How To Get Signed To A Record Label
Over the past few years the industry has really changed and has forced artists to find new ways of getting A&R’s to listen to their music, in hopes of getting signed.
With the boom of social networking websites the old way of recording a demo in your friends studio basement, and sending it in to a record label to review is not effective any more. In fact I only know of a handful of record labels that still allow this method, and I’m sure within a couple of years this method will be obsolete.
Why? Because record labels require more from you now. In an age where independent record labels are emerging and selling hundreds of millions of records, competing with the majors, majors are taking less risks on talent that they’re not sure will bring them back a return on their investments.
In today’s lesson I’m going to get into how you as an artist can get yourself out there in the most effective way to get noticed by major labels, and potentially get signed. Outside of learning from this site I think it would be wise to search online on how to build and market your brand as an artist. The more places you lean from the better.
What Record Labels Are Looking For
First off in order to get signed you have to be “sign worthy” material. Meaning you have to fit a certain criteria that record labels are looking for. As I said earlier the days of sending in a demo to record labels is over, now to increase your chances of getting signed you have to do a lot ground work yourself.
What I mean by groundwork is promoting yourself, booking your own shows, building your own websites and social network profiles, going to networking events and building your contact list. Everything a record label would do for you, you have to find a way to do it on a smaller scale.
One thing I find with many up and coming artists is that they don’t know how to do this effectively, and give up a few months down the road because they don’t see the results they had hope for. Networking independently means networking for yourself; not by yourself. In another lesson I will go more in depth on how to network in the most effective way to network that will get record labels to notice you.
Create A Buzz and Build A Following of Fans
The first thing record labels want to know is if your music can draw a crowd. A lack of fans means a lack of profit, and if you’re not profitable record labels won’t be interested in signing you. The best thing to do is go out there and see if you can create a buzz around your music, and if you are good enough you will draw a crowd. The key is to create consistent valuable music so that this crowd of people will turn into loyal fans. Fans that will pay to see your show, buy your merchandise, come see you host events and parties, and even buy your music!!!
If you are selling out shows and events word will quickly spread that you’re the next big thing to blow and A&R’s and scouts will come to see you perform, and that can potentially lead to you getting signed.
Build A Solid Network Both Online And Offline
Another thing record labels are going to look at before considering signing an artist is their off/online network contacts. These networks include Twitter, Myspace, Facebook and Youtube, just to name a few. What execs are going to be looking for is how many page and video views you get. How many audio plays you get, and the monthly traffic you get to your website and/or social media pages.
By evaluating all this data they can have a sense of how popular you are, and measure the amount of people following you on a consistent basis. Yes it has to be on a consistent basis. You have to build die hard fans that will always come back to listen to you music, and will consistently show up at your performance.
Build A List – The Money Is Always In The List
This is a very VERY important part, and that is building a contact list of fans and people interested in your music. How this is done is by setting up an auto-response software code into your blog or website. This is why it’s important to have a website and not only a artist page on sites like: reverbnation, souncloud, bandcamp or any other social media site. You need your own website because there are many advantages to that. I will cover building your own music website in a later lesson, for now let’s move on.
Building an email list is as simple as setting up a contact form on your music blog and directing visitors to it, and have them fill out their name and email address so they can be updated on anything new that’s happening with your music career.
You can also ask them to subscribe to your blog feed. This blog feed will send them excerpts of any new posts you publish on your blog. It’s a good way to stay in contact with your fans and supporters. The truth about visitors to your website is that they will come and leave, and most likely in days forget about your website. That’s why you need to capture their info in order to stay in contact with them and keep them up to date with what’s going on with you as an artist. My experience in the music industry has shown me that the money is in your list!
The first time I was selling my music e-book online I sent out a notice letter on a neatly designed template, it was built from the list building software I was using. Anyway I sent the notice letter to my list on 4,000 people saying that my book was being released on Amazon, Kindle, and my blog the next day (Starting at midnight.) Out of the list of 4,000 roughly 1,000 people bought my book at $10 a piece!!! What’s The Math? 1,000 people x $10 a piece = $10,000!! Exactly! Now do you see how important building a list is?
If you’re an artist getting ready to release a CD and all it takes is a click of a button “Send” to inform your list of fans about it. Again, I will be talking about building your music website and list building in another lesson, this is just the jest of it.
Prove That You Can Sell Records
Networking and building a fan list is one thing, but it’s an absolute waste if you can’t get your fans to support you by buying your records. In order to get record labels to consider signing you, you have to be able to prove you can sell records. The best way to do that is to go out and sell records independently.
Selling records not only has to do with the quality of your music, but it also includes your online/offline interaction with your fans, your personality, sometimes your looks, your character, how well you network and build relationships, how well you market, how well you perform on stage etc. In order to sell a lot of units a whole bunch of things need to be set in place, and if you don’t have most of them covered you will sell little to no records. And in turn no record label would even think of signing you.
Conclusion On How To Get Signed To A Record Deal
Getting signed to a record deal shouldn’t be your one and only plan.
In fact I know hundreds of bands and artists that started off pursuing to get signed and during their journey to becoming signed got so much fans and made so much money doing shows and selling their own merchandise said F*ck getting signed!! lol It’s true. In this day and age being an independent artist, producer or band pays off tremendously.
But if all you’re striving to do is get signed, then that’s okay as well. But the ultimate take away here is that you have to first lay the ground work, because as I said earlier long gone are the days when record companies allow you to send in demos.
Now a days you have to go out there and prove you deserve to get signed. Prove that you are worth them investing in you by showing them you can make a great return on their investment You have to go out and network, build your online website and social media profiles, make valuable and quality music, interact with your fans, build a solid fan list, get a ton of views and plays on you music and videos, and a whole lot more!!!!
What you have to keep in mind is that all this is going to take time, not months but years. Yes damn it I said years! look at any famous artist of today: Kanye Justin Bieber, Katy Perry, Bruno Mars, Jay-Z, Lil Wayne, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Nickleback, Jessey J or who ever you like, and all of them will tell you it took years for them to get where they are today. There simply is no overnight success with musicians I’m sorry if I’m bursting your buble. It takes commitment, time, effort, and a whole lot of marketing and networking your content.
The best thing to do is start today and start now, and continue to study and learn new things along the way that will help you get your music career further than it is now.
This is the conclusion of How To Get Signed To A Record Label, continue to search and learn and I guarantee it will get you as far as you want to go! Stay Blessed!
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