Record Labels That Accept Unsolicited Demos

This week, top searches leading people to this site mostly had to do with labels that accept unsolicited demos, record companies that take demo submissions, and so on. As I mentioned in a previous article, Unsolicited Music Demos: How to Get in the Door of a Record Label, the reality is that no one is soliciting to these demos.

Here’s a bit of reality: If you are looking for a list of record labels that accept unsolicited demos, then you probably aren’t record label material. The ironic twist is that you are most appealing to record labels when you don’t need them.

Think about this in terms of dating.

Sending an unsolicited press kit and CD to a record label is like asking for a marriage proposal when the prospect has no idea who you are. While that kind of thing might work in certain situations (mail-order brides, etc.), most reasonable people would not give you the time of day.

Getting a dream record contract is like getting your soul-mate: it usually happens because you know a bit about each other first, you have mutual friends who introduce you, you’ve worked on something together, or you have some kind of light introduction first.

Some other things to consider:

  • People can smell desperation miles away.
  • No one likes a cocky jerk who is obnoxiously annoying
  • It’s always better to let the other person do the talking rather than waste their time with your bragging
  • Your reputation often proceeds you; if they know nothing about you, walls automatically come up

How would you apply these concepts to getting a record label? For that matter, you could apply these concepts to anyone in the music industry: publicists, booking agents, a manager, promoter, etc.

52 Comments

  1. javaughn says:

    im a singer i can imitate miley cyrus adele, chris brown and rihanna i deserve to be heard im not desperate but i jst want to be heard and make something of my self if u heard me u would be speechless this is my step father’s number 0115995206084 call

    • imasocoo says:

      Please God tell me you didn’t just write that. Did you not real the article? You can forget about becoming a famous singer if this your mentality. Jesus Christ you’re also bragging about imitating those pop singers and putting your cellphone number up? NO

  2. Kayla says:

    Please listen to my freestyle

  3. OG STRANGER says:

    FUCK A LABEL I TOOK MY OWN…LAS VEGAS GANGSTAZ
    L.V.G.’z OG STRANGER

  4. David says:

    I can sing country cris brown the cab. And r Kelly Zach brown band and a few other people

  5. Andy Jones says:

    While I agree with the content of this and the previous post, I disagree with the way in which your observations are framed. For example, your comparison of seeking a record contract to courting a potential mate implies that one should assume some kind of benevolent status upon record labels and their executives and representatives, and that there is something unreasonable about expecting support and compensation solely for one’s creative efforts. I get that this is how it works in the real world, but if we are in the business of copping to reality, here is the way I believe this truism should be framed:

    Much like the broader society, record labels and those in the music business favor certain personality types over others. I’ve read a number of other blogs and articles written on this subject informing musicians that in order to succeed in the music industry they need to build a substantial network and work really hard to have a magnetic personality as if, A) this should somehow be expected as part of the work from the get-go, and B) this is even possible for a number of musicians who could not suddenly become type A socialites if they sold all their musical ability to the devil. Moreover, as you correctly indicate, money is a major concern, but I would argue that the social magnetism desired in a performer in the first place underlies this, and that the two are in large part one in the same. In other words, magnetism=money, and thus in searching for magnetism, record labels search for money.

    Don’t get me wrong, I understand that everything you have described is (sadly) exactly the way it goes. But you seem to be suggesting that deep down those with the power to grant record labels and an access to the industry are really just super busy talent seekers and that it is right and just that musicians accommodate them. When really, considering that effective publicizing and creative work, though not mutually exclusive, are not really one in the same, either, it is not unreasonable for musicians to wish to avoid all the bullshit hoop-jumping that constitutes the music industry, regardless of how necessary it is to jump through those hoops.

    • Simon Tam says:

      Hi Andy,

      When I compare pitching to courtship, it’s mainly to highlight the importance of making a first and lasting impression and has nothing to do with the power balance or dynamics of teh relationship itself.

      I’ve worked with several major labels (as well as major-label signed artists( and I can attest that while yes, there are some socialites that do rub elbows and do well, there’s an equal number of awkward, introverted, or non-social artists who just want to work on their craft. Certainly, many pop-artists are groomed in a way to help them develop a certain image or at least cultivate better relationships, but there’s a large variety of personality types out there.

      There is a certain amount of luck required…but you’ll find that the harder you work, the more luck you’ll acquire.

  6. ya.. it’s all who you know..at this Late time in the game I need that “Ya my wife went to college with so n so’s wife she talks to her at least once a month I can ask her to send it, she’ll do it she’s really cool!”…ya that’s my only hope! ha!

  7. ARAT says:

    Getting tired of seeing these ‘bloggers’ linking this to searches for actual record labels that are looking for that material.

    Your opinions aren’t even useful because you’re obviously on here writing in hopes to be noticed, yourself. If you knew as much as you claim on this blog, you would be IN the music industry.

