Methods for Approaching Music Producers/Record Labels with your Songs
Had this question posed to me on Quora, figured I’d copy and paste my answer here as I figured some of you would find it valuable.
Though there are stories about labels picking up producers in almost any way imaginable, probabilistically certain methods have seen more success than others.
The lowest probability for getting your tracks heard by producers is the cold email/Facebook message: You’re competing with hundreds of other artists a day for their attention. I’ve heard artists like Audien and Zedd hit gold this way, but having send HUNDREDS of emails to producers, I think maybe 5–10% of my emails are even opened, and 10% of those are even responded to. So that’s option one.
Option 2 has a higher probability, but still takes lots of work, and a lot more patience. This approach involves selecting 2–3 moderately-successful producers/artists that produce in your style and just build a relationship with them. Don’t even try with the uberfamous ones: They’re hard to reach even for moderately successful acts. Once you’ve established a somewhat solid relationship, occasionally throw them one of your productions for input/their thoughts. I know many more producers who’ve seen success in this manner: From Oliver Heldens to Avicii.
Option 3 has the highest probability of success, but takes an insane amount of balls and a lot more luck. This is the “meet the producer in person” method. Depending on where you live some of these producers/execs may come into your town to perform. When they do, try to hit them before/after their show. Take a moment to just connect with them as a human, and then ask if you could share a usb with some of your tracks with them. Rarely will they say no, and if you’ve really connected with them conversationally (and somehow stopped the butterflies in your stomach from making you act like a total idiot), they’ll pay much more attention to what you’ve handed them. Skrillex blew up when he handed his “Scary Monsters and Nice Sprites” EP to Deadmau5, I know of a couple producers who’ve been signed onto Armin van Buuren’s “Armada” label because they handed him their stuff in person.
So those are your different methods: Each with a different execution requirement, and each with their own probabilities of success. If you’re time constrained, go for the latter options. If you want to maximize your chances as much as possible, go for all 3 methods.
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However…..If you’re a dance music producer, there is a fourth method which I’ve seen way too many producers blow up using: Ghost producer. Everyone from Martin Garrix to Porter Robinson got noticed because one of their clients’ tracks did. So if you’re willing to sell off a few babies, this is another option.