Record Labels Accepting Demos

Every week, I like looking at the search terms that bring people to this blog. Sometimes, it helps inspire ideas for new posts. Other times, it’s just to get a pulse on what you’re interested in. Here are the top search terms for the past 30 days:

Major Record Labels Accepting Demos

Do you see a trend?

Most 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 Label. Or, it could be others.

No matter where users end up, it’s clear that:

1) Many artists are still under the (false) impression that record labels who have openings will listen to their demos
2) Many artists think that sending a demo, link, or press kit in is a good way to make an impression
3) I should write about this topic a little more.

If you want to submit something to a record label, that’s fine. However, it’s also a waste of time and money. If you really want to catch the attention of a record label, especially a major or well-established independent, you’ll need one or more of the following:

1) A publicist who has been getting you solid press, radio play, and features
2) A booking agent (preferably an established agency with a solid track record and relationships with labels)
3) Solid touring history; you should be playing 100-150 shows per year, with 90% of them being out of town
4) Getting enough buzz to land regular showcases at SXSW, CMJ, and other industry festivals
5) A viral music video (with authentic, not “paid” views

Even major labels who don’t accept demos get an overwhelming number of submissions. When I was visiting Sony Music headquarters a few years ago, they had four shopping carts full of unsolicited CD’s in their office. A&R reps would divide them up and trade them at the local record store for credit (without listening to them). That same trip, I went to Capitol Records, who was briefly accepting demos…they had over twice the amount and were just throwing most of them away.

If you want your submission to make an impact, you need to catch the attention of the label before your CD even gets to them. They should already be familiar with you due to the press you receive, the kinds of shows that you play, artists that you work with, or mutual contacts in the music industry. Otherwise, you’ll end up like everyone else: ignored.

Also, you might want to learn how to pitch your band and even have a few sponsors on board. That will help you get the contacts that you need in order to succeed.

38 Comments

  1. dipesh says:

    Sending a demo to a record company is the only option that i can do. I need some body who can guide me about this. Please

  2. Im a come up artist up from New York. I’m 18, and a true lyricist. Check out my work !

  3. Why is it so hard to send Demos to Black Hole Recordings?
    Am I missing on something? Here’s my website, http://www.fennecfoxwell.com

  4. Could someone guide me? Pm to my email. Thanks!

  5. Daron says:

    Please look up Hello Wisconsin bye Kyle Malzhan and Kid Wisco

  6. Pual says:

    How do i become a singer at the age of 14?!? I also do i need to write my own songs to become famous? I am 14 and everyone says i have a great voice .I cant move to hollywood and im not gonna guit school because of becoming a singer (i will do home school though) I love to sing and i need advice where can i get help and become a famous singer….

    • Simon Tam says:

      Well, I have over 150 articles up on this site on what you can do to create a music career – I’d recommend beginning to go through those. Age isn’t really a factor, neither is where you live. It’s all about building up your “brand,” developing your talent, and learning how to connect with your target audience.

  7. Please take a listen and tell me what you think jus

  8. Bob says:

    I have to disagree with you on this article….at least some of it. As a musician for the last two decades, I have seen literally three bands I personally know “make it big”. Both bands have played multiple late night shows, toured the world, and two of them are certified platinum.

    Here is how they got their breaks:
    The first guy was seen by an AR rep playing at a local show….he was there because the guy’s dad had a lot of musical connections. This guy was 17 and had played a total of three shows in his career. He was signed on the spot due to the strength of his songs….they weren’t even really polished, though he did have a very distinct voice. He recorded an album for the label within six months and toured with Metallica, selling about three million albums.

    The second band did play shows for a year or two, but they were literally playing house parties in living rooms. They did not have a massive fan base, no one knew or cared about them. Their break came when they sent a demo to an indie label with major distribution. They did OK on that label and then Dave Grohl became a fan and started wearing their T Shirt at Foo Fighters show. That started a buzz and within a year they had a major deal and were touring.

    The third band literally played about ten shows. They had no fanbase, were from a small town and were drawing maybe ten to twenty people to their shows.They lucked into a gig opening for a regional act signed to a major label….the manager of that band saw potential and started working with them, securing them a deal and now they have played the late night TV show circuit and toured all around the world opening for bigger acts.

    Now contrast that to the dozens and dozens of bands I have known who play 200 shows a year, dragging their equipment around the country, trying to build a huge fanbase so the labels will come to them. They do this for years until they become so burnt out that they quit.

    So my suggestion is….yes, play gigs and work at your fanbase, etc. But definitely send your songs out to labels and AR reps as much as you can. make connections, form relationships. Mostly, work on having your OWN SOUND. The reason most bands don’t do anything is because they are copping another bands sound and that never works….write great songs with originality and make all the contacts you can. WORK. But work smart. Playing 200 gigs a year and touring in a van often leads to nothing but burn out.

