How to submit your music to a record label
How to submit your music to a record label
You’ve been producing your own tracks and now you’re ready to submit them to record labels for release. The question is how do you do that, and how do you get noticed?
It’s essential to think carefully about who you approach and how you approach them. If you make the wrong move you could look like an amateur. You have to make a good first impression and you have to get their attention. Follow these steps to help you plan a release and get the best results.
Make sure your track is worthy enough!
It’s pointless to send a track to a label if it simply doesn’t compare well to what they are already releasing. Think in terms of the quality of the production, the style of music and trends the label are following. The closer your music style is to the labels the better. Avoid sending something half-baked to labels, they will write you off as an amateur and that can stick with you for a long time.
Don’t use illegal samples.
One of the fundamental rules is never use samples you don’t have the legal right to use. If you were to get signed and then someone sued the record label, you will become liable. Sample legality is a bit of grey area, some people will get away with using certain samples and some won’t. Is it worth the risk? If you're looking for a great place to download a wide variety of samples legitimately click here for our favourite provider, Splice.
What is your USP?
What is your unique selling point? Why would you stand out as an artist? Make sure you really have this concept pinned down because if you can’t convince yourself you’ll never be able to sell your ideas to anyone else. Prepare your elevator pitch, a short sales pitch that delivers the key points of why you as an artist are worth signing.
Do you have an online presence?
Labels will want to see that you are following industry standards and that you’re actively cultivating a fan base. Your fans are ultimately the ones that will be buying your music so make sure you’re attracting followers online. Online platforms like Soundcloud, Twitter, Youtube and Instagram allow you to connect with fans but also communicate your creative intent and brand identity. Labels want to sign artists that are the full package, not just the music but the skills to promote themselves as well.
Have your EPK ready.
Have a professional electronic press kit. An EPK is basically your DJ biography, a selection of press photos, any logos and graphics you have, links to videos or sets and your contact information. If you’re looking for a great photographer for DJs click here.
Create a list of labels you want to contact.
Make a list of all the labels you want to possibly release on. Before you reach out to them, make sure you have researched their roster and are familiar with all of their releases. Now contact them one by one, systematically, according to which ones are your favourites. You can try and reach out to them by email, phone, post or in-person. In-person is often the best way to connect with a potential label. Make sure you follow their activity online and attend any events they are running, or seminars they are involved with.
Send your track the correct way.
Labels will want you to send an email with a link to your track on a private Soundcloud page. Make sure it’s for their eyes only and it’s not available publicly. Once you make something public it will become worthless in the eyes of the label. Include any remixes you intend to release.
Think outside of the box.
You can send your track or make your initial contact in other ways too. One of our students, Nick, sent Toolroom Records this demo on a custom USB, delivered to their head office. The extra effort and the physical format got their attention and the track was signed! It’s worth pointing out that he did also fulfil all the points above. Click here to read all about it!
Once you’ve sent the track, be patient and wait a while for a response. If a week goes by why not try and call their office and check they received it. Perhaps there is another email you can send it to, or you could ask if they want it in any other format. If you’re emailing them and they do turn you down you can always ask for constructive criticism to help you prepare for your next attempt. Always be polite in the face of refusal, you’ll need to grow a thick skin to be part of the music industry. Rejection is a natural part of trying to get a track signed, you might have to get rejected hundreds of times before you get your big break.
There are some labels to avoid.
There are many labels now that will release any track, purely just to make money from you. They will sign you into an agreement where you only earn money if the record sales surpass a certain target, which they know is often out of reach for newbie producers. These labels rarely promote your tracks and other labels will think less of you if you release on them. You want to be released on a reputable label, if you can’t find one interested you probably need to go back to step one and work on your track. Failing all attempts why not think about starting your own record label? Labelworx is a great company making the whole process very easy.
If you would like to learn how to produce with Ableton or Logic sign up for our 1-2-1 courses in our Manchester, Birmingham or Oxford studios. Click here to view our courses or click here to contact us.