When it comes to making a career in the music industry as an artist, few milestones are as coveted as being signed to a record label.
The reason? Signing a record deal has historically been the way an artist can shoot to stardom seemingly overnight.
Obviously, the path to success (even after being signed by a label) is nowhere near that simple. At the same time, however, getting a record deal isn’t a bad goal for most musicians, and the right deal (with the right label) can really help an artist in moving their career forward.
But how exactly are up and coming artists supposed to court attention from record labels?
After all, there’s not exactly a shortage of musicians trying to make it these days.
The truth is, record labels are inundated with people requesting a chance to be heard.
To get noticed by a record label, you’re going to need to not only work hard as a musician but also work specifically towards the goal of putting yourself in a position to be heard by executives at legitimate labels.
We put together this guide to help you on your journey to getting signed by a label.
Not every tip in this guide will apply to every artist, but so long as you utilize a few of these methods we’ve outlined here, your chances of getting noticed by a label will go way up.
Social media has helped launch the careers of many new artists and get their music out to the world, including some of the biggest stars in the music world.
Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram have become important outlets for artists to express themselves and show the world who they are.
As you share songs, concerts, and photos, be sure to tag the music and companies you’re a part of. That can open doors for you to get more exposure and attract potential fans.
You can also create a website with a blog and your own social media page.
If you have time, do a web search for “music industry marketing,” and you’ll find a great collection of great tips and resources you can use to promote yourself online.
Music publishing houses are not record labels.
Record labels prefer to partner with music publishers. These companies represent the best songwriters and artists in the music industry, so they will give you the necessary attention and publicity to help you get your music heard.
However, a music publisher will only offer the rights to your song to the record label that signs you.
That means you’ll have to negotiate a contract that’s acceptable to both sides.
If you’re just starting out, a music publisher might be your best bet.
They can help you develop your songwriting skills and provide a clear path for you to take your music further.
A publisher will typically charge you a flat fee to license your song.
However, the publisher can also require you to pay for the recording, publishing, and marketing costs. In that case, it’s really a cash-flow arrangement, not a deal in the same sense as a record deal.
If record labels see that a reputable publishing house has taken you on, they may be more likely to take you seriously.
A powerful way for an artist to get their music heard is through an artist manager. These managers represent your best chance to be signed to a major record label and get your music distributed to radio, music TV channels, and online streaming sites.
They also help you market your music and connect with radio stations and other media outlets.
A great songwriter can take it from being a side project to a full-time career if he or she is talented, but to get there, a talent will need the right team of people working behind the scenes.
By signing with an artist manager, you’ll be making a crucial and well-paid partnership that will get you closer to your ultimate goal.
The final way you can get your music heard is by pitching it to record labels. You can pitch your songs to record labels through the standard process.
However, when you send them a pitch, you’ll want to include the following information:
• Your name and title as a songwriter
• Your contact information
• A preview of your finished track
• A summary of your song
You’ll also want to include a brief demo of your finished track. This could be a quick demo of a few lines of your song or a full track that can be used as a sample of your work.
When you send your demo, make sure you include a link to your Soundcloud, YouTube, and Facebook pages. And be sure to include a link to the album you’re promoting on iTunes and elsewhere.
Because of all the different ways you can get your music heard, the options can be overwhelming, but they’re really not that different from the choices musicians have when they’re first starting out.
All it takes is a good idea, a talented songwriter, and hard work.
Don’t feel bad if it takes a while to start getting record labels to notice you. Typically, getting labels to pay attention to your music isn’t an overnight project.
So long as you stick to a plan that utilizes some of the tips we’ve outlined above, you’re sure to make progress – keep it up!