You finished your track and you think it’s awesome. You let all your friends hear them and they think it’s also a banger. What’s next? Releasing it on a label, so the whole world can listen to your track (if they want to). Where do you start?
1. Do you have the best version of your track?
So, your track is finished. Are you sure it’s the best version it could be? If you’re not sure yet, you can ask other producers to give you some feedback. They’ll probably hear things different than you do. I always post my track in a private Facebook group I created with only 5 producers in it. Because of the fact that the group is small, everyone is more willing to trust each other with posting unreleased tracks and asking for feedback. When I get replies, I open up my project again and I can improve my track according to the feedback I received. If the replies are all positive and there’s not a thing I have to change, I know I did a pretty good job on the track.
2. A good way to get your track heard by a label
The best version of your track is here, now you want it to get heard by a label you like. There are a few ways you can get your track heard by a label. From my experience, the best way to send a demo is to get a personal mail address from the A&R manager, this way you’ll get past the usual demo mail and hopefully you’ll get noticed easier. What works very well is when someone introduces you to the label. That is how I got my track ‘Drum’ signed by Brobot. Gina Turner, a good friend of mine, introduced me to Junior Sanchez, who happens to be the owner of Brobot Records. That gave me the opportunity to send him some tracks. Now he new who I was, so he was more willing to listen to my stuff than when he never heard of me. Now he only had to like the track and think it would be a good fit to the label, and luckily this was the case. The track ended up being premiered by Pete Tong on BBC Radio 1! Bucketlist (✓)!
If there is a chance you can get in contact with a label face to face to show them your music, do it as fast as you can. There’s no better way to be sure that your track get’s heard and if they like what they hear you can show them more tracks right away. I experienced it myself during Dancefair, a music fair focussed on dance music. I had 10 minutes spare time and I walked past a label I liked. There were 3 guys from the label sitting next to each other and I asked if I could sit down and show my music. I immediately had the chance to introduce myself and talk about music, while one of the guys was listening to my demo’s. Luckily for me, they were very enthusiastic about my tracks and we exchanged contact details so we could keep in touch in the future. Now I have signed a new EP at this label (Distortus) and two single tracks will be released on a Various Artists compilation (Funk 'N Deep and Distortus).
3. Do’s and don’ts when writing a mail
A less powerful way to try to get your track heard is sending it to a demo mail address from a label, but sometimes there’s no other way than to just send it and hope for the best. If you plan on doing this, there are some do and don’ts I would like to share with you.
- Make sure your email stands out
- Make sure you send a clear email
- Make it easy for the receiver to listen/download your music through a direct link
- Adress everyone personal.
- Always show respect for the label you’re writing to
- Don’t explain your life story, keep it short.
- Don’t attach your track to the message as it only costs data
- Don’t send a reminder after a day. It takes time for labels to go through all the demos
- Don’t be sad if you never hear back from one of the labels, there are plenty of them
4. A label want’s to sign your track, and now?
First of all, congratulations! You’ve made a track and got recognition for your production skills, that’s great! What’s next? The label would like to know your contact details, because you have to sign an agreement/contract in order to release your track. It’s important to have a contract/agreement with the label, because you have the right to earn money over the productions you made and there are certain agreements you have to make with the label. You can think in terms of royalties, the term of the contract, promotional agreements etc. It’s advisable to let someone read the contract who has a certain knowledge of those things. In the beginning of my musical career I used to read them myself and would think it was good the way it was, but once I joined a Publishing Company I noticed a couple of things that had to be changed in the contracts in order for me to sign them in the future.
5. Sending your finished track
Once both parties agreed to sign the contract, it’s time to send your final file to the label in order for them to release it. It might take a while before your track actually get’s released, depending of the label. At some labels it takes two months for a track to be released and some labels release songs a year after they signed them, or even longer. Depending of the quality of the track, a label can choose to get your track mastered by a professional mastering engineer. If so, it’s best to deliver the file in WAV 24bit without any effects on your master chain at -6db. This way you’ll leave headroom for the master engineer. If not, your track probably sounds good the way it is.
6. Promote the track
When all the paperwork is done and your track is completely finished, it’s time for the release and promotion of your track. It’s in the label’s best interest to promote the track as good as they can, and you should do the same! This way you’ll reach the most people and the label will also see you’re passionate about the release. Head over to all your social media accounts and try to think of creative ways to give your release the attention it deserves. Don’t think this release will make you a millionaire though. See it as a good way to showcase your music to the world and getting your name out there.
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