How To Get Signed by any Record Label

If you make great music, anyone around you, let alone you, will wish you surely don’t play your future hit single to a brick wall. There is someone who exists to bring your story to a larger than life canvas. They are in the business to support you and your band by providing financial assistance, marketing your recorded music and music videos, and engage in a wide range of functions that can elevate and protect your career.

Did this mention ring any bells?

Needless to say, we are talking about a Record Label.

Record labels are the companies that engage in new artist recruitment and development, music publishing and copyright enforcement, and everything that is required to take an artist from obscurity to limelight.

Where does a Record Label get so much money from to do all these ?

A record label is a business and so they have operating costs — for distribution, marketing, design etc. They generate revenue to cover these costs by selling music, collecting mechanical royalties (cash they get when people play, buy and stream their tracks), and sometimes through selling merchandise and hosting events. They sign a range of agreements with their artists, including licensing and distribution agreements, which give them significant cuts of the artist’s earnings worldwide. Eventually, they make a great deal of profit. Everything that comes in excess is profit for them.

Evidently, the relationship between an artist and a record label is a win-win alliance, isn’t it?

The whole process of getting signed to a label can make you feel crazy but this article will help you do away with all your gnawing doubts.

How do you know when record labels are actively seeking artists? How can you get them to give your tunes a spin? Who’s the best person to contact ? What could you do to make yourself a very viable small business that a label might wanna work with.

We will deal with all these questions but before that it would be better to gain a sound knowledge about the ins and outs of a record label in brief.

There are basically two types of record labels — Major Record Label and Independent Record Label. Let’s get the idea crystal clear with a quick distinction between the two.

Major Versus Independent Record Labels

Major record labels offer deals to the world’s most successful music artists. These record labels, such as Sony and Universal Music Group, own their distribution networks that put the music of the artists they sign to exclusive contracts in the hands of the millions of consumers sometimes in a matter of hours or days.

Independent labels have a strong reputation for having their fingers on the pulse of upcoming music trends and for giving chances to unknown artists who eventually become international sensations. Big Machine (Taylor Swift’s label), Coalition and French Kiss are popular examples in this category.

Major record labels offer more money (a lot of times in advance) to outbuild an artist’s career but they are quite controlling in nature.

On the contrary, an independent label may not offer as much money as compared to a major label but they would offer personalized plans for the artist and exercise a little less control over artist’s career.

Major record labels may also own sub-labels that specialize in publishing, recording and promoting various music genres. To stay in business given the reality of the digital age, record labels now offer so-called “360 deals” to artists that give them a cut of all the artist’s work, including album sales, media appearances, and product endorsements.

Now, let’s answer the posed question.

What does it actually take to get signed by a Record Label ?

To increase your odds of getting signed, you have to understand what labels want and experience. Because when you do, you can cater their needs way better.

1) Music that can sell itself off the Shelves like Hot Cake

Essentially, all labels are looking for a hit. It doesn’t necessarily need to be a ‘mainstream’ hit, but something that’s good enough and unique to catch a lot of attention. Music that has the power to make them and their artists stand out.

You need to strike a balance between your artistic vision and how marketable your music is. You need to make music that will appeal to a broad audience. Would your grandfather like your music? Would your friends? Would someone who didn’t speak English like your songs? Give your audience some thought.
Make the music you want to make, but be realistic about your goals.

2) Your preparedness

The truth is a lot of bands reach out to record labels before they’re really ready to get to the next level. A label wants to see you’re the whole package and you’re about to take the world by storm. Then they’ll invest in you.

No label wants to sign a cheap version of another band; they want someone striking, someone who makes you sit up and take notice. Labels want to see a captivating front person who knows how to put on a show.

3) Your Social Media Presence

A strong social following looks good to labels, too, and you might even find label employees among your online fans. Once these people start sharing your music far and wide, you won’t have to look for labels. They’ll already be looking for you.

4) The way you approach — The Presentation

If you write a poorly-crafted cover letter or submit your music in the wrong format, you reduce your odds of getting your music heard and increase the odds of getting it sent to some label employee’s desktop trash bin.

Be sure you’re including a streaming link to your music, any social media pages (list the ones with the biggest following first), your professional website (if you have one), any connections you might have to the label or their bands, and, if possible, an intriguing quote about your band. Don’t forget to list your contact info, of course.

Happy submitting!

5) Are you Selling Your Music ?

Labels love to see an artist who is already selling music. Take songs that you are doing really well, that are resonating with folks and you wanna get them up for sale. Start creating a sell story around, get the buzz going !

Other Significant Strategies

6) Take Feedback

Whenever you reach that point on a track where you think that it’s ready to send it to a record label, you need to pause and ask for feedback.

Send it over to people whose opinion you value, but not your friends or relatives.

7) Polish the sound

A decently mixed and mastered track is going to sound miles and miles better than one that’s not.

8) Lookout for opportunities

Another smart tactic is netting your band a performance slot at a music industry conference. These meetings go on year-round — has a comprehensive list of conferences for which you might be a good fit.

9) Send Your Music to a DJ

Send your music to a DJ who is constantly looking to good music to play in their sets, and get it supported by them. Remember not to spam them. Two tracks a month is enough.

Keep making music. Build a strong relationship with the DJ. Come across as “I’m not a one hit wonder. I can make song after song.”

10) Get recommendation

Managers, promoters and A&R (Artist and Repertoire) men are to some extent filters of what is good and bad and one of them can filter out acts that will never make it so that only the half decent ones even get in front of people who have decision making power.

You need to get your stuff in front of one of these people at some point, so you need to cultivate relationships with people who can help you do that — all of the above applies to getting even those people to listen and help.

Today the Internet has freed artists from dependence on record labels, and through social media, many artists market and distribute their music independently at a much lower cost.

So if you don’t want to compromise your vision, you can reconsider your major label aspirations. Focus instead on developing a fan base that will love your corner of the music world.

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