• Phil McDonald

Approaching a record label

The recording is finished. The Mastering is done. The artwork looks great and your finished product is something you really can be proud of. A lot of hard work has gone into your project and it's now time to take the next steps. Perhaps you're going to self-release? It's easy enough these days with platforms like Ditto and Tunecore distributing your music practically everywhere for a small fee. Or perhaps you want to go a step further and approach a publisher or record label. If so there are some important steps you should follow.

First things first, do some research. In fact, do a lot of research. There are umpteen labels out there all catering to different audiences in different genres. Determine what genre you fit in to and start searching for labels that release your style of music. This may sound obvious but I often get sent music to my label, Right There Records in every genre under the sun despite being an acoustic music label. A bit of time spent looking at labels to find a good fit will save a lot of time sending out fruitless emails to people who won't be interested in your stuff. Also, make sure the label is accepting submissions.

Secondly, make sure you include the following. A short bio detailing any notable achievements to date, i.e radio play or prestigious gigs you might have played. Don't send your or the band's life story, keep it brief and interesting. Include a decent photo or two and maybe any links to any decent press you might have received. If a label can see that you're making waves in your particular area they're more inclined to sit up and have a closer look and listen.

It's usually better to send links to your music on a SoundCloud or Bandcamp page. Not everyone accepts MP3 submissions, indeed some emails containing attachments won't get through. Links to your music and further info are much the best way. Some sites have a submission form on their site, if this is the case go down that route. Most label websites will tell you how they prefer their submissions, the majority being links. The days of sending CD's or a demo tape are long gone...

Lastly, make sure you include complete contact details in your submission. A phone number, as well as your email (best to have a professional email, such as Dave@Davesband.co.uk for example rather than a Gmail address), means you're easily contactable. If you are sending MP3's make sure your contact info is encoded in the metadata.

To conclude, do your homework, be polite, keep it brief and don't get disheartened if you don't get loads of responses straight away. You will get rejections but keep in mind that the famous label Decca turned down The Beatles!

Approaching a label needs to be done in the right way.

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