The Unconventional Guide To Getting Signed By A Record Label

Do you have capital music and want to score a record deal ? Or have you always wondered how artists got through to big labels and ended up getting signed ? In this post, I will teach you my foolproof method acting for scoring a record label deal and set you up with a dessert checklist of disturbance ’ sulfur which you can pick up correct here .
It ’ s a short unconventional and it requires heavily work, but it certain as hell works. With this approach, I have signed tracks of barely known artists to internationally think of labels. even when the artists and I were precisely newly starting out in the game .

The Fundamentals

Before you do anything, we have to sort out the basics. These are the things that have to be right before you evening attempt getting in touch with a record label .

The Music

This is where it all begins and is the essential part of the puzzle. You have to make sure that your music is absolutely mind-blowingly amazing. These are steps you should take to guarantee it rightfully is.

Get feedback
Whenever you reach that sharpen on a path where you think that it ’ randomness cook to send it to a record label, you need to pause and ask for feedback .
Send it over to people whose opinion you measure, but not your friends or relatives. They will likely be yeah-sayers. You don ’ t need that. You need hard criticism .
Take it all in and work with it. not everything that others consider incorrect with it has to be corrected, but if you get multiple people pointing out the same things, it should start ringing some bells .
Polish the sound
now that you have ironed out most of the track ’ s issues, you need to make certain it sounds a good as it possibly can – I ’ meter talking about mix and overcome hera. These final touches can make a world of difference…. even if you ’ ra not great at it, a decently interracial and overcome track is going to sound miles and miles better than one that ’ s not .
now, if you ’ re a producer, then you probably know how to put down a decent mix and master. If not, then I highly suggest you either send your polish track over to a friend who does know this stuff, get it sent over to an audio engineer or learn how to do this yourself .
My co-founder over at Heroic, Tim, has written a big template on mixing & master .

The presentation

You know the saying ‘ First impressions last ’ ? It ’ mho true… and highly relevant when you ’ re trying to get signed .
When you manage to get a pronounce to listen to your music, chances are that they are going to catch a glimpse of your on-line appearance. And if they don ’ thymine, they will decidedly look you up if your music has intrigued them. You want to make certain that the mental picture you leave is a good as can be .
here ’ s the minimum of things that you should have sorted out :
Set up accounts under your artist alias on at least Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Make your particular URLs the lapp for each platform… thus if you ’ re, you want to try and have besides .
then, interlink everything. All your profiles should have links to your profiles on early platforms, your web site, and touch e-mail. If you have a director you can replace your e-mail with theirs, and if you besides have agents you ’ ll want to include their information as well .
You can besides throw in a post marker singular to yourself adjacent to these links to keep your SoundCloud looking matter to .

Official Website
You should have your own .com world. It good looks more professional .
If your dance band name is TheBestBandEver, try going for You can get .com domains for deoxyadenosine monophosphate little as $ 10, but with a fiddling trick I ’ m about to teach you, you could score one for less than $ 3 a class. First, you want to make sure that the world you ’ re after is not invade yet…. do that by going to GoDaddy and executing a domain search. Hopefully, you ’ ll find a .com that you like. Don ’ t even bother going for anything else than .com .
now, you want to find a rebate coupon for GoDaddy. Go to FatWallet or RetailMeNot and find a code that offers an 80 % + discount on .com domains. then use this code during the checkout march at GoDaddy. Booya, you ’ ve barely scored yourself a domain. nowadays all you need is a web site on there… you can build one yourself or run with WordPress or Tumblr if you ’ re not that
Booya, you ’ ve just scored yourself a world .
now all you need is a web site on there… you can build one yourself or run with WordPress or Tumblr if you ’ re not that tech-savvy .
You besides have to have an established mark that ’ s visually pleasing american samoa well .
You should have a logo, some becoming photograph and possibly artwork for all your releases. Make surely these are all set up correctly on your social media sites and web site .
If you have mediocre designs or did a half-assed undertake at crafting something yourself, ditch it. You ’ re better off with no design than surly invention – it looks cheap .
ideally, you want to find a couturier who can specifically cater to your needs and with whom you can develop a long-run work relationship. Most good designers are expensive though .
alternatively, there are a few ways you can get well designs for a fair price ; you either find a couturier whose will to work with you for free or brassy, or use design competition websites .
For the prior, you can browse EDM producer forums as they frequently have categories where beginning designers are sky-high giving away absolve designs to practice their deal. Try looking at EDM District ’ s Community forums .
then there are design contest websites – these are sites where you can post a job offer, for exemplar for a logo purpose, offer a set price, and a crowd of designers in the web site ’ s community will pitch designs to best match your requirements .
once your job posting expires, you get to choose the design you like the most, and that graphic designer gets the money. Check out 99designs and Crowdspring .
I can ’ metric ton stress enough how essential these basic things are. If you have checked and sorted out everything, you should now have a decent foundation built and you ’ ll expect more professional to both labels and fans .

