Getting signed by a label is something almost every musician wants to do. We all know that a label can take an artist from obscurity and land them in the big time. However, have you really thought about what a record label does? Because if you do it can be the first step to getting signed by one. Why?
Here at Golden Boy Records, we asked one of our scouts, and here is what they said!
Think like a label
A record label is a business, based on music but driven by profit. This is something you must consider. You may have a fantastic demo, but how are you going to make them money? Labels deal with the manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion of music along with the enforcement of copyright for recordings and video. That is a lot more than simply selling your music.
Now of course labels are focused on the music itself, but any label at its core will be focused on driving profit and reducing expenses. At the end of the day, they have to pay their bills and survive in a business sense. Now what you need to do is find a way that you as an artist can help the label you are trying to get signed by. For this you need an understanding of what a record labels revenue streams and expenses are.
Most of a label’s revenue will come from taking cuts of their artists’ recording sales, touring fees, merchandise sales, sponsorship fees, licensing and royalties. Expenses can take the form of studio fees, video production, photography, PR, web-design, transportation and more. Now this is where you come in. Think of a labels expenses – is there anything you can do to help? If you can offer a service(s) i.e. marketing, graphic design, video production etc. for free on top of your awesome music, you will set yourself aside from the crowd and offer the label a way to drive profits as well as a new signup.
Contacting record labels
Put yourself in the shoes of a scout for a moment. Would you really listen through the hours of demos they must be sent each week by bands who they’ve never met or heard of? Sure, many scouts get through what they can, or all submissions, but most don’t. These scouts try to filter the talent pool in front of them by looking for bands at popular venues or by looking at local music charts. Now, what’s the best way for you to get noticed by a scout?
You could attend music business meets and conferences. Yes, I know it may not seem to rock-n-roll to go to events such as this but you can’t pass up opportunities to build relationships and meet music managers and labels. Alternatively, using the points raised above you could send an email offering your services for free in return for an introductory email to from the label. Thirdly, try sending out a press package and starting a friendly conversation with someone from a label, you never know!
If there is a label you want to get involved with, then just do that – get involved. Find out what bands they work with, start going to their shows. Talk to them about your own project and find out more about the label straight from them. You could message the label and offer to promote a show in your city on one of their bands’ upcoming tours (This works a charm, believe me) and they will be quick to owe you a favour. Whilst this isn’t how to get signed, it’s certainly how to build a relationship. Once you’re on speaking terms with the label and you’ve established a friendly relationship you are in a much better position to get a response when you do send your own music in.
These are just a handful of ways in which you could get in contact with a label, but however you do decide to do it, remember this;
Labels are businesses made up of real people so treat them as both – Start by building a strong, friendly relationships with a representative or scout from a label. Once you’ve done that, think about how you and your band can help the label make more profit. These two things should increase your chances of getting signed massively. Don’t forget however that the music is still important so create, understand your niche, and record a demo that leaves the label no choice but to sign you up!
If you are looking to get in touch with a music label in Cardiff then be sure to contact us at Golden Boy Records today! Currently on the lookout for local talent, we work tirelessly to give exposure to those who are deserved.