Shopping music to a record label is often an arduous task. Record label A&R representatives generally receive so many solicitations that it can be tough for new comers to break through the crowd. For anyone pursuing a deal with a record label, putting together a demo and press kit package is essential to petitioning a record label. This package is a way to introduce and sell yourself, and your talent, to the label.
Research record labels that cater to the type of music you produce. According to MusicBizAcademy.com, sending the wrong type of music to a label is one of the top 10 reason’s record label A&R reps reject demos.
Obtain professional representation with a music manager, agent or entertainment lawyer. Many recorder labels do not accept unsolicited submissions. You need to have someone with connections to the label to advocate on your behalf. A music journalist with a good working relationship with label insiders or an artist who is already signed with the record label can also serve in this capacity.
Make a demo tape of your music. A demo is a short showcase of your work -- three to five songs -- on a CD. Your demo should be a high-quality presentation of your finest, most original work. Not only should the material itself demonstrate your best, but the quality of the recording should be professional.
Print the lyrics of each song contained on the demo on separate sheets. Staple the sheets together.
Photocopy one or two short positive reviews or press clips about your music.
Take an 8-by-10 black-and-white photo of yourself, your band or your group. Stage the photo to capture the spirit of your personality, or your group’s personality, and the style of music you perform. Print your name, or your group’s name, and your contact information on the back of the photo.
Write a one-page bio about your self or your band. Tell your musical story.
Write a short one-page cover letter. The cover letter should outline who you are; explain that you are writing to provide the label with a press kit and a demo of your music; offer an enticing point about the potential sales worthiness of your music (for example, the band routinely draws 400 people per show); state that you intend to follow up with the label in a few days to make certain this package was received; and close with a note indicating that you would welcome a contact from the label.
Place all the materials (the demo, lyrics sheet, clippings, photo, bio, cover letter and the business card of your representative) in a padded envelope. This is your demo / press kit. You should construct more than one so you can send them out to multiple labels.
Send your demo / press kit to the record labels that pass the grade based on your research.
- Get out and perform. Hone your music skills and your stage presence. Provide local radio stations that cater to your music genre with CDs of your music. Seek out radio and press interviews. If you can generate enough buzz about yourself or your band, record labels will come to you.
Maya Austen began freelance writing in 2009. She has written for many online publications on a wide variety of topics ranging from physical fitness to amateur astronomy. She's also an author and e-book publisher. Austen has a Bachelor of Arts in communications from the New England Institute of Art and currently lives in Boston, Mass.