Thinking Like A Label

To increase your odds of getting signed, you have to understand what labels do, want and experience. Because when you do, you can cater their needs room better .
pace into their shoes with me .
first and foremost, a record label is a clientele. They have operating costs ( for distribution, selling, design etc ) and need to generate gross to cover those costs .
Everything in surfeit is their profit .
They generate this gross by selling music, collecting mechanical royalties ( cash they get when people play, buy and stream their tracks ), and sometimes through selling trade and hosting events .
Whether focused on mainstream or metro, they have to make end meet. With this in mind, think about the type of artists they want to sign – artists that help them make money. The factors that contribute to that are great music, a ( adult ) fanbase, good marketing, and dedication. The better you score on these points, the more concern you are to sign .

The Art of A&R

good labels receive tons of show .
They frequently have A & R ’ randomness ( Artist & Repertoire ) working for them. These are the people that scout talent and listen to the demonstration .
top notch commercial labels such as OWSLA, Mad Decent, and Spinnin ’ Records receive over 100 demonstration DAILY .
These pile up sol promptly that it ’ mho closely impossible to keep up with .
Some bigger labels go through their show once a month, but I know of a few who have just given up on checking their general show boxes and mail folders wholly. rather, they find and sign music through their net. This is a enormously significant impression which I ’ ll address further on .
Download a step-by-step checklist on how to get signed to a record label
basically, all labels are looking for a hit .
It doesn ’ t inevitably need to be a ‘ mainstream ’ hit, but something that ’ mho thoroughly enough and alone to catch a batch of attention. Music that has the world power to make them and their artists stand out .
next to that, there ’ s something else that ’ s becoming increasingly crucial – freelancer office .
With the upgrade of all the social networks and other on-line tools, it ’ sulfur easier than always to market yourself independently as an artist .
This effect has come at a price for labels though… they no longer control the only channels through which music is distributed and are therefore more dependant on the marketing power of artists themselves. As a result, labels are increasingly looking for artists that would be able to make it ‘ big ’ by themselves ; with large and dedicate fan bases, unique selling styles and bang-up ways of branding themselves. This is becoming a enormously important function of the equation. They want to pick up the acts that could go ‘ viral ’ without them .
As an artist looking for a deal, you should be aware of these cornerstones. Great music is rarely all it takes when you ’ re looking to get signed. That ’ randomness precisely the world .
To illustrate, Deadmau5 ’ s label Mau5trap stated earlier that they no longer sign artists who are not wholly self-sufficient, careless of melodious quality .
The more mindful you are, the better you can prepare yourself .

The Pitch

Before we get to the veridical work, it ’ sulfur essential that you determine precisely who you ’ re going after .

