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...
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.
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”.
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:
- 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.
- 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.
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