If you are an artist looking to sign music to a record label then this article may be of use to you. When contacting labels there is a simple set of guidelines you should follow to maximize your probability of getting a track signed. Here are some things you should and should not do when sending music to labels. If you are a seasoned artist and know the drill then you could probably ignore this post, if not then click to read more.
1. Finish your music
First and foremost; you need to finish your music. Record labels are not looking for ‘works in progress’ or half finished ideas. They want a completed body of work. Please do not say in emails ‘this one is almost done’ or ‘im going to add some vocals’ etc. Make sure you are sending labels fully completed tracks, which you are entirely happy with. It probably helps to get some other ears on your records to make sure it is the absolute best it can be.
2. Send Relevant Music
You should be researching the label’s sound. Have a look back through the labels catalogue of music and make sure you send RELEVANT music. Sending a trance record to Defected has exactly zero percent chance of getting signed. You should be actively checking out the music released on the label and only send them music that falls under specific genres that the label releases.
3. Absolutely Do Not Blanket Email
A great way to ensure your emails are never opened again is to send a blanket email with 40-50 label emails in the message. This proves you have not thought out where you want to release and are simply casting a wide net for the sake of signing a track. Labels want to know you looked them up and are interested in what they are releasing. They also want exclusive music. If you send them a link that already has 50 plays on soundcloud then it seriously diminishes the likelihood of being signed. Honestly, doing this mass mail out is a great way to get your emails diverted straight to the junk folder.
4. Keep Emails To The Point
Keep your emails brief and to the point. The A&R guy probably doesn’t care if you have been making tunes in your basement for 4 years. They care about the music and the authenticity of the artist. Write a professional, clear, concise and brief email. The email should also contain a private and streamable link to the demo. Demos are far less likely to be downloaded if the label guy has to download a zip folder. Keep those emails brief and to the point. Introduction, link to the demo, where you have released before and possibly why you are sending to that specific label. Say your goodbyes and provide some links to your socials. Absolutely do not say stuff like ‘Yo this is a sick BANGER. Twisted house beats on festival horns which makes the girls moist!’ - this is not how you get tracks signed. You wouldn't believe some of the shite people come up with in emails; that quote above was a genuine one we received!
5. Create A List Of Target Labels
We advocate for artists to create a list of target labels, which is split in two or three tiers. The top tier is the ‘big boy’ labels. The labels you think are way to big to ever consider your music. You have to aim high. You never know if your record will be a hit with the label A&R’s so you may as well take a shot. The second tier of target labels should be ones that have helped springboard artists careers. Some labels can be a breeding ground for bigger labels. An example of this could be labels like Zerothree, Enhanced, Silk Music etc. Artists who have released on those labels have went on to work with bigger labels like Armada, Anjunabeats and so on. Fairly often, big labels will scout those tastemaker labels for talent.
Finally your last tier should be smaller labels who are releasing a sound that you particularly enjoy. The fact is, not all artists are going to make it to the big labels and smaller labels can be an outlet for you to grow as an artist and get your music heard while shooting for the bigger labels. It is probably best to do your research and release with guys who are in line with your ethos. Just releasing on any old label that accepts your demo probably isn’t a good strategy and it looks less appealing to the majors if you have had quite a few releases on various random labels. Be very specific about who you want to release with.
6. Be Patient
Success doesn’t happen overnight. Every ‘overnight success’ story you have heard about has been secretly working for years. Do not be discouraged if labels reject your demo. It happens to literally every artist. No artist is to big to face rejection at some point. Just be patient and enjoy the process of making music.
7. Network and Build Relationships
Even if your demo isn’t accepted, immerse yourself into the scene and the labels which you love. For example if you want to release on Anjunadeep then go to their parties, follow their pages, follow their DJs, comment on their stuff, be active in their social groups, buy their releases and network with people who also love the same stuff as you. Never underestimate the power of networking and building relationships with people. One day that bloke you met at the party and kept in contact with on twitter might turn out to be the next Eric Prydz. You just never know. Work on building relationships with people in your scene and all help each other grow as artists.