There are always record labels looking for artists to sign and develop. You’re probably at the stage where you don’t know how to find a record label whom to turn to for a deal. It’s understandable considering how crazy the process is. Before you approach any record label, you need to prepare yourself and do your homework.
Before approaching a record label: SoundCloud profile
You’re obviously aware that having an online presence is very important these days. One of the key places to have an online presence is SoundCloud. Here are some basic details to include in your SoundCloud profile:
- Basic introduction: Your SoundCloud bio should be filled with basic information about you. It’s no rocket science; people visiting your profile should find out vague details about you like where you’re from and what it is you do.
- Profile and header image: You must have a recent profile image which is attractive and of good quality. The header image should display your new music, or your tour. Here’s how Kyle uses this strategy:
- Social media links: If you’re just starting out in your music career on SoundCloud, you will build your career faster if you include all your social media links. This will help record labels find out about you, and help activate your followers. Kyle also has all his social media, as well as merch and album purchasing locations, in his SoundCloud profile.
- Contact information: Imagine you had an amazing track on SoundCloud and some record label listened to it and wanted to contact you. It would be upsetting to know you didn’t have any of that information in your profile description. You can see Kyle included his above as well.
- New content: Having fresh content will keep your engagement high. If you update your content regularly, there is a high chance that you’ll get noticed faster by record labels. Accounts which goes stale tend to be ignored. Kehlani always uploads new tracks and remixes when she doesn’t have a new album coming out:
- Followers: If you have a few thousand followers before you approach a record label it will create a good impression on them. They will realize that you’re not just another ambitious artist who talks big, but that you’re actually working on your career. If you’re new on SoundCloud and running out of time, an easy alternative would be to buy SoundCloud followers. You’re doing this to get a record label to notice you. Think of it as a short cut to your successful career in music.
Research record labels looking for artists
Some record labels accept demos for all genres. Others only accept specific genres that they prefer to focus on. Do some research to find the appropriate record label for your music. There’s no point in sending a demo recording of rock music to a record label that only focuses on EDM.
— Addiso̷n Van Buer (@vanbuer) September 12, 2013
Find record labels looking for artists: Start with the A&R person
In a record company, the artists and repertoire departments, also known as the “A&R” department, is responsible for talent scouting and artist development. These people represent record labels looking for artists. You can meet them at:
- Clubs: This is the best way to meet an A&R representative. They’re always present at small and big shows. You need to be active and constantly networking – you never know when you might meet an A&R person.
GREAT PLACE TO NETWORK FOR THE Def Jam Recordings A&R's
Club Langston 1073 ALANTIC AV WITH 107.5 WBLS
ENTRY $20… http://t.co/SxPxE3kT0R
— RockStar JTB (@RockStarJTB) December 11, 2014
- Backstage at concerts or events: A&R people are usually present at concerts. If you have any friends who could get you backstage access it is a great way to personally meet them.
- On social media: Some record labels only accept social media links. Rexius Records mention that fact on their website. They also only accept submissions sent via streaming service like SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify.
Lochlan Watt, the A&R manager at EVP Recordings, is active on Twitter. You can contact people like him on social media and get them to listen to your music. They are actively looking, they just signed Pagan:
— theMusic.com.au (@TheMusicComAu) June 22, 2017
Meeting A&R people personally at such events and places is the best way to bag a record deal. If they approach you while you’re performing, you’re definitely going to have “the” talk.
Mail them a CD or USB
Sending physical demos on CDs or USB drives is a good idea. Sometimes going old school is not a bad thing. Mailing CDs and USB drives to A&R people helps a lot if you’re living in a different city.
Email or share your SoundCloud link to them
The fastest way to send your demo is to email them a copy or its link on SoundCloud. There are many record labels that prefer demos from online streaming services. One of them is Rexius Records.
Before you send it out, you can substantially increase your play statistics. The fastest way to do this is to buy our SoundCloud plays services. Everyone knows that numbers and statistics matter. This is your way of levelling the playing field against larger bands.
Perform at events
If you keep producing music in your garage and not share it with others, nobody is going to find out about you. You must perform at local events and get new gigs to maximize your exposure in your local community. A&R people are always scouting for talent at local gigs.
One of my favorite jobs was as A&R scouting and profile new artists in every region of the U.S. I got paid well to research & reveal. #gigs
— Asia One (@asia1nep) January 7, 2016
Avoid rookie mistakes: Don’t send cover songs
A cover song is not an original song; it is just another version of a song. Record labels do not appreciate talent in cover songs. It does create a good impression if you play the same song well, but it’s not enough. They want an original piece. If you do not deliver original music, why do you think they would want to invest millions of dollars in you? Because, in the end, it is all about the business for them.
Record labels do not like artists who brag about themselves. No big person says they are big. You don’t say you’re the next big thing. They will know how good you are and how good your music is when they listen to it. You do not need to brag about yourself… Let the music do it for you.
Don’t be annoying and have patience
Patience is the only thing that record labels ask for after you send them your demos. You shouldn’t forget that you’re not the only one doing so. They have hundreds of demos to hear every day.
Here’s what Mathias from Rexius Records advises about sending a demo to record labels looking for artists.
Finding and attracting record labels looking for artists
To summarize, the first thing you should do is make sure that you’re ready to even look for a record label:
- Original and great music: You must have an original and epic piece of music. Cover songs do not qualify as original music. It must be your own creation from start to finish.
- Having a great SoundCloud profile: Record labels that are scouting on SoundCloud will definitely notice your profile. You must have a neat SoundCloud profile with all your information included.
- Research the record label: You must research and do a little background check on your chosen record label. Make sure they are signing artists in your genre.
After preparation, we discussed how to find record labels looking for artists:
- Find the artists and repertoire (A&R) person: Every record label has an A&R department scouting for new talent. You can meet A&R people at clubs, concerts, and online.
- Mail them a CD or USB: Going old school is helpful. You can send physical CDs or USB drives to record labels.
- Share your SoundCloud link: You can send your tracks’ SoundCloud links via email or social media. Most record labels prefer listening to demos from online streaming service providers like SoundCloud, YouTube, and Spotify.
- Perform at events: You must perform at local events and get as many gigs as you can. This will help you get exposure, and you may meet A&R people as they’re usually present at events and shows.
Avoid this… And go!
There are some things you should avoid when you approach a record label:
- Don’t brag: You must never show off and brag about yourself. This is just going to decrease your chances of signing a deal. Not even Kanye West bragged until after his deal was signed and he “went to the Louis store with 25 thou’.”
- Don’t be annoying: You have to have patience. You don’t need to call record labels every day to check whether or not they have listened to your demo. They are going to get annoyed and they might not call you back at all after that. You need to give them time and they will get back to you if your music is good.
You must know that for record labels, it’s just another business transaction. They do not want to waste time in investing and building your career. If your music is good enough, then you’ll definitely get noticed. Using all the methods you have just read about, you can definitely bag a record deal.