How to submit your demo to a label – Spotify for artists

Submitting your demo to a label can be the most terrifying step of your career. It’s your blood, sweat and tears, above all, and no matter how confident you are in your music, it’s impossible to predict how a label will respond – if they ever do. So, to get a glimpse of the process, we talked to Matt Linden, the founder of Minneapolis-based Fake artwork. Since launching the small standalone label in 2012, he has led the charge for nearly 100 releases বিত cassette, vinyl, and distribution in digital format – from artists such as Ryan Polly’s Los Angeles Police Department And Wild Firth.

Over the years, Linden has learned a thing or two about running a label that is fruitful and fulfilling for both her and her artists. “Like any entrepreneur in any industry, you don’t really know what you’re doing until you know it,” he said. “There are many trials and errors.” The same can be said about diving into the music industry as a new artist.

Here, Linden shares some of her biggest tips for submitting your demo to a label – and the most important do’s and don’ts.

Matt Linden picture

Matt Linden picture

Do: Research the labels you want to work with.

There are hundreds of labels – with which do you resonate? What kind of label do you want to work with? A major? An indie? A cassette-only “micro”?

“Be smart about who you’re communicating with. If you’re a folk artist, don’t communicate with labels like Warp. Find your attention,” Linden said. And that focus isn’t just about the genre. She suggests assembling a list of labels with your style, aesthetics and philosophy as your musician. Learn their history. , Roster, and overall vibe, and set your perspectives on what you think will be a good fit.

Don’t: Email each label under the sun.

This is pretty obvious on any label when you have e-mailed many of them. “I sometimes get these emails from the band, and the thing might be a‘ new record ’and then the main part of the email is just a link and there’s absolutely no information. There is no purpose and no context to the music, “Linden explained.” I just delete that email or treat it as spam, “he adds. Share what you want to do.

Do: Talk about yourself and your goals.

Although you may not have a fully formed organic, you should be able to describe who you are and what your music is. “Be open and outspoken. Maybe highlight one or two songs that you feel really strongly about, “says Linden.” Speak a theme of the record or the way you wrote it. It makes a connection directly from the bat. Being able to describe who you are and what your music is for you gives you control over your story and your art from the start, rather than being shaped by someone else – even the label of your choice.

Don’t: Talk about who you sound like.

One of Linden’s biggest pets liking himself with other bands: “You’re not doing yourself any favors by talking about the bands already on our label,” he once tweeted. “1. We already have a band that sounds … When you name the top two releases in a label bandcamp as a reference, it can come as pendering and cheap, ”he added. In other words, focus on who you are – what you sound like or what you think the label wants to hear.

Do: Stay up to date on what stage your music is at.

When you reach a label, send them a private streaming link or an MP3 (via a site like Dropbox) and make sure your tracks are properly labeled. Tell me if the music is a demo, mixed, or already mastered. “If it’s not fully mastered, just let us know,” Linden says. “Nine out of ten times, a label can understand your music enough to know if they want to follow you. It’s just a matter of communication. “

Don’t: Give up.

Remember that sometimes it’s not about you. Linden works a full-time job away from fake artwork. He mentions that many labels, especially small niches, have only one or two people behind the scenes, most of them doing other jobs – so be patient.

“We are trying our best. At the end of the day, we all love music and we try to keep that good thing in the world and try to help as many people as possible, but we can’t always go to everyone, “Linden insists.” But you will never know that you will one day Reaching out to someone is an email they open and it really resonates with them, and it can completely change the course of your career, even if you sign a small label.

– Stephanie Garr

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