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:
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.