    No one on here should pay any attention to this blogger. Obviously its here to garner a ‘hit’ for the link, and since it wasted my time, they can fuck off.

    Don’t listen to anyone who treads on your dream, regardless of the struggle. You never know what’s waiting behind any door.

    • Simon Tam says:

      Keep on dreaming – that’s your right. But as someone who as in the music industry, it’s my responsibility to tell the truth. And yes, I am in the music industry as a musician, promoter, label owner, and booking agency. I’ve worked with Sony BMG, Capital Records, Sub Pop, etc. I’ve personally played over 1,500 shows across North America and Europe as a professional musician and I’ve been featured on close to 2,000 radio stations, tv shows, and magazines. Again, it’s all advice based on my experience, but if you have useful insights as someone in the music industry, then start your own blog and share with the world. I do this as a free service for readers, on my own time, to help aspiring musicians – not to “get notice.”

      • Dustin Thomas says:

        Thank you so much! I loved hearing this tonight..,I will take it to heart. <3

      • Mark Thomas says:

        I’m a little late here Simon, but your comment said “to help aspiring musicians.” I get that it’s what you’re trying to do, but this article comes off more as a “give up” sentiment. Aside from telling people that they’re not going to make it, I really didn’t catch much “help.” In it. A good thing perhaps would be to let people know (since you are in the industry), if they shouldn’t send press kits or demos to labels, then what should they do to get an A&R rep’s attention?

        I’ve personally seen many bands that put on an incredible show, have a great image, great music, very solid musicians, pack venues and yet….they garner no attention from A&R reps, because the reps don’t even know they exist. So helpful may be letting people know how you get their attention if not by sending them press kits or demos.

        I personally would think, that with the invent or “re-invent” of the 360 deal, most labels today would be nurturing the concept of musicians sending unsolicited demos/press kits since most bands are doing more for themselves these days without labels. Labels are gradually becoming nothing more than “service providers” for bands that are working hard and gaining success on their own.

      • Simon Tam says:

        Hi Mark, perhaps you missed the link in the beginning of the article (I probably should have made it more clear). As I mentioned in this post, it’s a follow up to another piece that details what to do when people aren’t listening. As I mention in that piece:

        These are the tried and true steps to take in order to get anyone in the music industry’s attention

        1. Tour often: After that, keep touring.
        2. Get plenty of media hype: reviews, interviews, show previews, etc. You’ll need a publicist for this and, often times, a lot of touring.
        3. Build a large following: That usually comes from step 1 & 2.
        4. Get Licensing: Most licensing agents are looking for acts with a lot of momentum. In other words, acts who are touring often and who get media attention.
        5. Learn how to pitch your band
        6. Run your band like a business and prove you can make money, that you are a good investment

        (Plus this is in content of a series of over two dozen articles that elaborates these points – from getting sponsors to labels, it’s a very similar process). Here’s the link: http://laststopbooking.wordpress.com/2012/11/29/unsolicited-music-demos-how-to-get-in-the-door-of-a-record-label/

  8. Khalil Astro says:

    Check out my freestyle! Feel free to comment what you think

  9. Katz says:

    I’m a rapper/musician from south africa johannesburg,been rapping since 2002…rap is the craft that I’ve mastered,I don’t have much of a buzz yet & I aint known yet but I’m working on that…I wanna go international with my music & perhaps touch people through my rhymes..only problem is that I aint got the loot to pay publicists etc…not that I’m making any excuses…being the only kid my late mother had imma do whatever it takes to make her spirit proud…what advice do u have for me

  10. HELLO, MY NAME IS LEMAINE IM WRITING THIS MESSAGE TO LET YOU GUYS KNOW THAT IT IS ALOT OF TALENT IN THIS WORLD.BUT IN THIS WORLD TODAY IT IS HARD TO GET DISCOVERED.I IM FROM BELLE GLADE FLORIDA 33430 AND I IM TRY TO PERSUADE YOU GUYS TO LOOK INTO A ARTISTS THAT GOES BY THE NAME OF PROBLEM CHILD.OR D.CATO HE IS A HARD WORKER AND A AMBITIOUS RAPPER.HE MAKES MUSIC FOR ALL RACES.HE MAKES MUSIC THAT CAN MAKE YOU GUYS A LOT OF MONEY.IF YOU GUYS WOULD JUST LOOK INTO HIS WORK.I KNOW THAT YOU MAY NOT KNOW THIS ARTIST BUT HE IS WELL KNOWN IN BELLE GLADE YOU CAN FOUND SOME OF HIS MUSIC ON YOUTUBE/PROBLEM CHILD OR WACK PACK ENT.I WOULD ALSO LIKE TO THANK YOU FOR YOUR TIME.AND I HOPE YOU ALL LOOK INTO THIS ARTISTS WORK.AND FOR MORE INFO CALL 5613512490.THANKS AGAIN

  11. Shannon Kinsella says:

    Hey, my name is Shannon Kinsella and I was wondering if I sent you a demo of mine could you give me some feedback please and some advice on how to make it into the music industry,its always been a dream of mine so if if i sent you a demo id really like some feedback and advice please you wont regret it, really hope to hear from you soon!
    Thanks..

