5 tips for sending the perfect demo submission
Before you send your music demo submissions, check out these five quick tips that will help you get signed to a record label.
So you want a record deal? To get signed to a record label, you need to send out music demos.
A demo is an example of several tracks you’ve written or produced, giving labels an idea of your style of music. The scary truth is, even a small record label accepting demos receives hundreds of submissions a week.
But never fear. Here’s how to break through the noise and send out a killer demo submission that will get your music noticed.
The music has to sound great
The beauty of a demo is it doesn’t have to be perfect. They’re different from a released single or EP which is a polished, final draft which must have professional sounding production. But your demo still needs to sound good, otherwise you’re putting people off before they’ve had the chance to hear the potential of your music.
Make sure your track is finished before sending. Watch your levels when recording, spend some time getting the mix right, and make sure you can hear every important element of the song. Don’t record too quiet.
If you want, you can tell the label what stage the recording is at, whether it was professionally mixed or not, so they can get an idea of its potential.
What demo songs to send
Sending unreleased tracks makes it more likely for labels to want to snap you up as an undiscovered new artist. Up to three tracks is a good amount to send. Send either a DropBox of MP3s or private SoundCloud links.
A demo should show off the best songs you’ve created. Now, that might not end up including your favourite song. Will it resonate with your intended audience? If the answer is no, you might have to make a hard decision.
Target the right labels
Make a list of labels who will be a good fit for the genre of your music. You’re wasting your hard-earned time by sending out your music to a label that isn’t the right fit for your music.
An EDM label won’t be able to do much with your indie rock demo. Remove yourself from the equation for a minute and think carefully about who you’re sending your demo to.
Send more than just a link
So you’ve chosen which labels to contact. Now tailor each of your emails or forms to each company, and, if you have the information, a specific person within the label. Labels will be able to tell if a blanket email has been sent out to hundreds of other companies.
Next, introduce yourself and your music. An email with just a link to your music seems lazy and might be sent straight to spam. Give your brief bio, where you’re based, how long you’ve been making music, and describe what your songs are like.
Keep the tone light and professional, whilst being yourself. It sounds tricky, but try and juggle being persuasive, not sucking up to the label too much, and not coming across as arrogant.
Don’t give up!
Rejection is sadly part of being an artist. Some labels don’t have time to even reply.
But keep trying. Research different labels and refine your approach. Change up your tone of voice in your messages, improve the mix of your tracks, and take on board criticism.
Having more music ready to send out is a good way to keep your creative momentum going if your submission is rejected. Producing more than one song also means that if a label asks to hear some of your other tracks you have something up your sleeve.
An alternative to getting signed to a label is releasing your music yourself. As an independent artist you keep complete control over your music and retain all the rights to your songs – as long as you sign up to a distributor like RouteNote.
We send your music to the likes of Spotify and Apple Music, and streaming services around the world like Qobuz and JioSaavn, so your songs can be played everywhere.
With our free distribution you keep 85% of royalties, and you’re free to come and go as you please without signing away your music or putting ink on any restricting contracts. There’s also RouteNote’s Premium tier, allowing you to keep 100% of profits for an upfront and annual fee.
The trade-off for not being signed to a label is you have to handle your own career, which means taking on things like recording, promotion and marketing yourself. But we’ve got plenty of handy how-to videos and articles to guide you.
Whether you’re sending off demos to labels or heading down the independent route, the two most important things are making good music and believing in yourself.
The world deserves to hear your music. Get it out there.
Curious about RouteNote? Find out more about how we help unsigned artists and indie record labels here.
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Heather Hill write about articles that give you strategies to boost your music’s reach.