How To Audition For Record Labels

By January 7, 2020Record Labels

Pitching to record labels is frustrating, but the next step is even tougher.

Once a label expresses interest in your music, they may ask you to audition so that they can see your work in person.

How do you prepare for and land the biggest interview of your life? Read on to find out.

You’ll also get some tips on how to make sure you do a good job when you get there.

Landing the Audition

Audit means to hear, so what you’re doing at an audition is being heard.

The people there are judging how you sound, to decide whether or not you are a good investment.

Make sure your music is at its best and that you are, too.

Remember that even if a label doesn’t take you on, it doesn’t mean you aren’t talented.

It doesn’t even mean that your music is bad.

It just means that this label doesn’t want to take the leap and sign you at this moment.

If you’re not signed after an audition, it will be really disappointing.

But there are other labels out there, and every setback is really just a learning experience in disguise.

So, here are some things you can do to improve your chances of getting a successful audition:

Have a fan following

A record label’s job is not to find you fans, it’s to put you before a larger audience.

But if you can’t build an audience from where you’re already at, a record label won’t want to sink money into you.

Having a strong fanbase, even if it’s small and local, shows that you can draw a crowd if given the chance.

Have a well-recorded album or demo CD

When a label becomes interested in your pitch, having a good hard-copy demo CD can be a great tool to get you to the next step in the process.

Record your tracks with high-quality sound software and brand-new CDs.

Also have digital versions on a private hosting site, ready to link to in an email.

The label rep could request either version before deciding whether or not to grant an audition, so always be prepared!

Get an investor or sponsor

If the label isn’t the only one footing the bill, they’ll be more likely to take you on.

If you can get yourself any kind of sponsorship, or have a serious investor in your quest to publish your music, be sure to put that in your pitch.

Having financial backing means that you understand what it takes to operate in the music world.

Don’t send unsolicited CDs

DO NOT send your CDs or music pitches to every record label you can find.

The vast majority of demo CDs go right to the trash, and most emails from unknown senders get deleted.

If you want to be taken seriously, you need to go through the process the right way.

Trying to skip ahead will get you nowhere.

Set up auditions with the A&R manager through an agent

If you can find a good agent with contacts in the biz, that can help you get a foot in the door.

A good agent will know who would be most interested in your music and can use personal contacts to arrange auditions.

If you can find such a person who is willing to take you, that’s great!

Just be wary of scams and don’t sign anything before a lawyer has a look at it.

Follow up if interest is shown

If a label shows interest in your pitch or demo submission, send a follow-up email within about one week.

Be ready to set an appointment, and be available for it as soon as reasonably possible.

Don’t let the label lose interest or forget who you are by waiting too long to follow up.

On the other hand, don’t send daily emails asking for status updates.

Nobody likes a nag.

Tips for a great audition:

  • Rest your voice for 12-24 hours beforehand so that it’s fresh and ready to go.
  • Don’t skip meals. Eat light if your stomach won’t settle, but snack on something quality throughout the day.
  • Stay hydrated. Drink plenty of water, especially if you are going to sing.
  • Don’t get the caffeine jitters. Slow down on the coffee and don’t drink any right before your audition.
  • Be professional. Show up on time.
  • Do your best work when you perform. And remember that your best is all you can do.
  • Clear out of the audition room quickly. This shows consideration for the others who are waiting to audition/.
  • Accept any criticism as constructive and thank the person for the advice.
  • Don’t try to strike up a conversation with those judging auditions.
  • Make sure they have your contact info, press kit, business card, and contact info.
  • Follow up with a call and/or an email to gauge their interest. If they are interested in further contact, be prepared to arrange a meeting or lunch.
  • If no interest is shown, and they don’t respond to your follow-ups, take the hint. Don’t force them to be rude about it–just move on and try again.

Finding the right label is easier when you know where to look.

GigFaster maintains a database of the labels looking for talent, and helps you put your best pitch forward.

Once you’ve got a label’s attention, you can focus on your audition and follow your dreams without wasting all your time Googling for email addresses.

Sign up today for our one-week free trial and see how GigFaster can help you pitch to labels and find your next event venue!

Craig Kelley

About Craig Kelley

Craig helps indie artists book more gigs, promote their music and submit to record labels @ GigFaster and GigFaster University . His latest release is his 7th album, Not So Blue. His band has supported Grammy artists including Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Rick Derringer, Gary Hoey, Joan Jett, Fuel and many more. He is also the host of The 5 Minute Podcast For Musicians.


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