following the label on social media. This might sound silly, but if you’re sending to a label you’re not following and tell them you’re a fan, it just looks bizarre. It’s something label owners do check.
  • Find the contact to submit to. I could write an entire post about this alone, but I’ll summarize.
    • Check if the label has a website and find the specific contact information for demo submissions.
    • If they have a submissions policy, read it. It’s that simple, but important! If it’s written down, it’s because they want you to stick to it.
    • Send a first email to see if the label is accepting demos at the moment.

You now have the 2 main starters: the label and the how-to-submit. Now, let’s get to work.

Preparing your music demo for submission

Unless the label has a precise modus operandi, here are some general guidelines that work for most labels.

  • Check list with green and red pen over white paperAim for an EP. The magic number of tracks to start with would roughly be 4, so start by picking the best fitting ones. It’s not a good idea to send too many tracks at once since label owners already have a lot of demos to listen to (Note: the Soundcloud age has really brought smoke-screening to whole new level), and it makes you look a bit confused in your intentions.
  • Send your best stuff mastered, if possible. But ask the label for its preference. As much as this sounds obvious, you’d be surprised to know that as a label owner, I do receive music that sounds half-finished, pale, or improperly mixed. It doesn’t show you in your best light, and a first impression can only be made once. Ask someone to do the mixdown for you if you’re not sure.
  • Don’t submit remixes. It’s not up to you to pick the remixers at this point. That’s just awkward.
  • If you send Soundcloud links, make sure your tracks are private. Send full tracks. Use playlists too.
  • Always name your music demo files or record labels might find it later and not know whose it isIf you send tracks, use a service like WeTransfer, and I’d recommend sending mp3 files, in maximum 256 kbps. Sadly, there are people with bad intentions out there, and giving the real masters is risking trouble if the label releases your song. You still have rights over it, but I’ve seen labels do this.
  • Name and tag your files with your name, and title your song correctly. I sometimes find a demo months later with no information at all, and it’s quite frustrating to find out who made it.

Okay, you have your tracks ready, now let’s move on to the first contact.

  • Screen Shot 2015-12-21 at 13.19.12Send your email to only one person!
  • Introduce yourself. Like any emails, business or casual, you gain attention by keeping things short, concise, clear and simple. Don’t share your bio (it has no value in decision-making), your releases to come (if you’re too busy, it can be turned against you, and if you have nothing, it can be… well, not good either), that you like the label (why would you contact the label otherwise?), or your 17 different profiles on all those music-related sites.
  • Say what you’d want from the label. Are you up for an EP? Or a vinyl only? Would you like remixes? Be precise but not demanding (you’re not signed yet!).
  • Don’t ask for a money advance or be cocky in any way. It’s pretty much a turn-off for everyone.
  • Start a conversation and invite the person to get back to you. Ask questions and try to open a space for discussion.

Great! Email sent, tracks submitted. Now, it’s far from over — next there’s follow-up!

  • Wait at least 1 week to follow up. When you do, make it very short and simple.
  • Bigger labels request time. Be patient.
  • Do not send your demo to other labels. But if you do, definitely not to more than one. I’ve heard so many stories of people submitting to a bunch, and then 2 wanted to signs the tracks… Sadly, after trying to please both, the artist ended up being discarded for his lack of commitment. So, be careful.
  • Again, be patient. Make more music, but don’t send more music unless the label owner asks for more.

At this point, it’s a bit of a follow-up game. You can give up on the label if there’s no answer at all after 1 month. If there are no plays on your Soundcloud links, that’s of course a bad sign. You can also track who listened. Some label owners hate to receive tracks that have multiple listens, so if you’re recycling a demo, I encourage you to delete the tracks or start from scratch.

If you give up on the label, be polite and just send a last email to thank them for their time and attention and to say you’d be interested in submitting more in the future.

Good luck!

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