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Submitting demos to record labels Modular Synthesizers
Old 21st September 2014
  #1
Here for the gear
Submitting demos to record labels

I know there are similar threads, but I just want more clarification on several questions.

I'm looking into sending demos to record labels such as astralwerks, anjunabeats, owlsa, and several others. I know that they do have emails for demo submissions.

So my questions are:

1. What would you include in this email? I know you'd obviously have the song that you'd want them to hear and your contact information, but what else?

2. Would you need to have an existing fan base on social medias such as Facebook and sound cloud to be considered? Would a label even consider someone without a fan base to be valuable to them in any way?

3. I've heard that having a bio helps, i.e. some general information about yourself. What would you include in this? Should it be written in 1st/3rd person?

Thanks so much in advance
Old 21st September 2014
  #2
Wildfunk
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by jf1193 View Post
I know that they do have emails for demo submissions.
No you don't!

Astralwerks: "Astralwerks has a no un-solicited demos policy."
OWLSA: "Please do not email demos, as they will likely not be read." (upload only)
Anjunabeats: upload only

As you can see in the upload forms there is no need for your bio, links etc.

The labels just want to hear your track.
Old 21st September 2014
  #3
Ged
Lives for gear
 
Ged's Avatar
Unfortunately most Labels these days are similar and don't accept Demo's, the way to do it is just keep plugging away - release some great tracks on your Bandcamp / Soundcloud - get them Blogged / reviewed etc... eventually the right labels will notice you and come to you, rather than the other way around.Hope that helps a bit, and I hope it's not too negative, you just got to come at it from a different angle these days, use the internet to your advantage and get searching for blogs that post music in your Genre.
Old 21st September 2014
  #4
Gear Guru
Another tip .. don't be too proud to play a small venue for possibly only 15-250 people.
Old 21st September 2014
  #5
Lives for gear
 

Don't concern yourself with sending "demos" to record labels…they only want to hear a fully finished ready to release product. Preferably have an entire album's worth, but don't send anything but your best. If the material you are sending is merely a "demo," spend some more time with it until it is truly polished. You only have one chance to make a good first impression, it had better be your best work. Chances are the record label guy on the other end that listens to your submission is a business person…not a musician…you can't leave any blanks for them to fill in with their imagination, they just don't work that way…and probably don't have time to re-listen, etc… If you haven't gotten their attention in 30 seconds they have probably moved on. Reality is you are trying to make yourself stand out against hundreds if not thousands of other submissions every month, I am positive that there is a huge reject bin for demos.

1. Relevant contact info, your web address, social media addresses, press releases, gig calendar (past and present), and music.
2. It would definitely be to your advantage to have a fanbase and social media presence. If you don't, the record label will rightly assume you don't take yourself seriously and thus why should they?
3. I don't really think the record label cares about this unless you have a previously established significant music history (published work, collaboration, etc).

If you send them more than a couple paragraphs worth of meaningless babble it is at best not getting read, possibly might get thrown out entirely.
Old 21st September 2014
  #6
Lives for gear
 

This is an interesting read about universal records Australia. While it may not apply in your particular position it does give you an insight into how the record company thinks.

Artists and Repertoire | Universal Music Australia Official Site – umusic
Old 21st September 2014
  #7
Lives for gear
 

There is also a way of getting in through the back door.

Submitting your song to a company say like red bull or clothing company, car manufacturer, jeans warehouse, shoe shop and many others.

If your song fits there marketting campaign then it will not only get heard on radio but TV as well.

Once you are getting heard then you are more than likely going to get signed or at least some indie or record company making a bid for your services as well as a publishing company.

Cheers
Old 21st September 2014
  #8
Lives for gear
 

Also if you are good enough get yourself a manager that believes in you and let his fingers do the walking.

he makes money when you you do.

Cheers
Old 22nd September 2014
  #9
Gear Maniac
With bigger labels like the ones you mentioned, your best bet is to try and get something buzzing online, for a label to sign someone based on a demo it would take some seriously incredible material. I'm not saying that your demo isn't at that level, but it's very hard to impress labels without giving some sort of reassurance that what you're doing is commercially viable for them.

For some labels, all it is is numbers, numbers, numbers. SoundCloud followers, YouTube hits, Facebook likes. It's a sad reality, but that's how some labels justify decisions nowadays. They need to have faith that what you're doing is going to be worth their investment.