The basis

Make a top five list of the labels that you ’ five hundred want to release with the most. It is crucial that these labels are compatible with your music… it ’ second otiose to send dubstep to an indie rock label. You know what I mean .
The more your music fits their style, the better. Create this list on your computer using Word, Excel, Evernote or something alike .
then, track them down. Research all the places where the labels are located .
For each of them, find their YouTube channel, SoundCloud, Facebook Page, Twitter bill, web site and electronic mail addresses .
A full way to start doing this is by searching Google with the label ’ mho name. If they are decently organized, the first page of Google should lead you to everywhere you need. besides, you will probably be able to find links to all their channels on their web site or Facebook Page .
Make indisputable to cross reference book everything – you might find an electronic mail address on their web site that ’ s not on their FB page, etc .
now it ’ mho time to figure out who is running the usher at these labels. You ’ ll want to know the names and e-mail addresses of the founders, directors or A & R ’ randomness. The bigger the label, the hard this will be .
You might have already found some of this information in the previous footprint. If you did, good. Proceed careless .
As you can imagine, there are many people that want to know this information. Try all of these steps until you ’ re absolutely certain that you ’ ve wholly figured out who you ’ re dealing with and how to contact them. Make sure to take notes !
Label Website
look for the about and touch pages to see if there are any officiate titles or personally addressed emails available on official label sites. possibly, there will be a biography on the locate giving you more information .
You can besides use Google Chrome plugins like Hunter to assist in finding emails. Hunter is a free cock that scans web site hoard for electronic mail addresses and provides you with a tilt of emails on the locate .

As you can see, I used Hunter on the OWSLA web site which picked up a few personal emails plus two general emails .
Most companies use a standard firstname @ electronic mail – like OWSLA does. Bigger companies may use [ electronic mail protected ] but for the most share, it ’ south reasonably standard .
now that you have the electronic mail, it ’ randomness significant that you trace the source back to person relevant. Cold-emailing the OWSLA graphic graphic designer won ’ t make it any easier for you to get signed. To do that, just Google “ firstname OWSLA LinkedIn “, that ’ ll normally take you their LinkedIn page which will most likely have their job championship and a few samara responsibilities .
alternatively, you can fair start with LinkedIn right off the squash racket .
Hunter integrates absolutely with LinkedIn, so if you ’ re not having much luck on the official web site, you can head true to LinkedIn .
Make certain you have an report, it ’ sulfur rid to sign up and doesn ’ t want much customization, and then merely search for the record label ’ south name in the search barricade. Look for them as a ‘ company. ’
once you ’ ve found them you ’ ll be able to see a tilt of employees with their subcontract titles and some basic descriptions. Click on a relevant A & R profile and Hunter should find their electronic mail for you momentarily. More on LinkedIn searching here in the ‘ Who to pitch to ’ section .
Social Media
If you ’ re having no fortune with Hunter you can go straight to the reservoir sometimes. While searching on social media is improbable to give you an e-mail right away, it should be a good begin sharpen for a full name to work with .
Facebook ’ s search cock is an extremely powerful to find people .
voyage to the “ Find Friends ” feature and check out the right side menu for a wholly long ton of options. You ’ ll want to scroll down to “ Employer ” and then enter the name of the specific commemorate label you ’ re trying to reach. If the employees have assigned the label as their employer on Facebook, then they will show up in the search results .
note that anybody on Facebook can list any company as their job. therefore when you find a profile, be indisputable to vet them to make surely they actually look like they work there .
The Facebook foliate and SoundCloud profiles of the commemorate labels tend to have some information american samoa well that could prove useful .
For SoundCloud look at the bio on the right hired hand side – you ’ ll normally have to click “ show more ” to find more data .
For Facebook, navigate to the “ about ” page. With a little luck, there will be more contact details there. sometimes you can even find a reference to the page ’ south owner there.

Consolidating The Data
If you ’ ve found the names of the label ’ s employees then you should repeat these fact-finding steps for them as individuals .
By virtue of the commercial enterprise, a majority of these people will be public-facing people who are actively engaged in social media and network and will have personal Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Facebook accounts and possibly even their own websites. Track it all down .
By nowadays you should know who are running the pronounce and where to reach them. If not, then you either need to dig deeply, or think of more imaginative ways to uncover ( contact ) information. alternatively, you could try getting in touch with people whom are probably to know more and ask them ( such as artists releasing with the pronounce or their management ) .

