The number one way to get a record deal might seem obvious, but it’s the only real way to garner label attention. The secret to catching a record exec’s ear is (drum roll please)…making music so good it’s impossible to ignore. You probably already know this, but are you really practicing it?
The truth is a lot of bands reach out to record labels before they’re really ready to get to the next level. A label wants to see you’re the whole package and you’re about to take the world by storm. Then they’ll invest in you.
So how can a band kick their presence and artistry up a notch? Well, for starters, make sure you’ve got a fresh, distinctive artistic vision. No label wants to sign a cheap version of another band; they want someone striking, someone who makes you sit up and take notice.
Once you’re sure your band isn’t just writing retreads of another group’s songs, you can further hone your performance and creative skills by performing live as much as possible. Since touring is a massive part of music industry income these days, labels want to see a captivating frontperson who knows how to put on a show. But it’s not just about labels — it’s also about growing your own organic, wild-about-you audience.
The size and passion of your fanbase ensure you’ll constantly be gaining new fans, as your old, ardent audience shares your songs with their friends, and so on.
More fans equal more people willing to buy your LPs, your mixtapes, and your t-shirts.
More fans also means increased exposure to music industry professionals who can bolster your career — from other bands who might want to tour with you or put in a good word with their Manager to young A&R Coordinators looking for exciting, undiscovered artists to pitch to their department.
This is also where networking comes in; get out and meet other bands, fans, and music industry professionals in your local scene.
Of course, social media numbers and interaction also play a part in this. Make sure you’re on all the sites that make sense for your project; it’s probably some combination of Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, Snapchat and Tumblr. You can gain more fans this way and effectively communicate with your longtime supporters about upcoming shows and new releases.
A strong social following looks good to labels, too, and you might even find label employees among your online fans. Once these people start sharing your music far and wide, you won’t have to look for labels. They’ll already be looking for you.