How do I get signed?

If and farmost you need exposure, there are 4 things that we do to help the artist 

  1. Awareness - We will  promote your music or videos and get social on social media 

  2. Engagement - We make it easy for you to be picked up by investors or a record label.

  3. Discovery - We create more of an opportunity for more album sales shows, bookings, concerts, and more.

  4. Purchases - Because of a recommendation from someone you trust you bring more value to yourself as the Artist for more exposure.

  5. Retention -  We help keep them coming back and keep the artist relevant

Submit your music on www.signtheartist.com

The Fundamentals

Before you do anything, we have to sort out the basics. These are the things that have to be right before you even attempt getting in touch with a record label.

The Music

This is where it all begins and is the essential part of the puzzle. You have to make sure that your music is absolutely mind-blowingly awesome. These are steps you should take to guarantee it truly is.

Get feedback
Whenever you reach that point on a track where you think that it’s ready to send it to a record label, you need to pause and ask for feedback.

Send it over to people whose opinion you value, but not your friends or relatives. They will likely be yeah-sayers. You don’t need that. You need hard criticism.

Take it all in and work with it. Not everything that others consider wrong with it has to be corrected, but if you get multiple people pointing out the same things, it should start ringing some bells.

Polish the sound
Now that you have ironed out most of the track’s issues, you need to make sure it sounds as good as it possibly can – I’m talking about mixing and mastering here. These final touches can make a world of difference…. even if you’re not great at it, a decently mixed and mastered track is going to sound miles and miles better than one that’s not.

Now, if you’re a producer, then you probably know how to put down a decent mix and master. If not, then I highly suggest you either send your polished track over to a friend who does know this stuff, get it sent over to an audio engineer or learn how to do this yourself.

My co-founder over at Heroic, Tim, has written a great guide on mixing & mastering.

The Presentation

You know the saying ‘First impressions last’? It’s true… and highly relevant when you’re trying to get signed.

When you manage to get a label to listen to your music, chances are that they are going to catch a glimpse of your online appearance. And if they don’t, they will definitely look you up if your music has intrigued them. You want to make sure that the impression you leave is as good as can be.

Here’s the minimum of things that you should have sorted out:

Socials
Set up accounts under your artist alias on at least Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, and SoundCloud. Make your specific URLs the same for each platform… 

Then, interlink everything. All your profiles should have links to your profiles on other platforms, your website, and contact email. If you have a manager you can replace your email with theirs, and if you also have agents you’ll want to include their information as well.

You can also throw in a branding marker unique to yourself next to these links to keep your SoundCloud looking interesting.

 

Official Website

You should have your own .com domain. It just looks more professional.

If your band name is TheBestBandEver, try going for www.thebestbandever.com. You can get .com domains for as little as $10, but with a little trick I’m about to teach you, you could score one for less than $3 a year. First, you want to make sure that the domain you’re after is not occupied yet…. do that by going to GoDaddy and executing a domain search. Hopefully, you’ll find a .com that you like. Don’t even bother going for anything else than .com.

Now, you want to find a discount coupon for GoDaddy. Go to FatWallet or RetailMeNot and find a code that offers an 80%+ discount on .com domains. Then use this code during the checkout process at GoDaddy. Booya, you’ve just scored yourself a domain. Now all you need is a website on there… you can build one yourself or run with WordPress or Tumblr if you’re not that

Booya, you’ve just scored yourself a domain.

Now all you need is a website on there… you can build one yourself or run with WordPress or Tumblr if you’re not that tech-savvy.

Branding
You also have to have an established brand that’s visually pleasing as well.

You should have a logo, some decent photographs and possibly artwork for all your releases. Make sure these are all set up correctly on your social media sites and website.

If you have mediocre designs or did a half-assed attempt at crafting something yourself, ditch it. You’re better off with no design than ugly design – it looks cheap.

Ideally, you want to find a designer who can specifically cater to your needs and with whom you can develop a long-term working relationship. Most good designers are expensive though.

Alternatively, there are a few ways you can get good designs for a reasonable price; you either find a designer whose willing to work with you for free or cheap, or use design competition websites.

For the prior, you can browse EDM producer forums as they often have categories where beginning designers are enthusiastically giving away free designs to practice their trade. Try looking at EDM District’s Community forums.

Then there are design competition websites – these are sites where you can post a job offering, for example for a logo design, offer a set price, and a bunch of designers in the website’s community will pitch designs to best match your requirements.

Once your job posting expires, you get to choose the design you like the most, and that designer gets the money. Check out 99designs and Crowdspring.

I can’t stress enough how essential these basic things are. If you have checked and sorted out everything, you should now have a decent foundation built and you’ll look more professional to both labels and fans.

Thinking Like A Label

To increase your odds of getting signed, you have to understand what labels do, want and experience. Because when you do, you can cater their needs way better.

Step into their shoes with me.

First and foremost, a record label is a business. They have operating costs (for distribution, marketing, design etc) and need to generate revenue to cover those costs.

Everything in excess is their profit.

They generate this revenue by selling music, collecting mechanical royalties (cash they get when people play, buy and stream their tracks), and sometimes through selling merchandise and hosting events.

Whether focused on mainstream or underground, they have to make ends meet. With this in mind, think about the type of artists they want to sign – artists that help them make money. The factors that contribute to that are great music, a (big) fanbase, good marketing, and dedication. The better you score on these points, the more interesting you are to sign.

The Art of A&R

Good labels receive tons of demos.

They often have A&R’s (Artist & Repertoire) working for them. These are the people that scout talent and listen to the demos.

Top notch commercial labels such as OWSLA, Mad Decent, and Spinnin’ Records receive over 100 demos DAILY.

These pile up so quickly that it’s nearly impossible to keep up with.

Some bigger labels go through their demos once a month, but I know of a few who have just given up on checking their general demo boxes and mail folders altogether. Instead, they find and sign music through their network. This is a hugely important notion which I’ll address further on.