Before sending out your music demo submissions, check out these five quick tips that will help you sign with a record label.
So you want a recording contract? To sign with a label, you must send musical demos.
A demo is an example of several tracks you’ve written or produced, giving labels a feel for your style of music. The scary truth is that even a small record company accepting demos receives hundreds of submissions per week.
But fear not. Here’s how to break the noise and submit a killer demo submission that will get your music noticed.
The music must sound good
The beauty of a demo is that it doesn’t have to be perfect. They are different from a single or an EP which is a neat final draft that has to have a professional sounding production. But your demo should still sound good, otherwise you put people off before they have a chance to hear the potential of your music.
Make sure your track is complete before sending it. Watch your levels while recording, spend time making the right mix, and make sure you can hear all the important elements of the song. Do not record too slowly.
If you want, you can tell the label what stage the recording is at, whether it was professionally mixed or not, so they can get a feel for its potential.
What demo songs to send
By sending in unreleased tracks, labels are more likely to want to take you as a new, undiscovered artist. Up to three leads is a good amount to send. Send either an MP3 DropBox or private SoundCloud links.
A demo should show the best songs you’ve created. Now that might not include your favorite song. Will it resonate with your target audience? If the answer is no, you may have to make a difficult decision.
Target the right labels
Make a list of labels that will suit the genre of your music. You are wasting your hard earned time sending your music to a label that is not suitable for your music.
There’s not much an EDM label can do with your indie rock demo. Take yourself out of the equation for a minute and think carefully who you are sending your demo to.
Send more than just a link
You have therefore chosen the labels to contact. Now tailor each of your emails or forms to each business and, if you have the information, to a specific person within the label. The labels will be able to tell if a general email has been sent to hundreds of other businesses.
Then introduce yourself and your music. An email with just a link to your music looks lazy and can be sent straight into spam. Give your brief bio, where you are based, how long you have been making music and describe what your songs sound like.
Keep the tone light and professional, while being yourself. It sounds tricky, but try to juggle persuasion, not to aspire too much for etiquette, and not to appear arrogant.
Do not abandon !
Rejection is unfortunately part of being an artist. Some labels don’t even have time to respond.
But keep trying. Look for different labels and refine your approach. Change the tone of your voice in your messages, improve the mix of your tracks and integrate the reviews.
Having more music ready to send is a good way to maintain your creative momentum if your submission is rejected. Producing more than one song also means that if a label asks to hear some of your other tracks, you’ve got something up your sleeve.
An alternative to signing a label is to release your music yourself. As a freelance artist, you retain full control over your music and retain all rights to your songs, as long as you register with a distributor like RouteNote.
We send your music to Spotify and Apple Music, and to worldwide streaming services like Qobuz and JioSaavn, so your songs can be played anywhere.
With our free distribution, you keep 85% of the royalties and you are free to come and go as you please without giving up your music or putting ink on restrictive contracts. There is also the Premium tier of RouteNote, which allows you to keep 100% of the profits for an initial and annual fee.
The trade-off for not getting signed to a label is that you have to run your own career, which means taking care of things like recording, promoting, and marketing yourself. But we have plenty of how-to videos and articles to guide you.
Whether you’re sending demos to labels or heading towards independence, the two most important things are making great music and believing in yourself.
The world deserves to hear your music. Take it out.
Curious about RouteNote? Find out how we help unsigned artists and independent record labels here.