So you want to start your music career by get your music to a record label and becoming a signed artist? Well, there are quite a few things that you should take care of before submitting your music to any label. Being a singed artist is a huge topic in today’s world.
It can be both a good and bad thing at the same time. Make sure you ask yourself why you want to get signed to a label. If it’s strictly for the fame and money and not building relationships in the music business, you may want to rethink becoming a signed artist.
Below we will discuss what you should already have completed before deciding to submit your music to a record label.
What A Label Will Look For In New Potential Artists
- First off, labels want music that fits their brand’s sound and artists that fit their image. Labels do this so the product (music) aligns with their business model. Before sending your demo to record labels, go through their catalog, and listen to their latest releases. See if your music fits. You want to make sure the music you are trying to get signed fits in their current collection.
- Labels find artists within their current network more appealing, especially when it comes to an artist just starting. Networking is one of the most critical aspects of the music business. Sometimes just knowing someone at the label will get your foot in the door much faster than continuously submitting your demos.
- Song! Having a collection of songs unreleased is critical. If you can multiple songs that all work well together, the label may ask for more off the bat. If you can develop your catalog, this shows the label you write regularly, ultimately showing that you’re serious!
- Playing gigs, booking a small tour, and having important releases ready to go can be huge. This can sometimes be an issue for artists and producers. Many compare their engagement numbers with others, and the difference is that the artist compares themselves to others who are putting their music in front of their market.
This is where it all begins and is an essential part of your music industry journey. Your music must be on the professional level of other signed artists, quality and quantity-wise. Use reference tracks when mixing and mastering your own music. This will guide you to get the desired sound most labels are looking for.
It is also crucial to get feedback on your music whenever possible and from whoever possible. You want to gather feedback from other producers who may hear things you missed. Being open to constructive criticism will only improve your skills.
You also want to take into consideration feedback from non-producers. Most people consuming music are not producers; therefore, if it sounds good to them and is catchy, it will usually sound good to others. The general consumer is responsible for creating trends and they’re the ones that ultimately make a record successful, so it’s important to know what they’re listening to.
Now That you’ve taken care of any issues within the track, you need to make it sound as good as possible. Final touches can make a world of difference even if you’re not great at it. A decently mixed and mastered track will sound astronomically better than one that has simply been rendered out and uploaded.
Presentation Is Key
You know the saying “First impressions last forever” well… it’s true and extremely important when looking to be signed to a record label. When you manage to get a label to listen to your music, they will probably catch sight of your online presence. And, if for some reason they don’t, and your music was intriguing to them, they’re going to look you up. For this reason, you want to make sure the impression you leave on them is as professional as possible.
Set up a social account under your artist alias on at least Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Youtube, and SoundCloud. Make sure you have the same name on each platform.
This allows you to drive traffic from one online channel to the next. Make sure all your profiles have links to your other profiles. All your platforms should be in your bio, making it easy for a potential listener to find you on EVERYTHING.
Once you have your socials ready to go, you’re going to want to build an online presence! Building some sort of following on platforms like Instagram, SoundCloud, Mix Cloud, and Youtube can help immensely.
If a label sees authentic engagement and a solid fanbase, that’s a great thing. Fill out your bios and profiles appropriately. An empty BandCamp or SoundCloud profile will never improve your chances of getting a response.
Information and personality are key. Don’t wait for things to happen. If you have a song ready to go, use an online distributor such as Distrokid and place that song on the major streaming services like Spotify.
If you are serious about making it as an artist, you should have your own .com domain. It simply looks more professional. Try and get a website using only your alias and obviously .com.
You can get .com domains for as little as $10, which is a tiny fee to pay for a domain. Once you have your domain, you need a website on it. You can build your own using sites like Wix or WordPress if you’re not the most tech-savvy like myself.
When you think of the largest brands globally, there’s usually a distinct image or aesthetic that comes to mind. This is called the companies brand image.
It’s up to you to build a brand image that represents you. You should have a logo, some decent photos and artwork of your releases. Make sure all of the social platforms have the same main profile picture.
The Ground Work
I would recommend making a top-five list of the labels you want to release with. It is important to make sure these labels are compatible with your music and brand image before submitting to them. The more your music fits their style the better.
For each of these labels, find their main social accounts and email address. Most have their unsolicited demo submission email directly on their website.
Do some research and see who is running the labels. Maybe it’s possible to reach them directly. The bigger the label, the harder this will be.
Setting Yourself Apart
Here’s the hard part. This proves to be the most time-consuming step in the whole process and needs to be executed with a lot of attention to detail. Be different, your favorite artist that you aspire to be like is already signed, and the world doesn’t need another.
You need to find what makes you different. A&R’s will rarely pay attention to an artist that sound like someone that is already successful
With all that being said, most labels, both large and small, accept demos on their official website. Submitting to a record label is easy. Being noticed and your music heard is what can be difficult. The points mentioned above are just a few different things that can help your odds of being signed when submitting to a record label.
Remember to trust the process and have fun while doing it. Focus on the quality of your tracks and you’re branding. If you can do that, play shows and build a brand, the labels may just find you!
Taking The Next Step
If you are interested in learning more about the music business, Dark Horse Institute’s Music Business Program is a great way to take things to the next level when you are ready.