How to Get Signed to a Record Label

Many unsigned artists are ultimately looking to be swept up by a record label and given 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 signed, you need to 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. You need to make sure what you take to a record label is exactly what you want to be as an artist.

Major record labels

Demos for record labels

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!

How to get scouted by a record label?

Perform Frequently

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.

Be seen online

It is also 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.

Synchronise your online profiles

It is also essential that you have synchronisation in all of your social media platforms. Try not to confuse your fans 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 just because the record label couldn’t find your profile.

The same goes for your URL’s, the more synchronised they are, the easier it is to find you. For example, Open Mic UK uses similar URLs to increase search ability:

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.

Layla discussing how to get signed by a record label “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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