How do I get my demo heard?
The larger the label or publisher, the less likely your chances that they will listen to a mp3 or compact disc that you send to them unsolicited. In fact, many majors will return the envelope to you unopened with “refused” written on it. At the very least, you should call the label you’re interested in and ask the receptionist if they accept unsolicited material. If they do, ask for specific instructions on how best to submit it, and to whom it should be submitted.
Rather than mailing out unsolicited demos, etc., to major labels and publishers, it’s better to try a grassroots approach to gaining their interest first so that you are more attractive to them. Ask yourself, if I was an A&R representative at a major label / publisher, what would I look for in a prospective signee?
- Demonstrated ability to tour; quotes from club owners added to your bio / website;
- Band has created a website that has easily accessible contact information (i.e. management, publicist, publisher, booking, etc.); band has an email list; has at least 1,000 members / email addresses;
- Band has created a Myspace page that has at least 1,000 “friends” and a Facebook page that has at least 1,000 “fans”;
- Band has created a Youtube profile that contains all of their videos (live video recordings should have high quality sound);
- Band has an excellent promotional pack that is easily accessible through their website;
- All songs (Form PA) and recordings (Form SR) fully registered with US Copyright Office;
- Affiliated with BMI, ASCAP & SESAC and maintain working relationship with your Writer / Publisher Relations representative;
- Band has registered their band name with the US Trademark Office;
- Released a demo or first record; retain sales records that demonstrate band’s ability to independently and successfully market and sell their recordings;
- Positively written about in internet blogs and local, state or national publications;
- Performances at high profile music conferences such as CMJ, SXSW, NXNE, etc.