here comes the hard region. This is the most clock consuming step of this wholly process and needs to be executed with a set of doggedness and attention to detail .
Earlier we discussed how the bigger a pronounce gets, the more demos they receive. Their A & R ’ second will hardly pay attention to the populace demonstration booklet and are more inclined to sign tracks that they ’ ve gotten through their own network, discovered on the web or by visiting shows. sometimes that public folder is only check once a month. By an intern .
Assuming you ’ re doing everything you can to have the best music, commercialize, branding and social media going that you possibly can, there ’ south one individual thing that you can do that will make a worldly concern of difference – Make friends with the right people.
Growing these relationships can be a hard tax though. peculiarly if they ’ ra trade name fresh .
specially early in the relationship, you ’ ll need to interact to build acquaintance .
constantly .
People tend to recognize things, be it brands or faces, once they ’ ve seen them 2 or 3 times. That means that you ’ ll probably only be recognized from the decimal point where the label has seen your name come around about three times .
If you ’ ve managed to strike up dialogue, be sure to show genuine matter to .
focus on the early person. Avoid talking about yourself. Ask relevant questions .
research what they ’ ve been up to – social media is great for that. Act on that .
People tend to do more for people they like. This is what we call grace. Foster it .
You increase the pace with which you gain this by adding prize in your interactions with people .
Give them ideas, criticism, links or comments that could benefit them. Point out something they could have missed. Put in some campaign. Make life better for them. They ’ ll appreciate you for it .
Remember most of all – luck favors the bold .
Don ’ triiodothyronine feel afraid to connect with people, careless of their condition, or if they are strangers to you. good things come from those little risks .
You should apply all of these principles in many of your business relationships. particularly if you want to collaborate with person, these things go a long direction .

Building relationships

The unconventional guide to getting signed by a record label - 2I will show you my approach to establishing new business relationships. Our goal here is to create friends or at least acquaintances. You want them to get familiar with you and need to develop goodwill with them. This will later serve as the basis on which you’ll receive a preferential treatment when submitting tracks.
I will show you my set about to establishing fresh business relationships. Our goal here is to create friends or at least acquaintances. You want them to get familiar with you and need to develop good will with them. This will later serve as the basis on which you ’ ll receive a discriminatory treatment when submitting tracks. Download a bit-by-bit checklist on how to get signed to a record label Apply this approach with all the the five labels on your list. With a little luck, the people you meet first will make meeting the others easier. Networking is accumulative like that .
Take bill that building relationships takes time and that you should start doing this at least two weeks before you submit any music. If you rush things, you might not have had adequate time to alliance and can not reap the benefits. besides, getting all friendly with people and then asking for things directly afterwards normally isn ’ metric ton appreciated either .
Apply the keep up steps for all five labels on your number and their employees .
You ’ ve already discovered where to find the label and it ’ sulfur people. It ’ sulfur time to connect with them, everywhere .
Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, follow on Soundcloud. If you know the personal names of the employees, try looking for their personal Facebook accounts with the end goal of having them accept your request. They room you do that is by…
Directly Interacting With People
If you found the names of the label ’ second people, it ’ s time to start interacting with them publicly
On Twitter, try @ replying them regularly. Respond to content, refer them to something they ’ five hundred appreciate or just say ‘ hawaii ’. These are all slowly ways to get a conversation going, but besides have the other party recognize your diagnose and manage. In case your attempts on Facebook and Twitter fail and you have an employee ’ south e-mail address, you could start there. Shoot them an electronic mail saying ‘ Hi ’ and respond to one of their more late posts or releases. Try and add value. evening mail can prove a great way to start a dialogue .
once you ’ ve developed a rapport on-line ( this takes some time ) and you feel comfortable enough to chat privately you should send a Facebook supporter request. More on the act ’ south and don ’ triiodothyronine of pitching here .
Getting Physical
In case the label or it ’ south employees are somewhere near you geographically, then I highly recommend that you get physical .
If it ’ s a decently sized label, I ’ d plainly go with calling up their offices, asking for the A & R, explaining who you are and telling them that you ’ five hundred beloved to meet. They will either tell you to send them an electronic mail first base ( in which case you can collect the A & R ’ s electronic mail ), or you ’ ll be able to schedule a meet true off .
If they don ’ metric ton choice up, or if the A & R isn ’ thymine in function just keep trying again until you speak to them. People will remember person who stepped in their office a thousand times more than the dandy who was equitable emailing, therefore target for that .
As for the e-mail : keep it short-circuit, tell them who you are and add some links to your music .
Make certain to show interest in what they ’ ve been doing, and that the music you send is compatible with their style. then ask if you could schedule a meet, because it ’ five hundred be courteous to put a face to the list. normally, that ’ s all it takes to get a meeting. Grow a pair and do it !
Do some bonding
This is your end-all goal. adhesiveness with the label ’ mho people. Make some friends in the action .
Let go of the ‘ I have music and in truth truly want you to listen to it NOW ‘ mindset and equitable talk to them. Joke around a little. You ’ ll see how easy it is to make friends .
That ’ s what you need to get ahead in this business .
Be consistent
Once you ’ ve initiated a few conversations, thrown out a few emails, messages and possibly started to get a dialogue going, it ’ mho significant that you are systematically communicating. I ’ molarity not saying you should stalk them to death, but make sure the ardor keeps burning. The longer you talk, the more acquaint you get .
Get friendly, be yourself and invest a load of time. Before you know it, you ’ ll have developed a small net of people you never thought you ’ d be in touch with. It ’ south slowly once you get started. When that ’ s set in place, and you ’ ve let a little meter passing, it ’ south prison term to get to the actual show submissions .

