Approaching a Record Label
Our advice on approaching a record label.
Approaching a record label. Before you go gung-ho sending emails and making phone calls to record labels, there’s a few things to consider!
- Is it too soon? How long have you been performing? You need to be sure you are ready and that you have a back catalogue of songs that are of high quality.
- Is your live performance up to scratch? If a record label executive made a surprise trip to your gig, would you be putting on a blistering live show or would they walk away thinking how you were rooted to the spot, singing out of key and generally looking lost?
- Do you know where your music fits? Are you a soulful singer like Joss Stone or are you more pop orientated like Katy Perry? You need to be sure that the style you are going for is the direction you want to go.
- Are you unique? What do you offer to the music industry that’s different.
- When sending out you demo, is it of a high quality? Have you recorded it during a proper session at a studio? Is the song writing of a high standard or will the lyrics make no sense to whoever is listening? Is it your best vocal performance or was it your first take and that will do?
If you think you meet the above criteria then you are reading to begin contacting the record labels!
HOW WILL I KNOW IF I’M READY?
Very crudely; are you or capable of making a sustainable living from music? Are you doing enough gigs, merchandise and selling music online to be a full time artist?
A record label is unlikely to invest unless they see it working as a sustainable music business model that they can make money from. So if you are selling and getting booked enough it’s telling you, that there is a demand for you and an audience to sell your music too.
HOW DO I APPROACH A LABEL?
These days, record labels get inundated with demos and press releases by singers. Let’s not be under any illusions this is a difficult route and you need to make sure you stand out so you don’t end up getting skimmed over and discarded without a second glance.
- When approaching a label, try and pick ones that have an affiliation to your style of music. If you a pop singer, sending a demo to a heavy metal label will be a waste of time.
- Try and find out the name of the person you are contacting. It goes a long way to getting them to read the email you send. A simple ‘hi there’ will not draw their attention. They will assume you have just done a generic email sent to multiple people at once.
- Include a brief Bio that is engaging and interesting but perhaps a throw away that will tickle the reader like did you know Joe Bloggs can juggle 6 eggs in 1 hand.
- Throw in some quotes. If people have been saying you’re a great singer, put it in there to back up your belief in yourself.
- A recent photo of yourself. Keep it professional, not you on a night out the other day.
- Contact details: Phone number, email address and social media web links.
Be prepared that you may not hear back! Some may argue building up your own record sales, social media reach and higher profile gigs to network at will be more fruitful! Plus you’ll hopefully be getting a return from the gigs and sales.
IS THERE A GOOD TIME TO SEND AN EMAIL?
The timing of sending an email to a record label is very important!
- Don’t send it over a holiday or at the weekend. Monday morning will be when an email inbox is at its fullest, so chances are most emails will be skimmed over and discarded just to get through them. Wait until later in the week, maybe a Wednesday afternoon once things have calmed down.
- Maybe try sending the email when you have good news to report. If you have an EP launch approaching or a slot supporting a well known singer, it gives your email some clout and will make it of more interest to the recipient of the email.
- Time sending it to coincide with you having some gigs lined up around the area the record label is based and invite them to come down. This gives them a chance to check you out in the flesh as opposed to relying on your demo. Make sure the show is accessible so the record label has a genuine chance of seeing you before they forget about you!