How To Get Your Track Signed

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wub
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How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Fri Aug 22, 2014 1:53 pm

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You’ve been knuckling down, getting nitty gritty with the automation, spending countless hours watching tutorials, tweaking your sound, blowing off a few friends and parties here and there to refine your sound. Now you’re ready. You’ve got some bangers, and you want the world to hear it. Time to release on a label? We can't promise you'll get signed but read on for some tips on giving yourself the best chance...


Mastering

One of the most important factors in getting your track signed is the track itself. Mixing and mastering is a good step to having your music ready for release. If it’s not properly mixed and mastered it just won’t stand up to other tunes when it’s played out. Here are two really good tutorials from Point Blank that covers all the important elements and theories behind mastering.





You don’t have to be using the same plug-ins they use, but the theory behind it is valuable knowledge. You can even take this a step further and enrol in a mastering course. (I know quite a few people who have done this and I did a course on mixing myself.)

Obviously you don’t have to master it yourself, you can always outsource your mastering to companies that really know what they’re doing, check out Wired Studios or Electric Mastering for some real mastering talent.

Image

It’s all about image. Aside from looking professional, your approach will always benefit from looking like you’ve catered it for the label you’re sending it to.

There are a few ways you can refine your approach to make it look appealing and making any label feel like they’re lucky to be getting the most exclusive tracks, right from the cutting edge of your genre.

Before you make any approaches or even look at a label, you need to make sure your product seeps professionalism. Most record labels won’t listen to the entire song, they simply get sent too many demos, so putting something in the first 10-30 seconds that says ‘this is a hit’, a catchy hook, or a soulful vocal that hits the spot is a great way of standing out.

Don’t neglect your social media. Whilst likes don’t mean releases, it definitely helps to have an online presence. Any label will want you to have this because it makes your music and any gigs you might have easier to promote, and benefits both you and the label, in terms of marketing your music, and building an identity for you as an artist.

There are other things you can do online to get your music out there, for example, music blogs can be a great tool to expanding your reach. There are countless remix competitions and producer communities.

Check out Music Gateway, which is a great place to find music work, and get connected to other industry professionals online.

Getting feedback on your single / EP from friends or others who know and love the genre is a great way of making sure it’s definitely ready to send out.

Ask them to be brutally honest, or ask them for something they don’t like / think could be better. It can be painful, but it’s the only way you’ll improve.

Having said that, as the phrase goes ‘You’re your own toughest critic’, so give it a final listen before you send anything off. If there’s an issue that maybe you’ve been putting off fixing, or a small problem with the mixdown, this is your last chance to do anything, so fix it, don’t beat around the bush.

Networking is a huge part of it. Especially in the music industry that old cliché of ‘it’s not what you know but who you know’ is so true. Even if you’re not the best in social situations, it’s worth just feigning a strong handshake so to speak, because making a contact and getting an email address or phone number can be the difference here.

Be professional. Treat people with respect and courtesy, you never know who they might put you in touch with. Even if you are hot shit, that idea that the artist / talent is the most important role around which the industry revolves is complete bull, and if you get caught acting like it, it could be the end of your career before it’s even started. People talk.

One more thing you want to do before approaching is; research your labels. Listen to what kind of tracks they’re putting out, and think about how your tracks would fit in if they were released on that label.

I can’t stress how important this is. Just because you like a label doesn’t mean your music will suit them. Really listen to ALL their artists, and root out the vibe, try and find a theme with all of the other stuff they are releasing.

Jamie Russell of Hypercolour puts it in perspective: “I can tell when someone really likes the label and listens to all we do versus someone who’s just checked one or two tracks”.

Approach

When you’re making your approach, a big mistake here is attachments in e-mails. It just looks bad, there’s something to wait to download, and the file will more than likely clog an already filled up downloads folder, and get lost with the other hundred whoever you sent it to has opened that week.

Instead use SoundCloud links. Find your label on SoundCloud, upload a private version of your single / EP / album. Send it to the labels you’ve researched.

You can even go one further and upload a private version of your material for each label you are approaching, this way it looks more exclusive.

So&so has shared a private track with +1 person. Looks a lot better than: So&so has shared a private track with +50 people. Or however many labels you might be approaching.

If your record label of choice doesn’t have a SoundCloud page, then look for a specific email address that says ‘DEMOs’, and send the link over through that.

Most record labels will have a SoundCloud page and there should be contact info on there, if not try the ‘about’ section on their Facebook.

Still no luck? Their website should have a ‘contact’ page, either in a tab at the top, or somewhere down the bottom, it can sometimes be a bit tricky to find this, but it’s there, trust me. Sending a demo to the wrong email will mean it won’t get listened to. Simple.

Bio’s can be a little tricky, but they don’t need to be, so I’m going to split it up into a short list of do’s and don’ts:

Don’t:
  • Big yourself up, let the music speak for itself.
  • Talk about how much you love the label / how well your music suits them. Let them decide that.
  • Chase them up. If they didn’t get back to you they didn’t like it enough to want to release it. Move forwards.
  • List every amazing thing you’ve done in your musical career.
  • Write some mysterious poetic epitaph about your art. You’re a professional, remember?
  • Talk about your big plans for the future. Plans change, stick to the real world for now.