Submitting Music

The unconventional guide to getting signed by a record label - 3We’re finally here! You get to submit some music.
We ’ re ultimately hera ! You get to submit some music. This is the easiest of all the steps we ’ ve discussed .
I ’ ll operate you through this process in three steps ; the ( united nations ) speak rules, preparing for the submission and actually sending it in .

The (Un)spoken Rules

Only submit finished, unsigned, unpublicized original material – that excludes all remixes, edits, reworks, works in progress and besides everything you ’ ve uploaded somewhere publicly already .
Avoid using copyrighted material – unless you have a electric potential chart topping # 1 hit in your hands, labels are not besides eager to release music that contains copyrighted material. Clearing it takes a bunch of attempt and potentially money. lone the big boys clear stuff. The smaller labels either let it slide and hope they don ’ triiodothyronine induce caught, or have to pass on those tracks raw .
Make it easy for them – beneficial labels receive a bunch of music ( yeah yea I ’ ve said that already ). Listening to all that music is a pain in the fuck. You need to make this process a convenient as possible for them. besides, there ’ second always a find you ’ re going to be looked over. You need to be precise and persistent to get your stuff listen .
Quality over quantity – do not send more than three tracks at once in a demonstration submission. If you have more, force yourself to filter out the best. This will increase the odds of the label hearing something that they ’ ll like. The more tracks are in there, the bigger the chance that they won ’ thymine hear your best exploit immediately, or that it seems like a huge job to go through everything. If you want to submit an EP or Album, I ’ five hundred suggest creating matter to with the best tracks beginning .
Everyone wants to feel special – including the tag. Don ’ t send a show submission to multiple labels at once. particularly not when using a individualized approach like we are. Just imagine what would happen if two of them said yes at the lapp time. That wouldn ’ thymine go excessively well .
Download a step-by-step checklist on how to get signed to a record label


Export the right quality – make certain to send tracks in the right format. 320 kbps MP3 is all you need. Lossless file formats such as WAV and AIF are overkill and could ruin your chances of the tag even downloading them in the first gear place .
Use correct file names and ID3 tags – tracks and emails tend to get lost. This is why it ’ sulfur necessity that you use clear and comfortable to comprehend file names and ID3 tags. The latter is the track information that you can edit in your DAW or in an audio player such as iTunes. You know, the ‘ Artist, Track Title, etc ’ information .
I recommend that for both filename and ID3, you run with a “ Artistname – Track Title ( Mix Type ) ( e-mail address ) ” format. The label needs to be able to figure out who you are, what track it is and where to reach you, if they were to just find the charge somewhere .
Upload a streaming version and a download
No modern tag likes to receive tracks attached to emails. They frequently have e-mail filters set on that percolate out mails with attachments, or will merely skip the e-mail altogether .
fair don ’ t do it .
The choose method is the combination of a cyclosis and download connect hosted on conversant places. SoundCloud private links or Google Drive links sour good here. For Google Drive, make certain if you send over a Google Drive link make certain your chase is organized in the right folder before grabbing its share associate .
Be sure to change the permissions to make sure that ‘ anybody with the radio link can view. ’ You want to make this angstrom painless as possible for the other party – particularly if you ’ re going with a cold e-mail .
For private SoundCloud uploads, make certain all track tags are set correctly and that your e-mail address is in the description. You can grab a shorten ‘ sharing connection ’ from the upload .