    • Simon Tam says:

      If you are interested in some feedback and advice, then I would recommend you set up a consulting session appointment. We can go over your goals, come up with a plan, answer any questions

  12. Alfred Earl says:

    I have a lot of new songs looking out for a record deal.

  13. Hi my name is Justin alias “FLAME”. I have a ton of music and I’m looking to be heard by serious scouts. Basically, my craft speaks for itself. I’ve been a hometown hip hop artist for quite some time now. Been at since 13. I’m 27 now. Just looking to expand. Can I get any Positive feedback on this? Thanks

    • Simon Tam says:

      Hi,

      Here’s the truth: Artists’ craft and music don’t speak for themselves. If they did, we wouldn’t have need for publicists, social media, marketing, labels or anything else. Some feedback is to learn how to pitch your music – figure out who you are audience is and how to reach them. Learn how to shape your pitch based on those elements and you’ll get much more from your efforts – certainly more than just leaving comments on a random blog about it.

      • Every so often tough,you hear about an artist or group who purposely used an “I don’t give an F”, approach. These are artists who might solicit a request to send in music but they will basically act not interested, by saying things such as, “we don’t care if you sign us or not,we’re too cool for your crapy label anyways”. I also remember in the Come as you are Nirvana book, it was revealed that Kurt would send demos cassettes to labels and smear a bunch of buggers onto his cover letter. And I think at one point they either also included a used Condom or they put something like Mayo all in it. That approach might have gotten something like a “these guys are really strange,we should meet them”,response from your average small Indie label. Probably not today though. It seems like r the mainstream corporate machine has infiltrated the “indie” scene these days. So pulling any kind of stunts might not get you anywhere But then again it could also be the one thing that made your band stand out from the dozens of other submissions received that week.

        I think with todays internet, a basic Introductory email along with a link to stream some of the artists music should be fine,no? It gives the label a choice to listen to it at their convenience or, to not even listen at all if they choose so. More often than not,for fear of maybe missing out something big; the label’s A&R will at least give your demo a skim listen. At that point the music has to now do all the work. Hopefully there will be enough substance to draw the listener in getting them to listen to more than just quick snippets.

        That being said,you want to email a link to your music page? What is a good approach in your opinion that will convince a label rep that you aren’t just another typical submission? What type of approach or even wording would you suggest using in your email submission? How are you going to get that A&R to follow your link rather than trash bin your email?

        The hardest part seems like actually getting someone from the label to actually follow through and listen. In the old days label A&R’s were sent submissions that were on an actual physical,tangible media. They would have a stack of submissions always starring back at them. A constant reminder like a stack of dirty dishes. Today on the other hand, an email with a link can get lost in the shuffle. It may go to a person’s Junk folder,accidentally get deleted, or could just be overlooked lost inside an enormous inbox full of mail. There are the small risk such as those,but there convenience,and efficient speed more than make it worth while.

        Another big question. Does it make a big difference if say you the artists were the one to send the submission emails? Or do you recommend having the email come from a representative of the artist? It could either be someone else or you could simply just word the email in such a way? Would you also recommend sending a first intro email without music? First,asking permission to send them a link to your songs? It may seem like the polite thing to do ,even if they plainly state that they accept unsolicited material? It might also give the label the impression that you were maybe dealing slightly bigger labels who typically only accept solicited material?
        Thanks.

      • Simon Tam says:

        Hi Mike,

        Looks like your big question was more like a half dozen questions :)

        Relationships matter, it’s always good to have someone with credibility send something in, whether it is an artist, a manager, a booking agent, an attorney, or even a critic. It helps but it isn’t a deal-breaker. What actually matters more than the demo itself or who sends it is if the submission answers the question: Will this artist make the label money? If so, how? Labels don’t want to take a risk, no matter their size. Some gimmicks can get people in the door but once they are there, they need the goods to back it up: a solid fan base, good press, and a very robust tour schedule. In other words, like the post says, get so much buzz going about the band that they can’t ignore the artist. In the end, that’s all that matters – not the music (unfortunately) and not the tricks that get people to look at a demo or click on a link.

