I need to write this article because I figured out that lot of producers actually don’t know how to send demo in proper manner. But actually it’s quite easy! You need to spend some time to do your homework and research, and to be smart and polite. Also you need to know few things about music industry and business as well.
BEFORE YOU SEND A DEMO
So before you send your demo you’ll need to know few things about music industry, to be precise you need to know how does label operates. Note to yourself that I’ll explain only how good labels operates, so most of these things doesn’t apply on small labels, mid range labels and all other labels that doesn’t do things correctly.
You probably already know that it’s hard to sign for a good label. This is because every label is investing a lot in artist and release so only way to make some revenue is to release good, well-established artist which will create a lot of attention on release and label. Also good labels tend to release unknown artist if their tracks are good and if they belive that they can make enough momentum to push release and make it succesfull. So this is why its very important to follow this small rules, ok let say instructions, in order to release your music on good label.
First labels needs to invest a lot of money in release – marketing/promotion, mastering, design and distribution.
Good mastering service is around 30-50$/Eur per track.
Good promotion services is around 30-50$/Eur per track.
Good cover design is 50-100$/Eur per cover.
Let’s do math:
- mastering around 100$/Eur for two tracks
- promotion around 100$/Eur for two tracks
- design around 50-100$/Eur for cover
250-300$/Eur for whole EP. This is a lot of money.
So let’s say that you sold 1000 copies (please note that 1000 copies is enormous number)
Let’s do math:
1 track = 2.49$
1000 copies x 2.49$ = 2490$
40%-50% goes to Beatport/Distribution – in this case for example let’s say 50% = 1245$, 50% goes to label = 1245$
Label is splitting 1245$ with artist 50/50, so label gets 622.5$ same as artist.
So you need to have a killer track, hit track, to sell 1000 copies, and your label will cover initial cost and earn something. Note to yourself again, 1000 sold copies in enormous enormous number, if you get lucky you will sell from 200 to 400 copies.
So this is why is hard to sign track for a good label.
THERE IS NO MONEY IN SELLING MUSIC. AT LEAST WHEN IT COMES TO TECHNO (AND OTHER GENRES OF COURSE)
HOW TO SEND DEMO
- KNOW YOUR PLACE
You need to know your place. Yesterday, you started to make music and today you want to sign for Drumcode. Be real. Find some small or mid range labels with good portfolio for starters. After awhile send your demo to bigger label.
- DO YOUR HOMEWORK/RESEARCH
You should do your homework and research when you decide to send demo to label. See what kind of music do they release. Compare your tracks with latest release. See does your sound match label sound.
Do not send house tracks to dark techno label or vice versa. Or minimal tracks to tech-house label or techno tracks to progressive house label.
- DEMO POLICY
Check their FB profile, Soundcloud profile, Beatport, website and look for demo policy. Most labels have their small rules and instructions how to send demo to them. So don’t be lazy as fuck, invest some time to check this out.
- WAV OR MP3
Do not send WAV files only MP3 files. Unless label asks for WAV files in their demo policy. MP3 files needs to be at 320kbps bit rate. No 128kbps, 192kbps or 256kbps! It’s a fucking standard respect that.
- HOW TO NAME YOUR TRACK
Name your tracks correctly “ARTIST NAME – TRACK NAME (MIX TYPE)”, sometimes labels asks for email address at the end “ARTIST NAME – TRACK NAME (MIX TYPE) – EMAIL ADDRESS”
- EMAIL OR SOUNDCLOUD
With Soundcloud sending demos has become very easy. A&R manager can easily review your demo, you can get feedback really quickly. On the other had email is bit old fashioned but still quite useful.
Dropbox = great thing!
First thing that you need to know when you are sending demo via email is that you need to treat that conversation like regular business correspondence. So email with just link to your track won’t do a job.
About Soundcloud it’s recommended to take your time and fill all additional informations (genre, bpm, include you contact details..ect)
Once again, most labels, let’s say 95% of them like when they recive demo thru Soundcloud. They can see waveform, additional informations, it’s fast and easy way to go. Some of them will ask you to use some specific file sharing services, but that’s very small amount of labels.
But when it comes to emails you need to know that private Soundcloud link in it is standard.
- HOW MANY TRACKS SHOULD I SEND
When you send just one track that usually means that you are sending your demo for compilation. Of course some labels will accept just one track and release it on EP with some remixer but most labels aren’t accepting just one track.
Why? Because A&R manager wants to have choice while he is choosing, that’s why.
So let’s say that 3-5 tracks are standard when you are sending demo to big label.
- SENDING DEMO TO MULTIPLE LABELS
This can be tricky!
From the one side this is quick way to see if somebody is interested in your demo. From the other side this can cause some problems for you.
For example, you send your demo to five labels, and three of them contact you offering you release. Naturally you will choose best label from them, but few months later other labels will see that you released that demo to some other label , so they can get angry with you and blacklist you.
Why? Labels wants exclusive material and when they realize that you are not sending them your exclusive material they will ignore your demo.
One label manager said to my friend this: “Be careful with your demo track because you never know what you have in your hands, maybe a potential hit!”
And yes don’t be retarded and share your demo on Soundcloud to 10+ people. Label can see that. It’s stupid thing to do. Trust me.
- WAITING PERIOD
Two weeks is minumum. After two weeks you can send your demo to other label.
- BE PERSISTENT
It’s good thing to be persistent and to constantly send demo to label that you like. Labels like that. But don’t spam them.
- BE POLITE
Be polite! Always!
- DON’T SPAM
Don’t be asshole and spam. It’s wrong thing to do!
- DON’T CONTACT LABEL STUFF
Contact only A&R Manger. Do not contact booking agent, label manager, project manager or label designer. Only A&R Manager.
But if you personaly know Label Manager/General Manager/Label Owner and you are good with them then its OK to personaly contact them and ask to send demo. But this is only “if you know them personaly or you are friend with them“.
Or if you know that Label Manager is also and A&R Manager of label, then it is OK to contact him.
- DON’T BITCH
Don’t act like a bitch. Please. If A&R Manager doesn’t like your demo it doesn’t means that you need to throw shit on them. Be real.