You have just finished an amazing track, well at least you and your cat think so! But what happens next? You want the whole world to hear what you have achieved but don’t know where to turn. Relax my friend, this easy guide will help you through the wonderful ride of sending a demo.
Demo in latin means “remove, to take away”, when I read this i actually had a nice laugh because even it does not have anything to do with music, it has a very suitable word of todays music business. Because most of the demo’s a record label receive, are deleted and deleted very quickly. You see a decent label receives a lot of demos on a daily basis and the quality usually doesn’t keep a very high standard.
This mean you have to send the record label full length track with a quality good enough to judge its quality on a proper sound system. This means no fades in the intro och outro, no mp3 files with a bitrate less than 192 (keep it at 320). Sending a demo without these features will waste the time of the A&R and the label might not be keen on listening to your future tracks.
Write an attractive e-mail
What I mean is that you should contact the recordlabel in a manner that makes you look professional. A label does not need to know how old you are, which your first influences were and your favourite sports team. What you can do is to write previous releases, so forwarding your whole discography can be a good idea. A stabile link with an mp3- or wavefile is preferable and do NOT attach files to the e-mail, this takes a long time for the A&R to receive and can be very annoying. Do NOT attach ten other labels in the CC so the labels you send to can see that over ten other companies having the track in full quality that you want one label to spend their money on and promote. My advice is to just send one label at the time, and if they do not reply, send one more mail (reminder a week later). If you are serious about your production, you wont spam it away.
This one can be hard, but if you know something in the scene, you already know which labels are the most popular ones. The best advice I can give is to send to a label that releases music similar to yours, this is not always a must, but it will help. Don’t send to low quality labels – why? – Are you desperate for a release my friend? Having a release is cool, but getting “signed” lost its meaning years ago. Today there are thousands of labels, and many of them are releasing pure crap. But if 20 labels did not even bother replying to you, maybe there is something wrong with your track.
Getting a reply
“Hello dear promo sender, we like the track you sent. But at the moment our release schedule are full, but please keep sending us demos because we like what you do.”
– This pretty much means your track is not good enough and you are being told in a nice way. However you have something going on, they find some sort of potential in you, so keep producing newer and better tracks, and send them to the same label.
“Hi, cool track, have you sent this to anyone else?”
-this means that the label have some interest in your track, but don’t expect them to sign you before you have the actual contract in your hands.
Sign with one label and one label only!
Congrats, you have just signed your new masterpiece to a good label (hopefully). Unless the label treats you very bad and you are very unhappy with how your release was handled, keep signing your tracks to the same label. But maybe you want to be signed to all the major trance labels out there because it’s cool. Might look cool in your discography but it will most likely be bad for your career. If you keep signing your tracks to the same label, you are being loyal which means that your label want to promote you as an artist helping you get bigger. This is why many serious recordlabels wants you to sign a contract with atleast three options (they own your name for three tracks). This should be done more often and is basically just done by the bigger labels, and for some reason these labels are the most successful ones.
I can sum everything up in one sentence.
”Be careful, plan your music and be loyal.”