How to Submit Your Demo to a Record Label

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So, you want to know how to submit your demo to a record label. That sounds like an easy task. Well it is.

Have you ever heard the phrase, “Does Not Accept Unsolicited Material?” Ah…. Now it is not such an easy thing to do without having your song returned to you as unsolicited by your targeted record label.

So, what’s the best way to submit your material for consideration to a record label? First, answer these questions.

  1. Are you a member of a Performing Rights Organization?
  2. Do you have an entertainment attorney on retainer?
  3. Are you partnered with a music publisher?
  4. Do you have any direct contacts at the label that you are targeting?
  5. Do you have any relationships with artists who are signed to the label?

If the answer is yes to any of the above, then your job of song submission just got easier. If the answer is no, then you should start to think seriously about your career.

As a songwriter, why are you not a member of a performing rights organization? As a musician, why have you not retained an entertainment attorney? As a songwriter, are you actively pitching to publishers? If you are publishing your own material, what kind of action are you getting?

Hello? Is anyone home? If you are waiting for someone else to do your work for you, then you’re getting what you’re paying for… nothing.

My point is this… These relationships may be the way in. These relationships have other relationships. Help them to help you.

Publishers will help you because they have something to gain. Performing Rights Organizations will help you because they also have something to gain. The same is true with your entertainment attorney, manager and/or booking agent.

There are still numerous ways to submit your material for consideration by a record label executive. The music business is a business of relationships. Hopefully, you have cultivated a influential bunch of “friends” in the industry. If not, start now.

One good way is to attend music conferences and network. There are music conferences all over the globe. Find one near you. Certainly, one of the biggest in the U.S. is South by Southwest. It is held in Austin, Texas every year in March. Go.

One of the best ways to get the attention of a record label executive is to be successful at what you do, especially if you’re selling your own CDs. If you are charting on Billboard or CMJ (College Media Journal), then every label below you on the charts is wondering why you’re in their spot.

They want to know who you are. They want to know why you’re charting higher then they are. Believe me, these record label executives pay attention. So… Get their attention!

In today’s digital age, I recommend to start-up bands to release their own recordings long before you start shopping labels. If you can sell 20,000 units, you will have much more power when bargaining with a label. If you have sold zero, then your power is zero. If you owned a record label, wouldn’t you prefer working with a band who is already selling product? Yes and so it goes.

There’s even more info about all of this in our past podcast episodes on record labels.

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