This is a practical guide on how to promote your music to record labels.
Tapping into the right music publicity and promotional plan can make the difference between just making money from music and making a living out of it. If you're not sure how to get started or you just need some inspiration, use our tips and tricks to promote your music.
We know what a pain it is dealing with publicity agencies and record labels but let's be honest, it doesn't have to be a horrendous experience. Whether you want to get signed or just want to get your music out there, we've done the hard work for you and we've put together a practical guide on how to promote your music to record labels and publicity teams.
The first thing to remember is that an artist's album has to be commercial, well-balanced and well-produced in order to stand a chance of getting noticed.
The first step to getting noticed by record labels is putting your name out there.
When you are launching your first album, the most obvious way to do this is through social media and promotion. Use Instagram, Twitter and Soundcloud to advertise your new album and start building a buzz around your music.
Add new songs on your Soundcloud, or if you have an LP, try promoting it on the iTunes store. In the coming months, start getting gigs and contact as many people as possible, make sure you put a catchy social media clip up and build up a solid mailing list. Do this consistently over time and eventually, your name will become well known.
Once you've done this, you need to make yourself stand out from the rest of the pack. This means going out of your way to demonstrate what makes your music different and special, not just concentrating on the music you think is cool.
The last thing you want is to go in with your ears closed and not let anyone in, thinking that if they don't like your music it's your fault. In this case, music isn't art, it's commerce and artists should always approach it as such.
Don't wait for a label to start promoting your music!
You need all the promotion you can get and you might as well do some of it yourself. Besides, most labels won't really want to work with you until you have an acceptable amount of following and buzz around your music. So what are some ways to do this?
Some basic ideas to create a buzz around your social media accounts include showcasing your creative output by producing videos, GIFs, posting your album artwork, and just general posting to social media.
Your most important task is to get the attention of publicists and music journalists – and what better way to achieve this than through your music?
Don't forget to constantly talk to people in your target market. Remember that these people are the lifeblood of your audience.
Music blogs are a great way to launch your music into an already established readership. Here you can make a flashy entrance into a community and also share it on your social media to create buzz around your work.
The best way to do this is through PR (public relations). A publicist will pitch your work to reputable music blogs who fit your niche. Our company does this on our online app where we have connections with tons of music blogs with readership with 10,000-100,000 views per month.
This is where things start to get complicated, but it is vital to understand that when you contact record labels, you will need to do it properly and also do it fast.
You'll want to create a press kit with all your press campaigns and articles that you've received as an artist. Along with this, you'll want to bundle in: high-quality photos, artwork, a list of places you've played on tour, and of course your music.
Once you create this package you are almost ready to start pitching to music labels.
Music companies are a business, and so as such they will look at a number of different factors to determine how much money you could be earning from your album.
These factors include the number of downloads, sales, streaming, artist royalties, and distribution income.
It is very important that you have the right number in mind before you start submitting information as if you want to get a deal you need to have a number that is clear, and you should try to base this number on data from previous artists with similar circumstances.
This could be anywhere from $150,000 to $1 million, but it is important that you have a number in mind. When you know this number, try and justify it, so that you can figure out exactly how you will be able to make your living from your new release.
Finally, we can start to pitch our music. There are a lot of different ways to pitch, but ultimately you'll want to send emails or get a manager who can make connections for you.
Make a list of 50 labels that you would like to be apart of. You should really research each of these labels and be clear why you want to be on each one. If you can't get 50 labels that you think would be interested in your style, go for a smaller number. The important part is to know the label—don't send it to a label if you aren't sure they are a good fit for your music.
When you email these labels, make sure that you are professional, do not be vague, clearly outline why you are contacting them, why them (as opposed to another label), and any anecdotes you have about your relationship to their label ('I grew up listening to X records and I really think I would be a great fit for you guys...')
Remember, labels are just people. They have interests just like you do, so make sure you both are aware of the conditions before you make a deal.