The music industry can seem mysterious to outsiders, with unspoken rules that you either get or you don’t.
Breaking into the business can seem impossible for the little guy.
Even with Indie labels springing up to break the hold of the Big Three, getting signed can stay just out of reach.
How does a dedicated artist get their work in front of Indie labels and hopefully land a contract?
Keep reading to get the low down on your best bet to get yourself heard.
1. Work that Bio!
It may sound old and tired, but you have to nail your bio section in order to be taken seriously.
As an artist, it’s about more than just your music.
You’re also selling yourself – your goals, your dreams, and the message you’re trying to send with every song you write and/or perform.
Your bio section will bring that across to the label and help sell you as any package.
You’re going to need two versions – a long form and a short form.
The short form should be just two or three lines.
Think the bio space that you have on your favorite social media platform.
The long form should have the full list of your achievements, press coverage, events played, prior experience, festivals that you performed at, and so on.
Think of the long form like your resume, and the short form like a tweet describing yourself.
Of course, make both versions to the point and don’t add unnecessary info.
2. Public Music Links
Having public links is important when pitching to a label because the like/stream/follow count lets a label know what kind of audience you already have.
If you don’t have a track record of building a fanbase, a label is unlikely to consider you a good investment.
Get your music on Spotify and promote it.
Labels want to see that people like your music.
If you get your music distributed through an aggregator, it will show up on the various digital platforms.
For a rundown on the process and the aggregators you can use, see the article Where and How to Sell your Music, published on the GigFaster blog.
Once your music is available to stream and download, your work has just begun.
You want to make sure the titles, artist info, and lyrics are accurate.
You want your music in Shazam’s database so that people can identify it when they hear it.
3. Public Video Links
Get a YouTube channel up and running and promote it.
The goal is to get your videos to go viral and get your view and follower counts up.
Share your videos on every social media platform you can, and make sure everything leads back to your channel.
If you don’t have videos of your shows, songs, or performances, get some.
Make it quality. Edit it well. Get it as professional-looking as possible.
Look at artists you admire to see what they do.
A full-blown music video with special effects is probably not on the table for you, but there’s still a lot you can do to make your videos look good.
4. Promo Picture
Get a promo picture of yourself (if you’re a solo artist) or your crew (if you’re in a band) and make it good.
You want a real, quality artist photo–not album art–to include in your press kit and pitching materials.
It should look like a portrait photo without looking stilted or fake.
No weird duck faces, strange selfie angles, or Instagram filters.
It needs to be identifiable even when shrunk to a thumbnail on a smartphone screen, but have enough pixels to translate to a desktop monitor.
That’s why you want it crisp and uncluttered: you or your band against a plain backdrop.
Choose .jpeg when saving and keep it to the middle of the range in terms of pixels.
Too large, and it can freeze when opening or fail to load.
Too small, and it will look grainy when viewed at full size.
5. Thick Skin
Even if you do everything perfectly, your chances of acceptance are low.
The music industry is very competitive, and labels don’t like taking risks.
Even if they like your music, their roster might be full.
Most often, the only rejection letter you will get is silence.
Pitching directly has a low chance of success, because labels prefer to work by discovery or referral.
Your best bet is to network in the industry and come recommended by a manager or promoter who has a relationship with various labels.
Most unasked-for pitches and demos are discarded unopened.
Don’t take it personally–you’re just getting lost in the crowd.
Become known in the music circles, and when someone shows interest in your work, submit your demo immediately.
That’s why it’s so important to have your press kit and demo ready at a moment’s notice.
Being prepared separates the amateurs from the professionals.
Which one are you?
Get the Gig
Thanks for reading! If you want to get a step ahead on your pitching and demo process, GigFaster is here to help!
We maintain a database of venues and labels that are open to booking and signing new artists.
Keep track of your pitches, upload your demo tracks, and get reply notifications, all from one dashboard.
Sign up for your one-week free trial today!