How to Get Signed to a Record Label
Many unsigned artists are looking to be swept up by a record label for the opportunity, and backing, to ‘make it’ in the music industry. Talent Scout for Sony Music (and one of our competition judges), Layla Manoochehri explains how to get signed by a record label.
How should artists approach a record label?
Before you approach a record label, in an attempt to get a record deal, you should make sure that you are completely happy with your music and the artist that you are. If you feel you need any further development, take your time — don’t rush straight to a record label. Before attempting to get a record deal, you need to make sure what you take to a record label is exactly what you want to be as an artist.
The ideal demo for a record label
Demos should be kept short and sweet. Record labels are sent thousands of demos so they aren’t going to listen to each demo for hours and hours.
Pick your 3 best songs to showcase on your demo. Make sure the first one is the best, as this is more likely to draw them in to listening further and will hopefully make them want to contact you to hear more of your music!
Ideally, your record label demo songs will have never been publicised and do not contain any copyrighted material (no cover songs or samples you don’t have the rights to use) — when you are just starting out, investing in you is financially risky, so record labels may be put off if signing you means clearing copyright.
How to get scouted by a record label?
Perform frequently in prime locations
Record label A&R scouts are always out and about at gigs and open mic nights searching for new talent to sign, so it is essential to get yourself out there performing live at as many gigs as you can, as you never know who might be there watching you.
“The industry is very London-centric and there’s a lot of people that you come in contact with that will be like “I’ve played like 200 gigs last year” and I was like “Did you play any in London?” and they’re like ” No, I played in my home town” — stuff like that… You can’t deny that 90% of the music industry are in London! So, really you have to play shows in London!” — Alex Baker, Radio Presenter at Kerrang! Talent Scout and Judge at Open Mic UK
Be seen online
If you are looking to get a record deal, it is important to have a strong internet presence as record label scouts are also always searching the internet for new talent. So make sure you have your music up on SoundCloud and YouTube etc.
Optimise online profiles for scouts and record labels
It is essential that your branding on your social media profiles is synchronised. Try not to confuse record label scouts by making each one of your social media pages too different. Make sure your Facebook cover photo is in the same theme as your Twitter header, and you’re SoundCloud display picture is the same or very similar to your website or YouTube display picture.
Caution: Shameless plug ahead! Continue reading below.
Everything needs to be themed consistently so you have a recognisable brand that your fans and, more importantly, record labels can use to identify you — You wouldn’t want to miss out on an opportunity to get signed by a record label just because they couldn’t find or identify your profile.
The same goes for your social URL’s: if your usernames are in sync, it will be considerably easier for a record label to locate your social profiles and pages and you will appear more professional.
What are record labels looking for?
Record labels are constantly trying to find the next big artist to sign that is going to make it in the music market, so you need to make yourself unique to stand out from the crowd. They’re not looking for a copycat artist; they want something different, so, if you want to get signed by a record label, focus on your unique qualities and enhance them.
|“Open Mic UK is that one competition that all the record labels are keeping their eye on”.|
— Layla Manoochehri, Talent Scout, Sony Music
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