    • Florin says:

      Thank you. Somebody really understand how the things work. I am a talented composer who tried many tricks to rise from the crowd but all roads are closed if the pockets are empty. Also the internet is full of scams who only sell you dreams and nothing in return. Careful. In my opinion that those who ask for money from the composers and not percentage are just impostors. These people who call themselves experts in the music they want between 5 and 15 $ per song for the expertise of these songs and promote it to Record Labels. I still have not found on any forums, any of these people that managed to sign a contract.

    • Bill says:

      I have to agree with you. I have toured the US opening for major artists many times and it’s always the bands that “luck out” or just happen to meet someone that gets the breaks. This business is all about networking. It’s who you know. Not what you know. There is nothing wrong with sending demos to labels. In fact a lot of labels especially the indie ones now accept online submissions. The cost is zero to send it to them. Okay so maybe you send out 50 or 100 and 1 or 2 like your stuff. Well that is a lot better than not sending anything at all. Do as much as you can. There is no wrong way or right way in this business. Do what works for you.

    • White Ice says:

      Absolutely dude! I’m at the “burn out” state you’ve described. It’s all about who you know vs what you know/do. It’s also a combination of things going right for the artists, being in the right place at the right time, and being prepared/ready to take advantage of opportunities. It all comes done to just plain ‘ole working “smart” not hard and ineffective. I highly recommend designing your own mini-recording studio to create volumes of quality/unique materials to show case your talent/skills. Other than that: I wish everyone good luck!!

  9. Lot of negativity in this.

  10. Skulastic says:

    Great article but can you write one on how to achieve steps 1 through 5 ???

  11. suzzy says:

    this is so freaking dumb i did not ask you for your fucked up info

  12. Azrael says:

    I just need to be honest here, after reading several of your articles (after clicking your completely MISLEADING links) I am seeing a whole bunch of “you can’t, you won’t, you will never” succeed. I also see a lot of “stop, give up, forget about” acomplish your goals and dreams. Do ypu actually have a single article on your site out of the 150+ that inspires or motivates anyone into believing their passion is a possibility? Getting a reputation, exposure, playing gigs and being noticed is all pretty useless without the idea that you WILL get a reward out of it. Just my opinion but it seems lile both your articles and your comments end with the same theme. “You will never make it in the music industry unless you pay me to tell you how”. You also get defensive when someone calls you on it. If you have played 2000+ shows, worked with major affiliates and been accredited with interviews, why is their no creditinials, links to bodies of work or at least some reccomendations by at least 1 of your clients from your supposed “World Renown Consulting Services”. Just my opinion but I think your full of crap bro.

    • Simon Tam says:

      Everyone is entitled to their own opinions. This site isn’t designed to give people a pep talk for their music career, it’s to provide free advice and best practices in the industry. Like any other kind of lesson, that involves both do’s as well as don’ts. If you don’t find the information, you’re not obligated to follow it. If you do, that’s fine as well. If it was really that useless, there wouldn’t be over 5100 followers on the site and it wouldn’t be recommended by Billboard, ASCAP, Music Think Tank, and so on. And yes, there are links to bodies of work, history, past clients, etc. all throughout the site that you probably missed. But that’s ok too (people tend to see what they’re predisposed to, which would be understandable how you’d missed those links or why you claim I continually direct people to a consulting service, which I rarely do unless they contact me directly and it’s something I can’t address in a quick email). If you’d rather spend your time complaining on the site than reading it, that’s up to you. For me, I’ll just continue doing what I do, which is helping artists.

  13. James says:

    Here is a good list of record labels currently accepting demos: http://droptrack.com/record-labels-accepting-demos/

  14. Peter Nax says:

    This Is The Best..
    I haven’t read such an educative Musical posting in my entire musical career. Actually am singer, and currently been submitting my demos to different online Labels accepting Demos, and honestly there in one I see on some Page that always only emails a notification that my songs were played, but no label replies in writing. I have learned alot of mistakes here that I have been making whilst submitting my demos and hopefully next time I submit one to a serious label I will definately get quick honest reply. Thanks.

  15. Peter says:

    Hello. We are currently working Sarah Ferreira, a 19 old singer. We would like you to hear her and tell us if in any way you would like to work with her.

  16. princess adiele says:

    hi i’m 14 and i’m a Nigerian but i don’t wanna record in my country i wanna record in the uk but it seems so hard i’ve written two songs now and i’m fully ready to release them but i have no idea on how to start this career. i dont even know how i’m gonna contact a record label in the uk and feel really scared no one to encourage me please help

  1. […] Record Labels Accepting Demos (laststopbooking.wordpress.com) […]

  2. […] important. It can impact many areas, including: when/where to tour, how much merchandise to order, whether or not you should submit to a record label, and if you should accept that SXSW invitation or […]

  3. […] It can impact many areas, including:when/where to tour, how much merchandise to order, whether or not you should submit to a record label, and if you should accept that SXSW invitation or […]

  4. […] important. It can impact many areas, including:when/where to tour, how much merchandise to order, whether or not you should submit to a record label, and if you should accept that SXSW invitation or […]

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