Do:
  • Keep it brief, 100 words is more than enough.
  • Talk about artists you listen to.
  • Talk about a musical inspiration, or something from the real world that inspired you.
  • Talk about one, maybe two, big achievements in your career, if any.
One last thing to think about is how many other people are doing the same thing as you. This is where creativity comes in. Approach music blogs, get your stuff heard, and get people talking about it before you go for the labels.

If by some miracle, a label has heard of your material before you begin your targeted approach, you will have a significantly greater chance of getting through.

Another thing to consider is going back to the old school, burn some CDs, get some cool covers done and, most importantly, find out which labels would appreciate an approach like that.

If you have a friend who knows a DJ that runs a label then see if they will pass on your demo CD. If you don't then maybe give the DJ your CD at a gig they play but remember to be polite and brief.

The music is still the most important aspect of your approach, but having cohesive artwork, and all the little touches like an artist specific email address, or your own website and tidy social media, will set you aside from every release without these things, and shows that you are serious whilst really putting the heads at the record label at rest that you are the real deal. People can only take you as seriously as you take yourself.

Taken from here - http://www.kmag.co.uk/editorial/musicte ... igned.html

traverse
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by traverse » Fri Aug 22, 2014 2:58 pm

Great tips all around, especially the dos and don'ts at the end for promo emails.

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by topmo3 » Fri Aug 22, 2014 10:29 pm

back when i was just starting out with producing my only goal was getting signed. i actually embarrassed myself on multiple occasions sending really mediocre or even outright shit and unmastered tracks to big labels like nakedlunch etc..

now that i'm getting more confident about my productions i'm not actually even that interested about getting signed. maybe it's because the overall climate has changed so much about labels and shit.. and also because the kind of sound i make nowadays (modern rnb / "trap" -influenced "tumblr" stuff or something) isn't really that label-oriented sound to begin with
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by hellagargoyle » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:14 am

mastering is cool, not always so important compared to mixing i think tell me if im wrong. production > image then image > all. is this genre is more about mastering than more typical mainstream "edm" productions? idk but realistically in computer made electronic music a lot of top listened to albums/eps, not just first ep/album, are not masterd by professionals and said to be unmastered by the artist, just mixed.

so this makes me believe mastering is not essential in selling or even making music that "most" people would want to listen to (if that is the goal). If not that then these top selling producers r liers or they dont know that they r mastering as good as paid professionals..? so... then focus should be directed to mixing right? because we know for a fact this is deff essential to getting your music going. i dont like to waste time n money u kno :P. you cant have a unmixed (or shity mixed) track thats mastered (mastered i mean more than an izotope and comp) and sells, but you can have an unmastered(shity mastered) track that is mixed (dynamics or not it "works") that sells. just trying to speak towards the more current sounding club/fest producers. examples are easy to find, skrillex is one lol. not saying ur wrong, this is music for haha just trying to expand in a way...

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:41 am

You're approaching this from the wrong point I think.

Nowhere in this article does it state or even suggest that having a good level of production in the first place shouldn't be paramount. Mixing would be included in that.

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by cyclopian » Sun Aug 24, 2014 12:44 am

Hellagargoyle: I dont know what you are on about, almost all signed/released music is mastered.

Do you have any examples of un-mastered 'top listened to albums'? I cant think of a single one.
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hellagargoyle
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by hellagargoyle » Sun Aug 24, 2014 2:41 am

wub wrote:You're approaching this from the wrong point I think.

Nowhere in this article does it state or even suggest that having a good level of production in the first place shouldn't be paramount. Mixing would be included in that.
i'm misunderstood, im just trying to offer a different viewpoint to other producers who may not be on the same path. we can all agree that production takes a toll on the rest of your life (time) so why not save some time if you can? what info i offer will save someone some time i hope.

i will be more direct i guess:
"If it’s not properly mixed and mastered it just won’t stand up to other tunes when it’s played out"
see mastered in there, that is my problem. should just be mixed.

u are wise you have great impact on this forum, people read into what you say. me i care too.

this is martin garrix talking about how mastering was not very important making animals..

hes a dumb lil kid tho he doesnt know how to get signed or sell records or smash the dance floor....

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=CfCmoEixxro

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Sun Aug 24, 2014 3:27 am

One exception does not make a rule

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by forbidden » Sun Aug 24, 2014 4:49 am

hellagargoyle wrote:hes a dumb lil kid tho he doesnt know how to get signed or sell records or smash the dance floor....
well i was kind of taking you seriously for a second.

nice tut wub. getting to the point myself where i feel i could maybe get something signed to a small time net label (i still have a lot to learn) and this, while being a lot of what i already knew from reading these boards, was nice. :Q:

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by hellagargoyle » Sun Aug 24, 2014 5:00 am

wub wrote:One exception does not make a rule
i do agree i do agree. glad we cleared this up :D

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by cyclopian » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:19 am

If you actually think Animals was not mastered..............

