Record labels receive so many songs every week, they’re busy and sticking out requires a bit of thought. It’s no secret that many tracks get overlooked and that luck plays a huge part in whether yours is one of them. You can max out your chances though, so here are some tips on how to distribute your music to record labels.
1. Make it easy to play your music
Having your track uploaded to somewhere where it can be streamed is vital. If you send A&R a Dropbox folder or files on WeTransfer, etc, then they’ll most likely not bother. It’s a hassle to download and save files on a PC, so use Soundcloud or a similar platform. Most label managers will want to see some interaction on your track, too, so if you have some feedback then that’s great.
2. When you begin to distribute your music, provide extra media
It’s tempting to select your best track and send that off but a short demo pack is a better option. You could consider sending remixes, radio edits, collaborations or demos of other forthcoming releases, etc. It just jazzes it up and makes you come across as more flexible and diverse. Show that you mean business beyond that single track.
Another element to this is sending music videos, pictures, snippets of studio blogs, any other visual or audio media to show your character. Try and put your brand across to help captivate the A&R team. Show the label that there’s less work for them to do to distribute your music.
3. Complete your profiles
These days it’s hard to be a faceless artist. To effectively promote your band you need that social media backup more often than not, with all of your profiles filled out with the relevant information – your background, your ambitions, links to other sites, work, etc. A full-looking profile will look more professional. It also indicates that there is less for a label to help you build, as you’ve already had the infrastructure in place.
4. Be honest and mind your manners
Big-headedness is a quick way to get your work ignored in the musical world so stay humble. You wouldn’t be approaching a label to distribute your music if you didn’t need them, but they don’t necessarily need you, so stay on their good side!
Learn to be content with whatever replies you get. You aren’t about to hear ‘yes’ from every label you contact, even if your music is spectacular. Kindness makes the world go round so reply politely to everything you get, even if people are abrupt or rude. You never know what might come of it.
5. Don’t write copy and paste emails!
If your emails are obviously not tailored to a label then you’ve got no chance. Personalise them to the label. State why you’re contacting them, what you like about them and their music and how you respect their brand. Being friendly and normal will be an effective marketing strategy so don’t be too clinical – remain calm, collected and professional.
6. Check for vital info about the label
Distributing your music to the right labels for the right reasons will save you time. Not every label is the same. For example, some don’t listen to ‘unsolicited demos’, which are demos they or their artists haven’t requested. For some labels, you’ll need someone to vouch for your ownership of a song, or provide some extra proof to let labels know you own the music.
7. Have great sounding tunes!
It’s obvious but your music does need to sound good. A good mix and master is vital in today’s music industry, gone are the days when you could send a cassette demo recorded on one mic in a garage! It’s no problem, though, Masteringbox takes a headache out of mastering and we have many guides on mixing, too, so you should be able to get a pro finish to your track easily.
When you come to distribute your music, be positive, pragmatic and persistent. Don’t be too pushy and always be kind. Sometimes, things will just align for you, but that doesn’t mean you can skimp out on doing the legwork. Having a detailed approach to distribution will help you stick out and hopefully, at some point, you’ll really captivate someone that can lift you off the ground.
About the Author
Sam Jeans is a musician, producer, and audio engineer. In his brief collaboration with MasteringBOX he's wrote several interesting articles.
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