Like all indie labels, I receive a high number of emails from musicians requesting that I consider their music for release. Some of these emails do all the right things in terms of how they approach the subject, but many do not. Here are 5 things to avoid to help you get signed to a record label.
If you’d like to get signed to a record label, I hope my advice will be of use to you. Please note: these are my personal opinions and thoughts on this subject will differ, sometimes wildly, from label to label.
1. Don’t Come in Half-Cocked
First impressions count, and chances are, you’re only going to get one chance with each label you approach. Make sure you include all relevant info — things like your name/band name, links to your music, and perhaps a brief biography, reviews of your music and so on.
2. Don’t Send Unfinished Tracks
Demos are fine, of course, but I’ve had people send songs that even they admit aren’t finished yet. “I just need to write a chorus” or “I’ve not worked out the ending yet” aren’t things that you’d expect to hear from an artist who feels they’re ready to take on the world.
3. “I’ve Just Found your Label!”
Appearing out of nowhere rings alarm bells. For me personally, it strikes me as odd when someone who has not previously engaged with the label makes contact — it suggests that they’ve just Googled “indie labels” or similar and found a handful of labels by pure chance. Much like the above point, it smacks of throwing enough doo-doo at the wall to see what sticks — and no-one wants to be on the receiving end of that doo-doo.
Where possible, approach labels you know and love. If you don’t get the response you’re after, look into similar labels, and do your research on them before contacting.
4. Avoid the Copy-and-Paste Approach
Perhaps even worse than number 3 is the generic or copy-and-pasted email. You know, one that’s been sent to hundreds of labels at once, in the hope of a response from at least one of them.
No-one likes to feel like they’re disposable. Tailor your email to each label you approach — the personal touch goes a long way, as does a little research on the label itself.
5. “Hey Indie-Pop Label in Barcelona, We’re a Sludge-Metal Band from Wisconsin, US…”
This is a two-parter. One: it usually best to approach labels based in the same country as you. They’ll likely be better equipped to handle the music scene and marketplace in your area. Two: if the genre you fit into doesn’t fit with the label you’re contacting, you’ll be wasting your time and theirs. At best, you’ll get no response, and at worst, you’ll get yourself a bad reputation.
I sincerely hope this advice is of use, and helps you get signed to a record label. If all else fails, start your own label…
Written by Lewis from The Adult Teeth Recording Company