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, we all like to think our tracks will be heard and that we will be signed. That’s just not the reality of the music business though. 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 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.

Check out the Funktasy Demo Submission article Here.

Funktasy Demo Submission – Send Your DEMO To:

We take pleasure in listening to your work. Please note that we only accept original music and select artists will be contacted. Only send streaming & SoundCloud links.

1 – Provide some background

In this day and age, submitting a demo to record labels is done online. For some artists, the unfortunate thing we’ve noticed is that some think it’s perfectly ok to send a link and nothing more. With respect to those artists, as a record label, we don’t just want to see a link. Instead, include a description 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.

2 – Do not send MP3 files

There are two aspects of demo submission that we want to address with this point. 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, 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.

3 – Do not send samples that have not 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 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.

4 – Send only 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.

5 – Build your online presence and social media before you send 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. 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.

6 – Include a few clear, professional-looking artistic photos

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 looking 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.

7 – Provide us a clean recording with good sounds that have been properly 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 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 we want.

Creating the Ultimate Demo for Record Labels begins with you

These 7 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. All things considered, for us, these 7 tips mean a lot. We hope they can provide a bit of a guide on how to move forward in preparing your demo submission.

Contributed by: Jason Leblanc