Another way might be looking to hit up the big YouTube channels that post things in your genre, there are tonnes of them these days (Majesticcasual, Mrsuicidesheep, La Belle Musique etc) and try swinging some stuff their way. It's tricky but if you can get a track of yours uploaded to a channel like that, you're guaranteed some attention which can turn label heads.

It's not easy, and it takes good material as well as luck and a leap of faith from at least one person, but it's totally possible. Good luck with it!
Old 22nd September 2014
  #10
Gear Maniac
 
Kissed's Avatar
Most labels these days get submissions from inside. That means either you're in their circle as a friend, have connections to their friends, are friends with a promoter that books them, or are in some way connecting with somebody that is connected with them. In other words, a friend of a friend of a friend.

Edit: Just to clarify. Don't underestimate the value of going to parties, even if it's once in a blue moon. A lot of times, djs and producers are hanging out in the back, chatting and what not.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #11
Gear Maniac
 
Electronic Soul's Avatar
 

You can send to small labels but it's a waste of time to release on tiny labels. The labels you mentioned and others at that level of popularity, only receive demos from people they know. I found that out the hard way man. It's sad but connections are what you need to get in. I've been signed a bunch of times for years and it wasn't till I met the right person that things happened for me. You'll probably lie to yourself over and over that connections don't matter, but they are extremely important.

Now, unlike what this dude said about going to parties, you can get in meeting people online. Sometimes the right email to someone even moderately connected can change your life. I never thought parties were a great way to meet people honestly, unless it's the underground scene your'e trying to get into. I've met people at parties by mere accident man, not by going there with that intention. Hope that helps!
Old 22nd September 2014
  #12
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by Kissed View Post
Most labels these days get submissions from inside. That means either you're in their circle as a friend, have connections to their friends, are friends with a promoter that books them, or are in some way connecting with somebody that is connected with them. In other words, a friend of a friend of a friend.

Edit: Just to clarify. Don't underestimate the value of going to parties, even if it's once in a blue moon. A lot of times, djs and producers are hanging out in the back, chatting and what not.
This.

This is the only advice in this thread that is worth a damn.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #13
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
This.

This is the only advice in this thread that is worth a damn.
I don't know about that, I don't think it's terribly helpful at all to anyone who hasn't already got a direct connection to a label, which most people don't.

It does happen like that sometimes/rarely, but the main question (and what OP probably wants to know) is how do you get those connections and links in the first place? And the parties thing is useless advice too, what parties? Who's going to them? How do you get into them? Means nothing to someone who is trying to break into music.

It sounds like advice from someone who hasn't really experienced the industry. Have either of you guys been involved with the real music industry?
Old 22nd September 2014
  #14
Here for the gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJMC View Post
I don't know about that, I don't think it's terribly helpful at all to anyone who hasn't already got a direct connection to a label, which most people don't.

It does happen like that sometimes/rarely, but the main question (and what OP probably wants to know) is how do you get those connections and links in the first place? And the parties thing is useless advice too, what parties? Who's going to them? How do you get into them? Means nothing to someone who is trying to break into music.

It sounds like advice from someone who hasn't really experienced the industry. Have either of you guys been involved with the real music industry?
Thanks to everyone for the informative responses. But yes, this is pretty much what I'm looking for. For someone with no connections to start with, how would you break into the scene? How would someone get from being a nobody to somebody who would be seen as valuable (whether artistically or financially)?

I do know what the others mean though. I chilled with dream koala (for those of you who know who that is lol) after his show. But seriously, it was just casual talk. I asked him about labels and stuff like that and he pretty much just said he wasn't signed and was freely doing his own stuff. I get that, a lot of people can be successful just by freelancing. But, again, how would you get that fan base to start with?

Even when talking to a successful musician, you wouldn't bug them for connections or what not, that just makes you seem kind of desperate and pushy…wouldn't it?
Old 22nd September 2014
  #15
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by jf1193 View Post
Thanks to everyone for the informative responses. But yes, this is pretty much what I'm looking for. For someone with no connections to start with, how would you break into the scene? How would someone get from being a nobody to somebody who would be seen as valuable (whether artistically or financially)?

