Sending demo music to a record label without spending any money proves challenging, but possible. Musicians mistakenly think the only way to get a demo recording heard involves hiring a music agent to submit to a recording label. While this certainly helps your chances if the label has a relationship with the agent, there are other ways to get your music heard. Some of these methods will even allow you to make money while you wait to get picked up by a record label.
Research a list of record labels to determine which labels accept your style of music. Find an artist with melodies and harmonies similar to your band's recording and submit your music demo. Submit only to record labels that publish music with a similar acoustic sound.
Check the record labels website and call to determine if unsolicited demo recordings are accepted. Many record companies do accept submissions, but you must contact them to find out. To avoid paying postage fees, submit your music to artist promotion websites and promote your music free using social media sites. Since music must be heard and not seen, you must be able to promote your music through concerts and performances before a music publisher will take you seriously.
Join a music performing rights organization (PRO) to receive notifications of conferences in your area and find publishers interested in your music. ASCAP and BMI are the two largest music performance rights organizations and have expansive music resources to help musicians.
Attend free music conventions, composer expositions and music conferences to meet with publishers working in the industry. Bring your music press kit with you for potential record labels. When you attend the convention, have shirts made to advertise your band and have a good description of what your music sounds like. Publishers need to be taken in with your words before they listen to your music.
Sell your music online. Musicians that do well selling their music independently show promise and may be contacted by record labels. Selling your digital music downloads with a music distribution service will make it possible for you to sell your music through a digital music distribution. This will create additional income, promotion and support for your recordings.
Enter music publishing contests through organizations like the American Composers Forum or the National Association of Composers. These contests must be specific to your bands particular music genre. Often, you will receive an audio analysis of your music for free just for entering the music contests.
Build a music press kit to send to record labels. The press kit should include a professional photo, press release, bio, demo recording and contact information.
While you can submit your demo recording by yourself and avoid paying fees to agents, you will still have to pay the costs of postage, recording replication and other items in your press kit. However, these items are relatively inexpensive.
- "This Business of Music, 10th Edition (This Business of Music"; M. William Krasilovsky; 2007
- "All You Need to Know About the Music Business"; Donald S. Passman; 2007
Steven Miller graduated with a master's degree in 2010. He writes for several companies including Lowe's and IBM. He also works with local schools to create community gardens and learn environmentally responsible gardening. An avid gardener for 15 years, his experience includes organic gardening, ornamental plants and do-it-yourself home projects.