Need a Label? Great, But Read This Before Submitting!

In these days of the D-I-Y musician, some might say labels are dead. Fortunately for us, this isn’t the completely true and labels can still play a valuable role, especially for those musicians who don’t want to or just can’t do it all alone.

So, you’ve decided you want a label, now how do you go about getting one? Well, even a small label such as ours gets a lot of material sent to it. Unfortunately, a lot of those sending the material don’t follow a few simple rules when sending their music in. This means that a good deal of it doesn’t get a listen, or have a chance of us taking it on. So let’s have a look at submissions from our point of view:

  1. Do a bit of homework. This is the simplest rule of all and the one so often ignored! Don’t just submit blind to every single label you can find. Many labels, including our own, will have some kind of focus. If the label says it does country, sending your best heavy metal demo isn’t going to get you anywhere! On the other hand, if you’ve taken the time to find out what the label does and who to send your demos to, that shows you are taking it seriously.
  2. Quality. If you’re looking for a label, you need to show that the music is at least good enough to be released. A living room recording of you and your guitar isn’t always enough if you’re trying to sell yourself as a great band. And while we’re not necessarily looking for a finished product (see the next two tips …), we do at least need to know you can do what you say you can!
  3. Don’t send us something that has already been released! A lot of demos come to us now with lines such as “our album came out last September and we need a partner to …”. This is tricky, because to promote your release, the label needs arguments and a big one of these is the “new” factor. If it’s already been out there somewhere, that argument is gone. None of our promotion partners like us coming to them with “old news”.
  4. Don’t be so sure that your product is finished. Another thing we hear a lot is “we’ve mastered our album and we need a label to bring it out”. This can be difficult if, as is often the case with new bands, your master doesn’t meet our quality standards. Or maybe the recording is not as good as we think it could be. for that reason, we prefer unmastered material with the option to at least have some input if we think the music can be improved, e.g. by re-mixing. The same applies to artwork!
  5. No mp3s! Many email accounts are still configured to reject big attachments. Your mail could bounce, or block our mailbox, which tends to lead to automatic deletion. Soundcloud or dropbox are your friends here.
  6. Keep it short and sweet. A bit of background info, a photo and the links to the music are all we need.

That’s really all there is to it, but one last thing: Don’t take it personally if we don’t get back to you or we turn you down, even if you do follow the rules. Music always will be very subjective and just because we can’t do anything with it, doesn’t mean other labels won’t love it.

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