I do know what the others mean though. I chilled with dream koala (for those of you who know who that is lol) after his show. But seriously, it was just casual talk. I asked him about labels and stuff like that and he pretty much just said he wasn't signed and was freely doing his own stuff. I get that, a lot of people can be successful just by freelancing. But, again, how would you get that fan base to start with?

Even when talking to a successful musician, you wouldn't bug them for connections or what not, that just makes you seem kind of desperate and pushy…wouldn't it?
I'm gonna reel off some tips that I feel have worked for me or I believe are helpful from my point of view, you don't have to take any of this as gospel and I'm sorry if any of it comes across as patronising,

Online, as I said earlier, is the most efficient (yet still difficult) method to break in these days, due to it being a free and easy platform to get your material out there and a very simple way for people (and labels) to find you. Only problem is, you have to compete with the millions of other people who have this same luxury, hence why so many labels look at numbers and hits to see who is 'standing out' from all the others. Try and build yourself a reputation and a following, upload some bits to SoundCloud or post some things on YouTube. I signed a deal with a major publisher as a result of posting a bootleg remix to YouTube, it's uncommon, but it can happen. (Bootlegs are a great way to get noticed, if you can do a great bootleg of a track that's getting searched a lot anyway, you can ride that wave of searches and maybe gain some fans through it, don't force it though, 'gimmick' remixes can do more harm than good. Only do it if you're feeling it).

Connections, as a couple of other people have mentioned, are very important. Websites like Twitter are invaluable for this sort of thing, even if you're just chatting with people who are only doing marginally better than you are, make those connections, work your way up the chain. Don't bombard people with your music straight away, talk to them first, be a person, be friendly, no-one likes that "you don't know me but check out my music" guy. The way I'm wording this sounds like some sort of evil plan to befriend people to then go on to use them but it isn't and shouldn't be like that, you should want to be getting to know these people anyway, get stuck into the scene and surround yourself with people who are ambitious and successful.

Regarding chatting to artists about labels etc, honestly, it's unlikely that a lot of artists (unless we're talking your Skrillex and Calvin Harris level guys) will be able to do a lot for you, and most of them won't have any reason to do you a favour if they don't know you, so that's a very tricky path to pursue, but there's absolutely no harm in talking to these guys and chatting about labels etc. if you get the chance, just don't expect to give them a demo CD and receive a contract in the post a few days later.

Lastly, and probably most importantly, make sure your music is solid. I know it sounds obvious, but make sure it's something that people are going to want to get involved with, don't upload things with excuses like "it's only a demo" or "just a rough idea". Finish things and be happy with them, play them to your friends/peers, if you find yourself wanting to make excuses at any point while playing it to them, go back to the drawing board and fix those issues. The music should always be the centre of this whole thing. Get that sounding good and you have a solid base to work with.

Hope at least some of this helped.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #16
I have a DJ friend that I've known for over 15 years. His career as a DJ took off, and he's worked hard for that. He has released tracks on a bunch of different labels, traveled the world DJing, and he recently started his own label. He was looking for new talent, and I asked him about moving to his label when I'm done with my current contract. He said the same thing to me as he says to other people. Just submit your track(s) to our website and someone from the label will contact you.

The reason I mention this is because it really doesn't matter if you have a connection at a label. If your music doesn't move people, or isn't "relevant", they don't want it.

If you want to be successful at music, you really need to get a sound together, start playing shows, and using all the social media sites to your advantage. I think Reverbnation is a pretty cool site. They have lots of opportunities to submit your music to so you can get some exposure. There are lots of opportunities, but you need to have a product. If you are producing tracks, keep that your goal. Try to make a bunch of tracks every month. Upload some to soundcloud, just clips, not whole tracks. Then add those tracks to relevant genre groups. This way, other people can listen to your stuff, and possibly repost on their page for more exposure.

Get your website built, post Youtube videos of your tracks. Create a static image, make a video, when you upload the track, make sure you put all the proper tags. Find forums, or chat rooms where you can meet other people to talk about production, promotion, or whatever. I have given my tracks for free to DJs if they like the track. Most of them are happy to do so. Here's a sampling of that, My track is the last one

I'm not sure what genre you are producing for, but I make house (prog, electro, groovey, trancey) and I found a site called Housecharts.net. I submitted my track, and it ended up being #2 on their progressive charts in May, 2013, and was featured on the page for the month of June.