The Email Game

here is where you ’ ll ultimately get to put to use all of the research you did earlier .
Start writing a new e-mail and aim for the label A & R or employee that you have the closest kinship with. Chances are flush if he can ’ t give you an affirmative answer he ’ ll be felicitous to introduce you to person who can .
submission emails should constantly be square, short, and effective. Make sure you ’ re only sending it to a single label and let them know that it ’ s entirely for them. obviously, attach the streaming ( private ) and download yoke. The e-mail ’ randomness national cable is important besides. If you ’ ve built a decent relationship with an employee, then you could use something like “ Thought you ’ d like this ”. If not, then run with a generic national such as “ Demo Submission –
Don ’ thyroxine forget any of the private links you worked then hard to set up, test them all in incognito browser ahead to make surely the share works for anyone with the link. Make indisputable all of your sociable and branding are on steer before you do. Chances are if person opens your electronic mail and listens to your music they ’ ll count you up equally well .
The electronic mail ’ mho subject line is significant excessively. Always keep it bare, you can never go improper with “ [ Labelname Submission ] : Artistname – Trackname. ”
There ’ south a wholly science to appropriate, non-spammy follow-ups but you should constantly be patient. If you don ’ t have a reply after a week, it ’ randomness okay to send a reminder. If you ’ re talking frequently over FB or Twitter, then it ’ sulfur cool to ask about it there. If not, send a follow-up e-mail .
The message should be short and sweetly. Something like “ Hey A & R, good following up here ” will do. For every week that passes and you hear nothing, send another reminder. If you ’ ve sent two follow-ups ( normally in a 2-3 week couple ) you ’ ll want to just move on from there. More on follow-ups and even email lurch templates here .
hopefully, you now scored yourself a manage. In that casing, the label should be following up with more information and drafting up a contract. possibly you ’ d even be invited to a meet. If not, you might have been turned down, or barely heard nothing. If they ’ ve given you any feedback, you ’ five hundred be smart to listen to it. See if you have room to improve. then, it ’ sulfur clock time to move on .
If you didn ’ t seduce with the label that was first on your tilt, it ’ randomness time to move on to the adjacent one. Repeat the meekness process above, wait, prompt and repeat. Hopefully you ’ ll get lucky, if not, have at it again .
If none of the labels responded you might want to take a consequence to think. It could have been a streak of bad fortune but chances are that if you got a negative reaction from all of those labels, that you have some better to do .
Is your music adenine good as it could be ? Does it match the quality of your target label ’ mho releases ? Did you build a firm adequate relationship with its people ? Think about it .
If you are absolutely certain that the blame wasn ’ triiodothyronine yours, then I suggest that you expand your label list from a clear 5 to a peak 10. Add five more labels you love and repeat the solid serve with them. If it doesn ’ t work out with all of those either, then you in truth need to go rear to the drawing circuit board .

This is it people. All there is to it .
Getting signed truly international relations and security network ’ metric ton that hard. It good requires a combination of things : great music and presentation, some friends, a draw of communication and doggedness. If you can figure those things out, it will happen for you .
To help you get the job done, I have made a checklist that will run you through all the steps of this process. Download it below.
( editorial bill : We ’ ve published a scout about negotiating read deals, that you can review when you actually get offered a batch. )
Enjoyed these strategies ? Check out my record The SoundCloud Bible, now in its second edition. It is packed with single market strategies and ways to get hear .
Have any questions or comments ? Leave them below !

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