As record labels that accept demos are always looking for new artists, here is how to submit music to a record label the right way.
It all starts with writing and recording the best demo submission you can, and preparing it for listening.
Admittedly, creating and submitting the perfect demo to record labels is a challenge unto itself. As you send out your demo, know there’s no guarantee that a demo will be listened to and that you will receive a response.
Ideally, every artist likes to think their tracks will be heard and that they will be signed but that’s just not the reality of the music business. Anything you can do to maximize the chances of getting your demo heard and taken seriously should be pursued.
As one of Canada’s leading record labels, the Funktasy Records team of A&R have put together a quick list of some tips to keep in mind when building the ultimate demo for record labels.
For some extra tips, check out the Funktasy Demo Submission article and, if applicable, submit your demo to us. We take pleasure in listening to your work, and please note that we only accept original music and that only select artists will be contacted.
Provide Some Background On You, Your Music, & Share Your Story
In this day and age, submitting a demo to record labels is done online. For some artists, many will simply send a link and nothing more. A lot of the time, it is done out of politeness and respect for one’s time. That’s understandable.
That aside, with respect to many record labels, they don’t just want to see a link. They want to hear about you and know your story.
For artists submitting a demo, write a description of themselves or a bio and tell us a little bit about where you’re from, your artistic vision, and what your background is as an artist.
As important as your track is, we still want to know who we’re speaking with and get a sense of the artist behind the song. This helps us to decide whether an artist would be the right fit for what we’re interested in supporting.
Do Not Send MP3 Files, Use SoundCloud Or A Similar Streaming Service
There are two aspects of demo submission that we want to address here. The first is that when you’re submitting a demo, ensure it’s a link and not an mp3.
Why we say this is because if everyone sent us an mp3, it would overload our email servers and take up too much space. By sending a link via SoundCloud, for example, the process is very simple. As listeners, we click on the link, give a track a listen, and then make a decision on whether it’s the kind of thing that warrants a more in-depth look.
To this point, do not send multiple copies or mixes of the same demo. After all, you really only have a very limited time to impress. We don’t want to hear different versions of the same track. We want to hear your best possible output.
Do Not Send A Demo To A Record Label With Samples That Haven’t Been Cleared
We want to hear your genuine artistic vision in a legally acceptable track that represents what you stand for as an artist.
When you send us music with samples that have not been cleared, it immediately presents difficulty for us. By using illegal samples, it also communicates unprofessionalism and a lack of seriousness.
Every day, there’s copyright infringement in the music industry from songwriters and record producers plagiarizing tracks. If you’re not interested in getting permission to use a sample prior to submitting it to us, we are not interested in working with you and opening ourselves up to liability.
To this point, purchased beats and non-exclusive beats are acceptable, as long as there is some sort of permission obtained. At the end of the day, we are looking for authentic, original music to support. That’s another reason why we don’t accept cover songs of any kind. We want to hear your genuine artistic vision in a legally acceptable track that represents what you stand for as an artist.
As Your Demo Submission, Send Your Best Fresh, Unreleased Music
If your music has been on Spotify for a year or is commercially available at other online stores, we are not permitted to accept it as a demo submission.
Furthermore, if your music was previously released with another record label or if it legally belongs to another label, we cannot accept it.
These are all things to consider prior to recording, releasing, and sharing music. As an artist, you should have clearly defined agreements in place between yourself, your producer, and any band members or other stakeholders associated with the product.
Assuming we were to sign you as an artist or sign your song independently, we want to know we are in the free and clear to use it, promote it, and make it big. Marketing music costs a lot of money and for us to invest in any artist, we need to have the confidence in knowing there’s something in it for everyone.
Build Up Your Social Media Likes & Follows Before Sending Your Demo
A demo submission is a lot more persuasive when the artist sending it to us already has a following online. As an independent artist, we are not expecting anything big however having a healthy social media presence is always recommended.
Follow best practices on Facebook and other social media platforms to generate clicks, likes, and shares.
By showing us followers, fans, likes, and shares, this demonstrates to us that there’s a market for your music and that your product is coming to us with an audience built into it. Even if you only have a few hundred fans online, if it’s a passionate fan base, it also shows that you’re willing to put in the effort to find and maintain an audience.
In a day and age where there’s so much music publicly available, there’s a real challenge in finding a way to cut through all the noise and build an audience. Already having an active social media account certainly helps with this.
Include A Few Professional Photos That Showcase Your Vibe
In this marketplace, what you look like is arguably just as important as your sound and to some, it’ll be even more important.
When submitting a demo submission to a record label, always include clear, professional HD photos of yourself. This can help us see the artist and match them to the sounds we’re hearing.
Though we know it can be expensive to get some professional promo shots done, it’s more than worth it. They can be re-used time and time again for live shows, single recording releases, and more. For this particular instance, professional photos are a must. If we receive a demo submission without any photos included, rarely will we listen to the track.
Provide A Clean Recording That Has Been Properly Recorded & Mixed
No matter if it’s pop, house music, hip-hop, rap, dance, EDM, or otherwise, your demo submission should be a high-quality recording that has been properly mixed to some degree.
Any time that we receive a demo submission that’s been poorly recorded on a computer microphone or where it’s obvious the artist did not invest the money or time to get the performance right, it’s an easy thing to pass over.
No one is expecting the most amazing production we’ve ever heard and for the track to be mastered, however, that said, we should be able to hear the vocals and the instruments clear. Furthermore, the performance should be on the mark as well. If there are timing or rhythm issues, that just screams amateur and that’s not what anyone wants.
Any recording should absolutely capture your best performance possible and in the best quality possible.
Creating The Ultimate Demo For Record Labels Begins With You
These tips on how to build the ultimate demo all fall within the control of the artist. If you’re willing to invest the time and effort into sharing with us your story, getting the performance and mix of your demo right, and in building up a social media following, that gives you an instant advantage over the artists who aren’t willing to put in the work.
As a record label, while we absolutely support the artistic vision of those who are signed to us, it’s still a business. As we enter into business together, we want to make sure that our artists are just as committed to achieving their own personal success as we are.
When we invest the time into marketing an artist, that takes time, effort, and money, and we don’t want to invest that into anyone who is not willing to put in the work.
We hope this has provided a bit of a guide on how to move forward in preparing your demo submission.