Hope that helps!!! Good luck!
Old 22nd September 2014
  #17
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJMC View Post
I don't know about that, I don't think it's terribly helpful at all to anyone who hasn't already got a direct connection to a label, which most people don't.

It does happen like that sometimes/rarely, but the main question (and what OP probably wants to know) is how do you get those connections and links in the first place? And the parties thing is useless advice too, what parties? Who's going to them? How do you get into them? Means nothing to someone who is trying to break into music.

It sounds like advice from someone who hasn't really experienced the industry. Have either of you guys been involved with the real music industry?
I'm not exactly sure what the "real" music industry is. I get paid for the records I make, I've had plenty of dance music press support, and I've worked in some of the best clubs in the world. I don't make a living, but it's a nice little sideline while I do school full time.

The record industry is super ****ing simple to break into and it's so obvious that nobody actually understands how to do it. I can sum it up in one sentence:

If you want to be the music business, you have to participate in it.

Buy music.

Send the people who made the record and released it an email. Tell them you liked it. Keep an eye on their career and keep sending them email every time they do something good.

If they have a show in town, go to it and say hello. Make it a point to hang out and talk shop with them. A sober, normal person who wants to talk business and has a solid demo pack will stand out in comparison to the usual drunks. The most important thing you can do is meet people in person and make a good impression. From there, it is a hell of a lot easier to make deals over email.

Keep buying music and learn as much as you can. Read books about music, all kinds of music. In fact, read all kinds of books. People don't like to make deals with dumb people.

If there are any shows or club nights in town, go to them. Don't go to get drunk or party, go there specifically to build relationships with promoters, DJ, and touring acts. If you go to a show and leave without introducing yourself to those people, you ****ed up. I don't walk out of a venue, any venue, until I've networked with the people making it happen.

Keep an eye on the music press. When there is a good article, email the writer and tell them you liked it. Start talking to them about music and learn all you can. Learn more about good up and coming artists and labels. Music writers and DJ's are always looking for new **** to talk about. If you get to know them and make decent music, they might just start talking about you.

Buy the new **** you just learned about and email the label and artist. They are still trying to make it and will be way more open to looking for new material from new artists.
Astralwerks and Ninja Tune don't need you, period. In fact, if you don't already have a discography and a network they probably won't work with you no matter how good the music is.

You don't go to the top ask for a record deal. You start your own thing up, and if it's good enough people will come sniffing around looking for a piece of what you do. You start at the bottom and build your relationships and brand identity along the way. You do that by participating. There is no Prince Charming in this ****; nobody is going to offer you a contract and make you a rockstar.

It doesn't matter if you are Mozart: if you never get out there and hustle nothing will ever happen with your music. This business isn't about music, and it never has been. This business is about getting to know people. If you make good music it just makes the whole process that much easier.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #18
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

The most a demo can do for you is inspire somebody to come out and see your show.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #19
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
I'm not exactly sure what the "real" music industry is. I get paid for the records I make, I've had plenty of dance music press support, and I've worked in some of the best clubs in the world. I don't make a living, but it's a nice little sideline while I do school full time.

The record industry is super ****ing simple to break into and it's so obvious that nobody actually understands how to do it. I can sum it up in one sentence:

If you want to be the music business, you have to participate in it.

Buy music.

Send the people who made the record and released it an email. Tell them you liked it. Keep an eye on their career and keep sending them email every time they do something good.

If they have a show in town, go to it and say hello. Make it a point to hang out and talk shop with them. A sober, normal person who wants to talk business and has a solid demo pack will stand out in comparison to the usual drunks. The most important thing you can do is meet people in person and make a good impression. From there, it is a hell of a lot easier to make deals over email.

Keep buying music and learn as much as you can. Read books about music, all kinds of music. In fact, read all kinds of books. People don't like to make deals with dumb people.

If there are any shows or club nights in town, go to them. Don't go to get drunk or party, go there specifically to build relationships with promoters, DJ, and touring acts. If you go to a show and leave without introducing yourself to those people, you ****ed up. I don't walk out of a venue, any venue, until I've networked with the people making it happen.

Keep an eye on the music press. When there is a good article, email the writer and tell them you liked it. Start talking to them about music and learn all you can. Learn more about good up and coming artists and labels. Music writers and DJ's are always looking for new **** to talk about. If you get to know them and make decent music, they might just start talking about you.

