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While searching on social media is unlikely to give you an email right away, it should be a good starting point for a full name to work with. If the employees have assigned the label as their employer on Facebook, then they will show up in the search results. So when you find a profile, be sure to vet them to make sure they actually look like they work there.
The Facebook page and SoundCloud profiles of the record labels tend to have some information as well that could prove useful. With a little luck, there will be more contact details there. By virtue of the business, a majority of these people will be public-facing people who are actively engaged in social media and networking and will have personal Twitter accounts, Instagram accounts, Facebook accounts and maybe even their own websites.
Track it all down. By now you should know who are running the label and where to reach them. If not, then you either need to dig deeper, or think of more inventive ways to uncover contact information. Alternatively, you could try getting in touch with people whom are likely to know more and ask them such as artists releasing with the label or their management.
Here comes the hard part. This is the most time consuming step of this whole process and needs to be executed with a lot of persistence and attention to detail. Earlier we discussed how the bigger a label gets, the more demos they receive. Sometimes that public folder is only checked once a month. By an intern. Give them ideas, criticism, links or comments that could benefit them. Point out something they could have missed. Put in some effort. Make life better for them.
Good things come from those little risks. You should apply all of these principles in many of your business relationships. Especially if you want to collaborate with someone, these things go a long way.
I will show you my approach to establishing new business relationships. Our goal here is to create friends or at least acquaintances. You want them to get familiar with you and need to develop goodwill with them. Apply this approach with all the the five labels on your list. With a little luck, the people you meet first will make meeting the others easier. Networking is cumulative like that. Take note that building relationships takes time and that you should start doing this at least two weeks before you submit any music.
If you rush things, you might not have had enough time to bond and can not reap the benefits. Follow them on Twitter, like them on Facebook, follow on Soundcloud. If you know the personal names of the employees, try looking for their personal Facebook accounts with the end goal of having them accept your request. They way you do that is by…. On Twitter, try replying them regularly.
These are all easy ways to get a conversation going, but also have the other party recognize your name and handle. Try and add value. Even mail can prove a great way to start a dialogue. People will remember someone who stepped in their office a thousand times more than the dude who was just emailing, so aim for that.
Grow a pair and do it! Do some bonding This is your end-all goal. Make some friends in the process. Joke around a little. The longer you talk, the more acquainted you get. Get friendly, be yourself and invest a load of time. You get to submit some music. Avoid using copyrighted material — unless you have a potential chart topping 1 hit in your hands, labels are not too eager to release music that contains copyrighted material. Clearing it takes a lot of effort and potentially money.
Only the big boys clear stuff. Listening to all that music is a pain in the ass. You need to make this process as convenient as possible for them. You need to be precise and persistent to get your stuff heard. Quality over quantity — do not send more than three tracks at once in a demo submission.
If you have more, force yourself to filter out the best. Everyone wants to feel special — including the label. Especially not when using a personalized approach like we are. Just imagine what would happen if two of them said yes at the same time. Export the right quality — make sure to send tracks in the right format. Lossless file formats such as WAV and AIF are overkill and could ruin your chances of the label even downloading them in the first place.
Use correct file names and ID3 tags — tracks and emails tend to get lost. The latter is the track info that you can edit in your DAW or in an audio player such as iTunes. The label needs to be able to figure out who you are, what track it is and where to reach you, if they were to just find the file somewhere. Upload a streaming version and a download No modern label likes to receive tracks attached to emails. They often have email filters set on that filter out mails with attachments, or will simply skip the email altogether.
The preferred method is the combination of a streaming and download link hosted on familiar places. SoundCloud private links or Google Drive links work best here. For Google Drive, make sure if you send over a Google Drive link make sure your track is organized in the right folder before grabbing its share link. For private SoundCloud uploads, make sure all track tags are set correctly and that your email address is in the description.
Submission emails should always be straightforward, short, and efficient. Obviously, attach the streaming private and download link. Make sure all of your social and branding are on point before you do. If not, send a follow-up email. The message should be short and sweet. For every week that passes and you hear nothing, send another reminder. More on follow-ups and even email pitch templates here. Hopefully, you now scored yourself a deal.
In that case, the label should be following up with more information and drafting up a contract. If not, you might have been turned down, or just heard nothing. See if you have room to improve. Repeat the submission process above, wait, remind and repeat. If none of the labels responded you might want to take a moment to think. It could have been a streak of bad luck but chances are that if you got a negative response from all of those labels, that you have some improving to do.
Is your music as good as it could be? Did you build a strong enough relationship with its people? Think about it.