Have you ever tried to send your music to a major record label? If so, you are probably familiar with the phrase “return to sender.” Regardless of how great you think your music is, major record labels do not accept unsolicited materials. The truth is, getting signed to a major label like Universal will be a difficult task for an unsigned artist.
Record a professional CD. Without a professional product, industry professionals will not take you seriously. A record label like Universal wants to see how much you are willing to invest in yourself before they invest in you. Good songs and good quality recordings are a must.
Create a professional image. Music is about talent and branding. Your image is crucial to your success as an artist. Do you have to be attractive? Absolutely not, however you do have to have some kind of style. Universal wants to sign new artists that are not only talented, but also marketable. Hire a stylist and a photographer to put together a few promotional photos to accompany your CD.
Create a buzz. By promoting your music, you will build a fan base, sell CDs and create a buzz. It is best to start with your hometown. Then, focus on building a fan base in other regions. Universal signs artist that are already popular on a smaller scale. Take advantage of social media websites like Facebook and Myspace. Use these tools to show that your music is liked and in high demand.
Play many shows. Artist signed to Universal will have to generate revenue from live concerts. Playing shows will perfect your stage performance and prove that you are ready for the deal.
Get radio airplay. Start with your local radio station and submit a press kit to them requesting airplay. A press kit contains your music, picture, biography, show resume, and any press or awards you have received. You can submit press kits to stations outside of your local area, as well as Internet stations.
Obtain licensing deals. Some artists are discovered by Universal by having their music featured on movie soundtracks or television shows. Perform a search for music supervisors and contact them to inquire about upcoming movies or shows. Music supervisors are the people that approve what songs go where. Submit your press kit to them.
Get a music manager. The best way to find a manager is to network. Music industry professionals hang out just like everyone else does. Also, Hitquarters is a great source for locating music managers. Your music manager should be connected in the industry with the ability to get you opportunities that you would not be able to get yourself.
Attend a showcase where Universal representatives are present. Periodically record labels will send artist representatives (A&R) out to showcases to recruit new talent. This showcase can be public or private. A good manager will know when, where, and how to get you into these showcases.
Get signed to Universal. If you are waiting specifically for Universal, avoid signing any contracts until you are offered a deal from Universal. Universal will not sign you if you are already signed and represented by another label.
Before submitting your press kit to any professional, call and inquire. You are more likely to get heard if you get permission to submit. This is most common way to get signed to Universal. Other ways to get signed include auditioning for American Idol or hiring a famous entertainment attorney. Some entertainment attorneys have strong connections within the music industry.