Mastering is not the solve all to making a good song, but you choose Martin Garix - Animals as an example?!?!

The tune is obviously mastered, just because Martin garrix says mastering is not important in the 'creation' of the tune doesnt mean that mastering is not important for the final presentation of the tune.

P.S that guy is a fuckin joke, that masterclass was like, "if you slow shit down, and then reverse it, it will be sick, also, just grabbed my melodies from midi files and vengeance packs. Yeh big chord progression br0, just nabbed it from swedish hau5 mafera and changed one note" Sik, where do i add my own fist pumps in tho????
Last edited by cyclopian on Mon Aug 25, 2014 2:49 am, edited 1 time in total.
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ineffable
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by ineffable » Mon Aug 25, 2014 1:51 am

the masterclass is a joke

plus he looks very punchable

good read tho wub

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by Johoosh » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:11 am

I think about this sometimes when sending a dub to producers

Is it better to send my unmastered, but mixed down well version peaking at about -4/-3db, or slap some vague/in the box mastering on it to bring it up to close to 0db?

Im assuming most ppl who i send it to in this scene wont be put off by a 'quieter' mix? As theyd know and rather turn it up their end than have a squashed to fuck version done by me, and that if they like it enough to cut it'd get mastered professionaly?
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wub
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:18 am

Johoosh wrote:I think about this sometimes when sending a dub to producers

Is it better to send my unmastered, but mixed down well version peaking at about -4/-3db, or slap some vague/in the box mastering on it to bring it up to close to 0db?

Im assuming most ppl who i send it to in this scene wont be put off by a 'quieter' mix? As theyd know and rather turn it up their end than have a squashed to fuck version done by me, and that if they like it enough to cut it'd get mastered professionaly?
I generally get mine to a level where if the receipient wanted to play them out, they could do without having to worry about them not standing up to other mastered tracks.

So generally leave the 4db headroom if sending to a mastering house, otherwise for a rough and ready job I have been known to slap a brickwall on the master and then just crank the wet/dry to about 25-40% to get the 'loud' factor up.

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by Johoosh » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:22 am

Yeah in future i might send two clearly labelled mixes, one a -4db 'unmastered' one and a 0db 'ruff mastered' one

Or tbh itd make sense to just send the louder one, then if they like it that much they'd ask for a -4db one anyway to take further :lol:
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:26 am

Johoosh wrote:Yeah in future i might send two clearly labelled mixes, one a -4db 'unmastered' one and a 0db 'ruff mastered' one

Or tbh itd make sense to just send the louder one, then if they like it that much they'd ask for a -4db one anyway to take further :lol:
Or just spend a bit of cash on your best tunes actually getting them properly mastered.


Also;
[+] Spoiler
:6:

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by Johoosh » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:37 am

Yeah im definitely going to pop down to transition next month as i realised its only 2 stops away from me pon overground + b4 i assumed it was in bat country/middle of nowhere

Saw my mate saying he learnt more from a 2hr stint in transition with Jason watching him master one of his tunes than the 2yrs of his sound design course at uni :lol:
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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by wub » Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:38 am

Johoosh wrote:Yeah im definitely going to pop down to transition next month as i realised its only 2 stops away from me pon overground + b4 i assumed it was in bat country/middle of nowhere

Saw my mate saying he learnt more from a 2hr stint in transition with Jason watching him master one of his tunes than the 2yrs of his sound design course at uni :lol:
Fuck yeah...if you can sit in the mastering session THEN DO IT. That's a golden opportunity right there.

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by hellagargoyle » Mon Aug 25, 2014 3:59 pm

its important for you, not for me... and martin garrix... lol neways nvm i dont understand this dub music generates a very small amount of money y would u wanna master ur tracks if u dont need to, not like ur producin for justin beiber or somethin. nor do i understand the logic of saying u "finished" a track but yet you still give it to someone else to process enough to the point where its beneficiary to master ur tracks every single time... buttt just a thought keep on keepin on g's

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Re: How To Get Your Track Signed

Post by Lye_Form » Mon Aug 25, 2014 4:22 pm

Seems like some good and some dodgey advice (prob right for EDM though), if you start doing your own artwork and shit you will look like a bit of a ponce.

From what i have seen/experienced:

Mastering is not important to getting a tune signed IMO, its important for a release, the mixdown is often not even that important if your music is good.

Its unlikely you can sign tunes to a big label even if your music is phenomenal if you are unknown or don't know label heads personally. It does happen but takes a lot of luck (big up Dan Shake giving a CD to Moodyman at Dimensions last year).

Concentrate on sending music to DJs not labels, if your music gets good coverage from DJs then labels will approach you.

Don't stress out about getting tunes signed, if you write good music, build relationships with other djs/producers, things will happen organically.
Last edited by Lye_Form on Mon Aug 25, 2014 11:30 pm, edited 1 time in total.
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