Independent Record Labels Looking For Artists – A Foolproof Strategy
Independent record labels are looking for artists. Here is a strategy for being one of the artists they find, sign, and promote.
How do I get my music heard by record labels?
Build your audience
Record labels are largely looking for artists who will make them money. When you have a demonstrably large audience, the label looks at you as a sure-thing. Their skills and network will (hopefully) grow your audience more. But they want to see an established audience that will ensure they don’t lose money signing you and releasing your music.
Focus on at least two platforms for growing your audience. Spotify should be at least one of those two. Build your audience there with monthly and total listens and followers. Do something for your Spotify following every day. Combine that with efforts on YouTube, Instagram, Facebook, TikTok, or another social media. Build those followings as much as you can, organically.
When your numbers are great enough to attract attention, they will. Or, when attention does come your way, great numbers will seal your deal.
Record labels accepting demos
Build your network
The music industry is surprisingly small, and driven by personal connections. Building a network for your music career is the greatest short-cut available to you.
Burn no bridges. Make no enemies. Overcome your shyness and develop friendships everywhere you can. Remember, today’s soundguy is tomorrow’s booking agent. Today’s mega-fan is tomorrow’s label-head. Invest in developing these friendships every chance you get. Develop a network of people in your market who are cheering for your success.
Your connections will be the ones who introduce your music to those who need to hear it when your music and career is ready.
Why do artists sign to record labels?
Build your target list
Make a list of the record labels you want to be signed to. Find out who makes the decisions at those labels. Follow them on social media. Set up Google Alerts for their names. Look for their names at conferences you can go to.
If you’re not connected to them currently, find people who are one and two degrees of separation away. This can be other artists, other industry pros, etc. Repeat the process for them.
When artists on these labels are coming to your market, go to the shows. If possible, open for them. Ask them questions about the label. Is it as good as they’d hoped? Try to forge relationships that make it so, when your music is ready, these relationships will be the ones introducing your music to your dream label for you.
What are record labels looking for?
Release only irrefutably great music
Too many independent artists release full-length albums long before they have enough material to do so. If you have a collection of irrefutably great songs, release an EP. If you only have one irrefutably great song, release just a single.
While getting the attention of a record label is a lot of hard work building an audience and making connections in the industry can be a distraction, getting great at your craft is always your number one priority. Become irrefutably great. Work with producers and songwriters who are better than you. Learn from them. Collaborate.
When you have an album’s worth of irrefutably great songs, labels will find out. And they will sign you.
How does a record label sign an artist?
Labels are looking for reasons to NOT sign you as much as they are looking for reasons to. Don’t give them reasons not to sign you. Only release your irrefutably great material, and never release more songs than with just an EP. If you have more great material, hold it back and share it with your dream label when they express interest in signing you. This will give you as much negotiation leverage as a million Spotify followers.
For information on the 360 deal, which has largely become industry standard, check out our recent blog post on the topic.