There are hundreds of factors involved when it comes to how to get signed by record label. Maybe you’ve been rejected in the past, or maybe the record labels won’t even respond. It’s natural to feel a little depressed about it, or even to have that annoying, ever-present feeling of “maybe I’m just not good enough.” Trust me, we’ve all been there.
But on a positive note, there are a lot of variables that you just may not have accounted for. Variables that can help you get your foot in the proverbial door, and get your track listened to by the right people. Luckily, we have some industry-savvy folks to help walk us through some of the most basic steps of avoiding these pitfalls of the music biz.
This week, musicbyLUKAS will go over ten reasons why your tracks aren’t getting the recognition they deserve, and what you can do to get record labels to finally take notice. Some of these may surprise you, so keep on reading!
But first, as always, we want to remind you of our monthly $500 giveaway. All you need to do is leave a comment on the YouTube video of what record label you think has the best artists, or your favorite label, or the one you’d love most to get signed by. You could be the lucky winner of a $500 gift card towards some new studio gear. Not too shabby.
This might seem obvious, but a record label isn’t going to give consideration to a track that isn’t up to the professional-quality standard of all the other tracks that they’re receiving.
Make sure that you take some extra time to get useful feedback from trustworthy people. Make sure it’s well mixed and mastered, and that it sounds professional. Originality can go a long way, but it’ll never get you there if the quality is garbage.
If you’re sending an extended mix track to a record label, odds are they’re only going to listen to a few seconds of it, so it’s likely they’ll only hear the intro. For this reason, it’s very important to send them the “radio edit” version of your track.
Radio edits get right to the point. Maybe start with the break, or if you have some great vocals maybe start with that. You want to grab their attention and keep ‘em hooked. The more they’re hooked, the longer they’ll listen to your track, and the better your odds are of enticing them to sign you.
No Vocals / Overused Vocals
You may have already noticed this, but many labels will only sign tracks with vocals. Check out the Spotify release playlists. If you’re only hearing tracks with vocals, that should be your clue. If vocals aren’t your thing, then maybe you can seek out labels that don’t focus on vocals-only tracks.
Vocals allow your tracks to be more commercial, since they get put on playlists more often. So unless you’re producing lo-fi or maybe another genre that’s less vocals-heavy, you should consider having vocals in your track.
But also make sure that you aren’t using overused samples. If you’re using a popular Splice vocal sample, odds are the labels have already heard it a million times, and they won’t be itching to sign you. You don’t want to be lost in a sea of conformity here.
This one is a bit more rare, but it can still have a surprising effect on your viability to labels. If a label is debating on a few different tracks, they might look to see what kind of social media following the artists have. It could be the tiebreaker essentially, seeing your online presence, your community, your brand, etc.
Basically, having a solid social media following can be beneficial, even though it’s less important than some of the other reasons listed here.
Bonus tip? Just make sure you’re posting consistenly and being active, even if you don’t have a large following yet. Make sure you have a good profile picture and username, and are giving the impression that you’re putting out some good stuff.
This is another example of where a record label could be looking to another metric as a tiebreaker of sorts. If a label is debating between a few different tracks, they may look to your stream count. An artist with a higher stream count may get priority over others since they have a higher chance at success. Also, higher stream counts can get you on bigger labels, and possibly higher priority on those labels too.
But what if you don’t have many streams to start with? It can be a bit of a Catch-22 for sure, needing streams in order to get streams. We get it. There are certainly some techniques for this, but that’s for another video.
Wrong Submission Method
This is one to pay attention to if you feel like the labels have been ignoring you. There’s a good chance you just didn’t submit your track correctly.
For example, maybe you found an email address for them, but it’s an old one they never check anymore. Or maybe their site has a submission form that you weren’t aware of.
Check the site’s terms and conditions, and make sure that you’re researching a label’s preferred method of submission. Again, something like this may seem obvious, but it definitely gets overlooked from time to time. It’s worth a double-check.
If you’re still not hearing anything, or haven’t noticed any airplay, that’s your cue to start trying some other submission methods.
Goes To Spam
This is pretty similar to number six, but it’s worth noting that many times if an address has never received emails from you before, your message can likely go directly to spam, especially if it might appear “spammy.”
Make sure that when you’re writing your email that you aren’t including a bunch of images or tons of random words that might appear spammy to AI filters. You also don’t want to CC and BCC a ton of people on it either, as that could be a red flag.
Try to make your emails personal and individual, like how you’d email a friend.
So this could mean any number of things. It’s not mixed, it’s not mastered, it’s too short (literally incomplete), etc. You want your tracks to sound as polished and complete as possible.
There might be a rare instance of a “raw” track being so good that the label offers to master it for you. Or they may say that you’re onto something and to keep going. But it’s pretty unlikely to be honest. Most of the time, if a track seems incomplete, they’ll pass.
Most labels (especially the bigger ones) already have tons of other complete demos, so they’ll just end up signing one of those.
If you’re sending tracks to a label, first make sure that that label signs artists in that particular genre. Also, make sure the label is actually accepting submissions. Some may not be at any given time.
You should also be aware if the label will even sign smaller artists. Some labels won’t even acknowledge you unless you’ve already made a bit of a name for yourself. Smaller artists might not make the cut if they don’t have a big social following, or are part of a big collaboration, etc.
It’s also a good idea to send to a variety of labels. Don’t only send to big labels, and don’t only send to smaller ones. Mix it up a little.
Bonus tip? Only send to one label at a time. This is pretty important. We know that it’s tempting to send out demos to several labels at a time so that you can hear back quicker and not have to spend so much time waiting. But you also don’t want to put yourself in a situation where two or more labels give you a “yes,” and then you’re forced to turn one down.
The professional way is to send out only one at a time, and wait until they respond. Give them about 7-10 days to do so.
Not A Collab
This is a pretty big one. Some labels may not want to sign you unless your track is part of a collab. This can be tough, we know. Many artists prefer working independently.
But what you may not realize is that a collab is usually a huge win for record labels. It makes your track much more marketable. It’s also a big win for you because now you get to tap into another artist’s built-in fanbase.
Plus, one of the best ways to get signed to a label is to collaborate with an artist who’s already signed to that label, even if they’re a smaller artist, because the label already knows them. It’ll be much easier to get in contact with that label too, since you now have a great connection.
Of course, if you need help with music collaboration, Boombox.io should be your go-to solution. It’s a great place to store your files, leave timestamped voice comments, execute contracts, and so much more. So if you haven’t had a chance yet to check it out, go to Boombox.io and sign up for free.