Buy the new **** you just learned about and email the label and artist. They are still trying to make it and will be way more open to looking for new material from new artists.
Astralwerks and Ninja Tune don't need you, period. In fact, if you don't already have a discography and a network they probably won't work with you no matter how good the music is.

You don't go to the top ask for a record deal. You start your own thing up, and if it's good enough people will come sniffing around looking for a piece of what you do. You start at the bottom and build your relationships and brand identity along the way. You do that by participating. There is no Prince Charming in this ****; nobody is going to offer you a contract and make you a rockstar.

It doesn't matter if you are Mozart: if you never get out there and hustle nothing will ever happen with your music. This business isn't about music, and it never has been. This business is about getting to know people. If you make good music it just makes the whole process that much easier.
Paid a lot or a bit? And when you say press, what press? What were you doing in the best clubs in the world? I only ask because they're only relevant if they're substantial achievements, you're being very vague about it.

Also, has the approach you've outlined ever worked for you?
Old 22nd September 2014
  #20
Lives for gear
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJMC View Post
Paid a lot or a bit? And when you say press, what press? What were you doing in the best clubs in the world? I only ask because they're only relevant if they're substantial achievements, you're being very vague about it.

Also, has the approach you've outlined ever worked for you?
I'm pretty vague because this is a sock puppet account. I don't actually want people to know who I am.

Let's just say that I've sold a pretty decent amount of records for an underground house artist, I've headlined with a Live PA at places like Panorama Bar, and I am on a first name basis with editors at Resident Advisor, Red Bull Music Academy, and JunoPlus.

I'm nobody compared to Steve Aoki, Skrillex or Deadmaus, but I work and get money.

As for your last question, I've seen it work for literally every single successful person I know in house music. I just gave you the Cliffs Notes version of how people do it.

There is no shortcut for getting out there and meeting people.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #21
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
This.

This is the only advice in this thread that is worth a damn.
I 2nd that.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #22
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
I'm pretty vague because this is a sock puppet account. I don't actually want people to know who I am.

Let's just say that I've sold a pretty decent amount of records for an underground house artist, I've headlined with a Live PA at places like Panorama Bar, and I am on a first name basis with editors at Resident Advisor, Red Bull Music Academy, and JunoPlus.

I'm nobody compared to Steve Aoki, Skrillex or Deadmaus, but I work and get money.

As for your last question, I've seen it work for literally every single successful person I know in house music. I just gave you the Cliffs Notes version of how people do it.

There is no shortcut for getting out there and meeting people.
I'm also running a 'sock puppet' account so I understand that, it's just there are quite a few things you've said that make me believe that you've not actually tried that method yourself, because in practice, what you've said would never work.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #23
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by djugel View Post
I 2nd that.
"Already be friends with record labels, if not, then... go to parties" yeah pretty solid advice right there.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #24
Gear Guru
Quote:
Originally Posted by SJMC View Post
"Already be friends with record labels, if not, then... go to parties" yeah pretty solid advice right there.
I don't know how you find the party advice so unrealistic. It's basically a real version of your cyber advice... but I do agree with what you said about being the "you don't know me but check out my music" guy. That rubs people wrong. Be modest, but also like you said, don't give out demos with excuses... unless you're like.. hanging out in your bedroom and they casually demand some music.

I blew a pretty good opportunity once because we sent them half-ass material/practice recordings(we were a live band, no real recordings yet)... but at the same time our hearts weren't into that label... (but it would have paid off)... be natural.

The "already be friends with labels" part is after making connections in your city(parties, shows, etc). Obviously it doesn't come out of thin air, but sometimes you never know how much a simple connection with someone can pay off.. 10 years later maybe.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #25
Gear Guru
So many sock puppets ... anonymity is passe.
It's for kid-diddlers in AOL chat rooms.

It's the age of information.. get with it
Old 22nd September 2014
  #26
A guide to submitting unsolicited demos to Gruuv, and other record labels…
14 September 2011 at 15:04


Sending your demos to a record label should be an exciting time. You’ve put your heart and soul into making the music and now it’s time to take it to the world. But what if you’ve already ruined your chances of getting signed, even before your music is heard?

