“You as an artist are a brand. You need a strong image, to know who you are, what you wish to achieve and to keep pushing for that no matter what.”
Gemma Roberts label owner & artist manager offers music producers some advice on sending music out to prospective record labels and how to promote and represent yourself correctly online.
So, you have finished a track, maybe a few tracks that you are happy with and you feel it’s time as a producer to submit music to record labels for opinions, feedback and the possibility of it being signed. This can be a daunting process for any budding new music producer and experienced ones alike. Getting your music noticed is unfortunately not an easy and simple process, with the cliques and politics surrounding the electronic music industry it is becoming ever more difficult for your tracks to be picked up. As a record label owner and A&R who frequently deals with demo e-mails from up and coming artists here are a few professional rules to follow and things you can do in order to speed up and ease the process..
Be selective with which record label you send your music to
Do not just send your music to just any record label, you need to research each particular labels musical ethos and direction. If you submit music to record labels just because you recognise the name not only wastes the A&R’s time but your own. Before you start sending tracks out really consider what you think your sound is, compare it to other producers and see which labels they fit. Label’s are increasingly becoming more crew orientated, compare yourself to their other artists and check out their tastes and direction and see if this is a family you think you could slot into. Always conduct yourself in a professional manner and make sure your correspondences are polite and well written, being courteous doesn’t cost anything.
Don’t make fundamental errors
Never submit your music to multiple people in the same e-mail, for example posting the link to the track in an e-mail and CCing in all other record labels. As a label owner nothing disappoints us more than when a producer isn’t motivated enough to send individual personalised emails. I have seen a few producers receive a dressing down from lots of A&R’s for making this mistake. You should always enjoy and compliment the label you are sending to, explain why you would like the be a part of their journey, which previous releases you enjoyed and make an effort!
When is comes to sampling…BE CAREFUL!! There was once a time that using a well known R&B sample in say a deep house record for example was extremely common practice and record labels would release these tracks via Beatport etc without a second thought. Although acceptable for a while, the major record labels began to catch onto this particular growing trend in electronic music and decided to take back what is rightfully theirs in terms of publishing and in other areas. There are many record labels that take a chance and will release obviously sampled music, my advice to you would be to be careful, avoid very obvious vocals and lyrics, and wherever possible try and obtain some original vocals.
Be Soundcloud Savvy
Make sure your Soundcloud is neat and tidy and if you can afford to pay for the premium option do so. With the paid option you can order your tracks how you would like them to be seen when people click on your profile, your own work will be boosted to the top of the page rather than other popular things you have liked and shared. Make sure that your Biography isn’t too wordy, you should let your music speak for itself. Insure your correct contact details are provided and the links to your other social media platforms work. Pop your demos into a playlist and send the private link to the label, I would suggest that you have the whole track available to listen to, downloadable if you are sending to a major but at a lower quality, not 320. If sending to a small record label do not give the downloadable option, let them take a listen first, if they are really interested they will get back to you and ask for a downloadable link. You can never be too careful in this industry with your work.
Never underestimate the power of social media
The above pointers all tie in nicely with some music business advice on the great importance of using social media to promote yourself successfully as a producer and DJ. Make sure that you have your Facebook band page separate to your personal, with a press shot or logo. Keep your bio to the point and honest as mentioned above, and make sure it is a reflection of your musical integrity.
Be present online everyday!! Be it posting something you have produced or created yourself e.g. podcast, or other peoples work you particularly enjoy, even something you find amusing. Take a look at the people who influence you social media accounts, and view how they conduct themselves online, there is a lot to be learned from your idols. You as an artist are a brand, you need a strong image, to know who you are, what you wish to achieve, and to keep pushing for that no matter what.