Performing frequently and submitting your tracks to music sites is great for exposure, but where are the places you should you be seen if you want to attract record labels and management interest? We talked to talent scout and music promoter, Chris Grayston, to get his take on some of the UK’s top music industry hotspots.
Where to be spotted by record label talent scouts in the UK:
#1 Richer Unsigned
Founded by Julian Richer, of Richer Sounds, Julian states that he has decided to give back to the industry that built his career.
Richer Unsigned promise to listen to every submission and, if chosen, you might be lucky enough to appear on the monthly ‘Best Of’ playlist which is curated by industry professionals such as Alice Levine (Radio One) and Alex Baker of Kerrang! Radio (more on him below).
Selected artists will also benefit from radio play exposure across their 53 stores.
#2 Alex Baker’s Fresh Blood
Alex Baker’s show, Fresh Blood, runs for two hours every Wednesday night — showcasing the best new emerging talent from around the globe.
Those lucky enough to be chosen as ‘Featured Artist of the Week’ will also appear in Kerrang! Magazine’s weekly Fresh Blood feature. To submit your music, just send a CD to Alex at Kerrang! Towers.
#3 Performing at The Bedford
A legendary pub for musicians, The Bedford has been a prominent arts venue since the late 60s and a starting point for household names such as U2, The Clash and Ed Sheeran. This venue recently underwent complete refurbishment and is now open for business (as of December 2018).
Surely a seal of approval for any unsigned musician. Simply email the pub for a chance to play on the hallowed stage.
Launched in 2006, BalconyTV is a simple audiovisual concept where emerging artists from around the world are filmed performing, and viewers can vote for their favourite performance.
The site provided much needed exposure to acts such as Mumford and Sons and Jessie J. For the chance to appear on the site, simply email the team.
#5 Session on Ont’ Sofa
Ont’ Sofa not only offers artists a much needed platform for exposure but also provides support for the best acts, helping to develop sounds, content release strategies and artist development.
With so many musicians trying to crack the industry, this insider knowledge is vital for those looking to be spotted by a record label in the UK. To appear on the sofa, apply via the website.
#6 Busking at Camden Lock Market
Possibly one of the best places for live exposure, approximately 100,000 people visit the stalls of Camden Market every weekend, creating a busker’s haven and the possibility for serious exposure.
However, be aware: recent changes to the law means that a busking license is now essential for those wishing to perform without incurring a fine.
#7 Open Mic UK
Every year over 10,000 singers enter this competition for the chance to record an album and make a video of their best single alongside receiving expert promotion from one of the country’s top PR agencies.
Contestants will have the opportunity to perform in front of music industry giants, including record label talent scouts. Previous judges include Alex Baker from Kerrang! Radio, Radio DJ Annie Nightingale and celebrity vocal coach, CeCe Sammy.
Acts discovered by the competition include Birdy, Karen Harding and Jacob Banks who are all now signed to major labels. To sign up, simply fill in the online form and pay the £5 fee.
#8 Isle of Wight Emerging Talent Stage
Have you ever dreamed of performing at the same festival as Depeche Mode and Liam Gallagher? Well dream no more: The Isle of Wight’s Emerging Talent Stage provides a once in a lifetime chance for emerging acts to play one of the biggest festivals of the summer.
Once through to the Live Rounds, artists will be judged by music industry experts and gain invaluable exposure and feedback and the chance to play the festival.
#9 Music Crowns Magazine
Founded in 2010, Music Crowns has become one of the most prominent platforms for largely unknown and unsigned bands to be spotted by record label talent scouts.
Artists are welcome to submit performance videos to the site and if they pass the screening process they have the chance to be seen by the company’s staggering 2.9 million Facebook fans, plus promotion on other Music Crowns social media platforms — you can guarantee that record label talent scouts are paying attention!
Be seen in all the right places
At a time when over-saturation can mean getting lost in a chorus of noise, spaces for unsigned and unknown artists are a godsend.
So, if you are looking to be spotted by record label talent scouts, be inspired by the artists who found their footing playing The Bedford or who gained their exposure through singing competitions and unlock the door to new possibilities.
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