  14. Serenity says:

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  15. Kamal says:

    Rap artist looking for some one who will help me get heard, put me n da studio n watch I do numbers, invest a lil time n me promise I’m worth it, 2282972375

  16. Tae Hustle says:

    Hey everyone im a las vegas local rap artist tryning ro get views plays likes and comments on my music please if you have anything to say about the music good or bad please comment it im tryning to get serious answers about my music you can listen at THA REAL TAE HUSTLE thanks for you guys time

  17. Eddie says:

    Herokill3rs Records is accepting unsolicited demos! They are looking for Electronic Music (any genre) http://www.herokill3rs.com or send them an email to info@herokill3rs.com

  18. artisdead says:

    gee – nice to hear someone admit its all about who you know.

  19. matt says:

    if u want to hear it then google it, if not don’t worry,,,
    matt j.s

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    and we want to sell oue song at cheapest price soo dat with that money we can make our new song.. a party song.written by me..
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  21. Dallas Q says:

    Wow, I think maybe I should just correspond with some A & R people for a while before even pitching any songs. Over time, maybe they’ll be like “Hey, weren’t you a songwriter or something?”

  22. Check out my 2videos..your boy p.Tizzle

  23. drew says:

    Truth be told if you are doing all that work trying to get a record deal you might as well be smart and be independent and invest your own moneyinto yourself and start up your own label and promote and sell your own music and make more money just do open mics and get noticed

  24. Lona says:

    Hello, everything is going well here and of course every one is sharing
    information, that’s actually good, keep up writing.

  25. John Castner says:

    Across a variety of genre; rock, classical, country, etc., I believe the percentage of “one-hit-wonders” is around 20-25%. No matter what type of business you are running, you wouldn’t thumb your nose at that number of potential clients. If I were a music producer, I’d read everything I received!

  26. somerandomgirl says:

    This article title is link bait. It doesn’t even address what it is titled for, which is “Record Labels That Accept Unsolicited Demos.” You don’t give a list at all, but your title suggests that is what the article is about. That is why people are attacking your blog post. It appears you created that title hoping people who are seeking a list of labels would land on your site, but you’ve only frustrated everyone by posting your opinions and not giving the information that is being suggested by the title. It’s like bait and switch.

    If you are so successful as you tout, then why are you using a free blog? I pay for hosting and it’s not that much, I really really doubt you have any real experience. I personally won’t return to read further from your blog.

    • Simon Tam says:

      I often issue a regular post based on search results of traffic already coming to the site or on requested subjects. What is bait and switch is the idea that a record company will offer any decent deal from a cold submission. That just isn’t reality. This site is about providing free music advice to help people advance in their career.

      A free blog isn’t really the measure of success. Why should I have to fake success by paying for a blog? That doesn’t make sense either. It’s all about content. Feel free to doubt my experiences or advice, I write it as a free service for people. You’re not obligated to read it or listen to the advice. But for those who do listen and succeed, it’s working for them. That’s who I write for.

    • Excellent points, somerandomgirl. I was thinking along the same lines when I clicked the link and began reading.

  27. kacycristt says:

    Looking for my shot to the top gave it o me and I wont let u down

  28. Faith Edwards says:

    Just to tell you people there are people who are becoming famous without the record labels and their fans are knocking on the radio station doors asking to play their songs. Then the record labels start banging on those singers doors and the singers say no we rather just sell our cd’s by our selves. So who is going to be laughing when the record labels go out of business because the only thing people need to be famous is the agencies. Who get the tour buses and send the singers to sing on stage.

    • Simon Tam says:

      There are many paths to success. As I’ve mentioned with the post, artists are going to get the best deals and get the most attention when they have their own momentum behind them.

  29. mazioeden says:

    Reading these responses is painful…No wonder we don’t accept unsolicited music. Most of you are completely ignorant to the business. Business in general and of course MONEY! DUH!. If you think posting “check out my music” Is going to get you anywhere you have failed to begin with. Secondly If you actually are on here posting “I sound just like so and so” You are not worth anyones time. No one should bother listening to you. You probably should just stay under the rock you have been living under. Wow there is no hope for music…I can imagine getting thousands of these idiots sending me there crappy cut and paste music…*shudder* AND! those same people completely missing the area of the brain that comprehends BUSINESS!!! If anyone with half a brain can understand this and put what I have said to use you can be very successful. BUSINESS! BUSINESS! BUSINESS! MONEY! MONEY! MONEY! Or go indie! MOST of them are used to being broke.

    • Faith Edwards says:

      I found out people have brain transplants so you can have no brain and still be living. Music is more about heart then your brain. And I already have people who like my music. I believe its not a record label people need its the agencies that people need.

  30. Faith Edwards says:

    No I put my videos on YouTube and on Facebook and people like my music. If I become famous it will be without the record labels I still owe money for selling one of my song to a record place and I dont get why its called selling a song if your paying

  1. […] likely, these results are landing on this post: Record Labels That Accept Unsolicited Demos. Other times, it might be this one: Unsolicited Music Demos: How to Get in the Door of a Record […]

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