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Sending demos

Technology has bought recording studios into our PC’s, tablets and even in the palm of our hands, something that was never possible in the past. Youtube has become our tutor and nurtured a large increase of high quality producers in the past decade. But one thing that hasn’t changed is the way people promote their music. It’s important to be signed to a well-established label, because they have the right infrastructure to get your music promoted to all the correct channels. There are some super talented producers out there with high quality music, but it all falls apart at the final process…sending your demo.

We all moan the digital shops are full of crap when searching for music, I promise you there’s way more that arrives on a daily basis sent as demos to record labels. Around 100 per day to be exact. Being a daily recipient of these bucket load of demos, let me give you an incite so that you can see what its like from the other side of the fence and I’ll give some advice so that you get it right in the future.

Probably the biggest grudge is someone sending out a mass email to a bunch of labels via a database they have collected. You’ve made the track, so should be smart enough to know what label suits your sound. The amount of tracks we all get sent that are miles off the genre we work with are huge, it just wastes our precious time. Most will get deleted or put in a ‘to listen’ folder that eventually gets too full and cleared.

I’m not kidding saying we’ll get around 50 demos per day like this, we’re only humans and ears get tired listening all day, so we’ll listen to the ones that are more personal and targeted towards the label. So there’s my advice; send a personal email to that specific label that suits your sound letting them know you are a fan and understand what the label is about musically. Even mention some of your favourite producers and tracks from the label. This way a connection is done, the label will then see you understand and you’ll go to the front of the listening queue.

You already can see we get a very large number of promos per day and also find it impossible to read large essays of text, so we don’t. We let the music do the talking. So keep the text in the email to a minimum, short sharp and to the point but remember keep it personal to the specific label. Don’t expect to get a reply instantly or even an acknowledgment if they do or don’t like it. Record labels are very busy, having to write another 100 + reply emails per day stretch things too far. If they like your track, you’ll get a reply. At JOOF if a track isn’t quite right, we reach out to artists to help them correct things and make it right for the label. I’m sure others do this too.

Sending your track the correct way is very important. Never send an attachment. Most of us have spam filters or firewalls preventing large files. Also many label bosses travel, if they are roaming abroad you’re cluttering up their incoming mailbox and costing them money downloading. So most will see the size of the header and delete. There’s plenty of ways to send files; Dropbox, Sendspace and Gobbler are just a few. Upload the track to their server and send the link to the label. Free versions of Sendspace can be a problematic to the recipient due to their download cap of 100meg per day (that’s maybe 8 tracks), after that we have to wait until the next day to start downloading again. I’d recommend paying the small fee and get pro version to ensure the label will download it.

Soundcloud is another great option, but only send out a private link. A record label prides itself finding new unreleased fresh music, if you send a public link that’s been played and downloaded 1000 times isn’t attractive to a label. It’s already out in the public domain.

Also don’t send out demos via Soundcloud, many labels set up their Soundcloud accounts via a company accountant (who has to pay for the subscription) so mail will end up going to him or in his spam. It’s not a reliable way. Go to the record labels main website and look for the contact section, or many offer the option of uploading via their website.

I can’t emphasize how important it is to fully name your track in the actual file. It’s amazing how many people simply call it ‘Track 1’ ‘Track 2’ or they’ll just put the song title and not the artist. Many foreigners use western stage names, the email header name can’t be found in the ‘Download’ folder. We have 80 Track 1’s 50 track 2’s and loads of track titles that all become a massive headache and puzzle trying to piece together. So name those files and add your real name to the end of the file too, so it all makes sense.

I hope all this makes sense and gives a helping hand to those talented producers who need that extra help to get their music into the right places. I also hope it helps you understand things from our side of the fence and the massive amount of music labels have to go through.

Let me hear your stories good and bad so others can learn….


26 June 2013 Blog