How to Approach Labels & Artists

We receive a fair amount of demo’s and artists wanting to work with both the label and Alvaro. This in itself can be a rather time consuming part of the adventure of electronic music. There is truly nothing like receiving a well presented demo that just knocks you off your feet. This though, can be something much more rare then I would like. So here I will outline some of the basic and not so basic aspects of how to present yourself and your music to not only labels but other artists you may be interested in working with.

  1. First and foremost before you send a demo or even a promo to a label or artists, please show that you care and take the time to check the music style they are involved with. Then send your demo to the proper email or how ever else the label as asked demos to be sent to them.
  2. Be Polite!!! Be Friendly!!! Labels and bigger artists are approached every day by many producers, and being rude, short, and simply not using your manners will make you look both unprofessional and give them little interest in working with you.
  3. Provide an easy and fast way to access the music you want the label or artist to hear. If I have to click 15 things and then dig through 3 folders before finding the track you want me to hear, mostly likely I am going to be less receptive to whatever it is.
  4. Provide some relevant information about yourself. How long have you been producing, WHAT YOUR NAME IS, if and who you have released with in the past (a short version with only the most important of your works please). For bonus points, also include why you want to release with that particular label.
  5. Don’t send a track to be placed on a label that has already been for free download. Great if you want to give your music away for free, but honestly I have no interest in a track that has been out in the public domain for free. No matter how good the track, it makes my label look less professional to release a track like this as well as making it impossible to fight illegal downloads if I did release it.
  6. Be Patient! The bigger the label, the longer it may take for them to get back to you. Keep in mind, your demo may be the 50th one they received that day, or maybe they have a hundred other things they are working on before they can really sit down and give your track the proper listen it deserves. So always give a label or big artists a couple of weeks before contacting them again.
  7. Send finished tracks. Or at least tracks that are 90% finished. On a side note, it’s great if you have an idea of who you want to remix the track, but always remember this is a business relationship first and foremost, and some labels may prefer to have their own remixers or ones you can both agree on to do work on a track. I have sadly had to turn down tracks that I loved because the remixes it came with were horrible.
  8. Do not take criticism or refusals personally. Many labels have pretty full release schedules, so if your track maybe is not what they are looking for or maybe they just do not have room for it on their catalog, this is no reason to become rude, pushy or brag about how it does not matter because other better labels would love to have your track. This just makes you look bad and most likely that label will never want to work with you in the future.
  9. Avoid sending out MASS demos. When I receive a demo that is being sent to 50 other labels, I am less likely to be interested in the track. You should really reach out to labels you appreciate and enjoy, and if possible give a reason for WHY you want to work with that specific label. This makes it a lot more likely that I will be happy to respond, pass along a list of other labels to check out if I can not take the track and remember you in the future when you send us new music to listen to.
  10. Keep in mind label owners talk to each other. So if you are rude we will talk about it, and on the upside if you send us something great we will pass it on to other labels and be much happier to establish a relationship with you 🙂
There you are, 10 things (obviously besides the quality of the music you produce, which is the most important after all lol) you can do to stand out and make a good impression on labels and artists. If you have questions or have something to add please feel free to leave a comment below!
Now for a few words from other label owners and artists when I asked them what they thought should be included in this little guide 🙂
Jaidene Veda – Jaiveda Productions

• do your research (*respect* – hands down, just know know who you’re talking to regarding their experience, professional discog/bio/career duration) • be personable, be professional, be courteous/patient (considerate about “right timing” on both ends) and be humble!!! i always notice the best and ‘biggest’ in the industry are in fact the most humble – so people are best not to attempt to “impress” anyone with the wrong attitude • lastly, some polite human to human conversation as to why you’re reaching is always welcome – this is business, but we’re Artists because we’re passionate, so if you don’t connect, business is easy to turn down. oh! AND DON’T DO IT ON FACEBOOK! lol – maybe the first “hello” but that should follow with, can i have your email address to send you my proposal/link/music/ideas – “real email yO” 😉
Tim Andresen –  What Happens
• If it’s about signing a track to a label, make sure it’s finished b4 contacting the label. Be aware of the label’s sound before sending out. Make sure to add a small biog to have an idea of previous work etc. Try to make it personal rather than sending to a whole list of labels.

Another important thing… New producers need to take into consideration, that established labels/DJs/producers get sent tons of promos every day and don’t have time to listen and feedback to it all. Therefore have patience and please respect if you don’t receive the answer straight away. I easily receive 50 mails/messages a day with tracks to listen to and reply / give feedback to and that itself can turn into a full time job sometimes. Which brings me back to the thing about only sending tracks that are finished… It’s obvious stuff to some but not all.
Javier Varez – Alma Soul Music
•For me is important the “humanity”, I hate to see mails and soundcloud messages with only “Listen my demo”… I need to know that you know my label and if you are a person or a robot from hyperspace before work with you!! 😉 Good humor is important for a collaboration!! 😉
Disclosure Project – Disclosure Project Recordings
• For me I don’t care what a person has done, I am only interested in what they are doing. So long winded diatribes about how famous someone may be for something they once did are of no importance to me. I tend to hardly read long posts about the person, and I just check out whether the track they are sending is actually any good. If you are sending a track to a label, KNOW THE LABEL,KNOW YOUR OWN STYLE, SEND THE RIGHT MATERIAL. That is the most important thing.

About sierramay
Sierra Maydell A&R/PR/Label Manager Skype: deewitrecordings WP:

7 Responses to How to Approach Labels & Artists

  1. hypnotic-kid says:

    Thanks for everything guys I really appreciate being looked out for, words of wisdom of honourable individuals mean a lot… Good music all the way

    • sierramay says:

      Thank You 🙂 Glad it could be of some help, without the community and life that Deep House brings, it would be lacking that element that makes it so special. I deeply appreciate your support!

  2. liquid says:

    Thanks for a grat post. I did something similar about getting your music on blogs a short while ago. Some of the same conclusions.

    Only having one track signed, this is great stuff to read. I haven’t sent many tracks out to labels yet, knowing how much you guys recieve and having the impression that you bascally can’t get signed on a letter/mail/soundcloud message, but need some sort of “in”.

    But reading this gives a bit more hope and a better idea of how to do it right.

    In particular, I was surprised about not sending anything that’s been on the internet. It makes sense when I read it now, but I’ve always been thinking “if they see it can be successfull on soundcloud, it might have more of an attraction”.

    So I’m wondering (asking label guys): might a combination be the right way to go? Sending a couple of tracks that work great for the labels sound and in some way mentioning how well some of your other stuff has done online?

    Thanks again for the post. I’ll be preparing my send-out shortly!


    • sierramay says:

      I would say Liquid that if you have a strong soundcloud following and get some good support on their with free download tracks, that you should give the link alongside the track. I can’t say for all labels, but I know for me that when I receive a demo I am enjoying I always like to go and see what other music the artist has produced to get a feel of what they are all about. No need to really say anything about it, as the label will be able to see for themselves 🙂 Glad you enjoyed the post so much and thank you for the support!

    • sierramay says:

      By the way, really enjoying your post and blog! Thanks for sharing 🙂

  3. Pingback: Signing Your Track & Piracy in Deep House | DeepWit Recordings

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