We analysed 200 of the unsolicited demo submissions we received at Gruuv in August 2011 and the results make pretty interesting reading. Only 43% were correctly submitted in the way we like them and many included several errors. Let’s take a look at some of the problems, and talk about how you can increase your chances of getting your music signed.

We should point out that there is no universally accepted method of sending demos to a record label. What is perfectly acceptable to one label might see your demo deleted immediately by another. So to give yourself the best possible chance of getting your music heard it’s always best to check with individual record labels for guidance…

52% of demo submissions had insufficient information…

By far the biggest problem we noticed is producers under selling themselves. Although this is unlikely to prevent your music from being signed (if it’s good enough) it might reduce your chances of being given the proper attention and you don’t want that.

People working in A&R have to be really good at thin slicing. That is grabbing little bits of information and estimating the outcome. Therefore a demo with no supporting information might initially only get a few seconds airplay assessment time, whereas a demo with exciting supporting information might get 30 seconds. That’s the reality of it.

Try to summarise yourself in one sentence. ‘Hi I’m XXX from XXX. I’ve released on XXX and my music has received support from XXX’.

Include links to your Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter, Beatport, website or anywhere else that you think gives a good snapshot of who you are.

Don’t overdo it and copy your whole DJ biography into the email. Think about it from the perspective of the receiver and imagine you have just 5 seconds to assess the email. Then provide the relevant info which presents you in the best way which can be read in 5 seconds.

9% suffered from the dreaded CC… DELETE!

This is one thing most good record labels will agree on. Send a demo with 20 or 30 other labels on copy and you’ll most likely find your email hits the recycle bin faster than Viagra spam. The same goes for open Soundcloud links with downloads activated, or links over 3 months old.

Every record label wants new and exclusive material. It takes an incredible amount of time, risk and effort to take a record from the demo stage through to release. By sending it to other labels you’ve already broken unwritten rule number one.

There’s an old English saying “if you throw enough mud at the wall some of it will stick.” This couldn’t be further from the truth when it comes to distributing label demos. You should give the process the same love, respect and attention that you’d expect the record label to give your music.

It’s always a good idea to do some research and make a plan. Which labels do you think best suit your music? Maybe you could make a list of your top 5 target labels and give them one week of exclusivity each starting with your number 1 choice? If you mention that you’ve sent it to them exclusively it shouldn’t go unnoticed.

8% supplied links to awkward file sharing sites

To help distribute your music to labels there are hundreds of file-sharing sites available and choosing the right one, offering the most convenient service to the receiver is vital. If the person you’re sending your music to is not a subscriber they may be required to wait for up to one minute before downloading the file. Others require users to copy mind bogglingly cryptic codes, whilst some will activate a handful of annoying pop up adverts. None of these things are good for impatient and busy A&R people.

Whilst these things shouldn’t see your demo end up straight in the bin, they might do if the A&R person is having a bad day, or they’re combined with some of the other annoyances mentioned herein. Why take the chance. If a label has a preferred method of demo delivery then it’s best to follow it. At Gruuv we prefer Sendspace, Yousendit or Wetransfer. We find most others fiddly and annoying. But every label will undoubtedly be different.

4% of producers sent music as an attachment…

So your file is only 8mb. Why not send it as an attachment, it might be quicker? By default a high number of people responsible for A&R are regularly touring the world with their own music projects, which means they are often hooking up to low strength hotel wifi’s. Imagine their annoyance: they’ve just arrived at ‘insert far flung city here’ and need to download their emails quickly before heading off to a gig. They have their email accounts all linked up to Outlook. They start to download and wait a minute, it’s crashed. 20 minutes later they find out why – your 8mb demo. Not the introduction you wanted.

3.5% submitted more than 5 tracks…

Try to put yourselves in the shoes of the person responsible for A&R, and the time restraints they have, or at least think they have.

They should know from listening to 10 seconds of one track whether your music is in the right ballpark. It’s their job to spot rough diamonds. They will certainly know after hearing 3 tracks. Sending more than 5 tracks is too many, not only for the listener to take in, but it also could give the impression that you’ve just sent them your entire unsigned back catalogue – the dregs of what you’ve got left after other labels have had their pick, and no A&R person ever wants to think they’re bottom of your pile of preferences. Send your best 3 tracks maximum and if the label can see potential from these and they want more they’ll ask for more.

