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Things To Do Before Sending a Demo

Sending a demo to a record label for a slim (really slim) chance of getting signed is…well, still worth it. After all, all you have to do is send your kit or email blast to these labels, right? Kinda, but not really. Let me explain. You know these labels get hundreds of demos and email daily so you cannot just send a regular demo, you have to make it special. Apart from making sure your demo kicks some serious ass, you have to do the following to get a chance of being reviewed:

#1 Find out if you’re a match or not

The first thing to do before sending your demo out is to create a list of labels who might be interested in hearing what you have to offer. For example, sending a hip hop demo to an indie rock label would be futile. Look at what bands you like and what labels they are under. Ask yourself what labels deal with the kind of music you play and spend some time researching artists your sense of music style is similar to and what labels work with them. Get informed.

According to Sound On Sound, “One of the most common complaints from A&R people at record companies is that the senders of unsolicited demos often make little attempt to ensure that the style and format of their recordings match what the record company deals with.” Send your demo to labels that you know will be interested in  you – labels that represent artists with a similar sound as yours, and starter labels that are still young and more willing to take a chance.

#2 Do a background check of the person you’re sending it to. Do not mis-spell their names. Be aware of their activities. Do not put yourself into irrelevantly foolish situation. You may lose your chance even before you get heard.

#3 Know About Demo Policies

When you have drafted your list of labels, make it a point to learn about each label’s policy on demos. At times you find that larger labels don’t accept demos that weren’t sought after because it happens that some people send them demos and then later sue them, claiming their songs were stolen. Most labels have demo policies on their websites. When looking through these policies, find out the following:

Are unsolicited demos accepted?

What are the acceptable demo formats? (CD, mp3 clips, thumb drives, etc.)

Demo mailing address

Is there a specific demo rep that you address your package to?

#4 Make your demo and kit catchy but concise. As mentioned above, you have to stand out in every way but do not send something bulky. Most labels hate receiving big boxes with lots of unnecessary things inside it because it just fills up their room! That means be a minimalist because as a matter of fact, most of them prefer links only. But there’s still advantages in sending a kit because it is a reflection of you.

Next week we will share some tips on how you can make a promotion package that the labels will surely like!


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