One more thing to consider… Overkill.

To borrow a quote from Detroit legend Stacey Pullen “We didn’t use to release a record just because another month was over.”

You’re an upcoming producer and you’re desperate to get your music out there so you send out everything you make to as many labels as possible. It makes sense but it’s absolutely the wrong thing to do and could kill your career before it’s even started.

Imagine you’ve sent 3 demos to Gruuv. Your music has attracted our interest and it’s something we’d consider signing, so we investigate you further only to find you’ve released 12 tracks this month already, 60 so far this year. That’s overkill. If we were to sign your EP it would most likely just get lost amongst all your other releases in the digital quagmire. It would be very hard to build any hype and interest so we wouldn’t sign it. Other high quality labels might feel the same, and you’d likely end up releasing on an obscure substandard digital label with no promotion resulting in no DJ support, no sales and you’re back to square one.

You could do this 20 times and get nowhere. In fact you could actually end up going backwards, as none of the credible labels you wanted to release on in the first place will touch you now because of your past releases. Whereas just one high quality EP signed to the right label and you could be flying.

So take your time in deciding whether and where to release your music, as carefully as when you were making it. Don’t try to release everything you make. It’s impossible for every idea to turn into a successful track. Listen to impartial advice. Be selective with what music you send out and to whom.

It should be said that of the 231 demo emails containing over 600 tracks that we received in August we signed the grand total of zero tracks. Its rumoured XL Recordings receive over 15,000 demos per month yet sign just 1 band per year. So don’t be too disheartened if it takes time for you to see progress. If your music is good enough you’ll get there in the end, we guarantee it. :-)"
Old 22nd September 2014
  #27
Lives for gear
 
El-Burrito's Avatar
Quote:
Originally Posted by Whatupdoe? View Post
If there are any shows or club nights in town, go to them. Don't go to get drunk or party, go there specifically to build relationships with promoters, DJ, and touring acts.
Oh, i'm so happy that i don't have to connect with ppl. The limited time i have for parties i like to get wasted :D

But those two things connect. Best (only?) connections i have ever made have been made in after parties or after-after parties. Nobody is sober and everybody is more relaxed. You just need to know the promoters to get there so...

Not everybody is up for connecting with strangers IRL. Most "better" producers i know are like that. That is one of the reasons why there is some much medicore stuff released.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #28
Lives for gear
 
genetic92's Avatar
 

Screw labels. Self release.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #29
Motown legend
 
Bob Olhsson's Avatar
 

Today a good producer and songwriter can make absolutely anybody sound like a hit record and labels know this better than most gearslutz apparently do.

I wouldn't bother with anything other than a video that shows an artist who is very engaged with a crowd.

40 years ago one of the most successful band managers in history told me that if labels aren't coming to you, you haven't done your homework and the artist isn't ready. I've seen nothing that suggests this has changed one bit since. There are lots of folks with their hands out trying to sell people stardom but in the end what you sell to labels and promoters is access to your actual fans and not just your potential.
Old 22nd September 2014
  #30
Gear Maniac
Quote:
Originally Posted by Bob Olhsson View Post
Today a good producer and songwriter can make absolutely anybody sound like a hit record and labels know this better than most gearslutz apparently do.

I wouldn't bother with anything other than a video that shows an artist who is very engaged with a crowd.

40 years ago one of the most successful band managers in history told me that if labels aren't coming to you, you haven't done your homework and the artist isn't ready. I've seen nothing that suggests this has changed one bit since. There are lots of folks with their hands out trying to sell people stardom but in the end what you sell to labels and promoters is access to your actual fans and not just your potential.
Definitely a good point and a great way of putting it, the aim should be to create something that labels will seek out, that's what I meant with my point about creating an online buzz first, show them there is a demand for the product you're selling. The music industry is a bank that has already been robbed and people don't like to take risks so they need reassurance that what you're doing is viable.

There's nothing more exciting to a label than a large, visible and untapped audience. I remember being in a meeting with my publisher and showing them a picture fans queueing early outside a gig of an artist they were looking to sign, it was a small venue and the fans outside totalled over 3 times the maximum capacity. The guy I was meeting took me to the then head of the publisher's office to show him and they were both ecstatic. The artist in question now sells out arenas.
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