5 Tips for Submitting Your Demos
03rd March 2023
It used to be that a bold move might get your music heard. We hear stories of people marching into a label HQ and demanding a meeting, claiming that they won’t leave until they get one. Perhaps that’s more of a movie trope and less grounded in reality but this type of tactic has been propagated somehow. But these days, something like this may just dash any hopes of working with anyone - I do not recommend it. So instead, if you’re looking to get your music heard by some label execs or A&R reps, you need to be thinking about emails. It’s a mixed bag, cold outreach is never ideal - but perhaps worth a shot. There are some pitfalls to avoid and things that you must do! So here’s how it’s done:
What I mean by this is to check to see that they even accept submissions. Lots of labels don’t like receiving demos from anyone and they will most likely outline their submission policy somewhere on their website. Ideally, they will have a submissions page where you can upload straight from the website. Going through the forums that they prefer is always better. Large files can clog up inboxes and you’ll end up just annoying people if you don’t submit music on their terms. So before you do anything, make sure you check their policy.
Blanket emails are never the way forward. More often than not, blanket emails end up in junk folders. Even if they make it through, if someone sees no personal touch, it’ll end up in the bin within minutes of sending. So do some research into the company; see if you can find out who has access to the email address you’re messaging. Don’t make it too personal though… don’t go deep into someone’s personal life and ask a stranger if their newborn has recovered from the bad cold she had last week - you’ll get a restraining order, not a contract. But showing that you’ve done some research into the label is a good idea - mentioning specific artists that they have on their roster is a good place to start.
The people who sort through submissions don’t have a load of time on their hands. And they do it all day long! They have a lot to get through and realistically, they’re unlikely to give up a bunch of time to your email. So cram as much information into your email as possible but dispense with the waffle - they’re not interested in it! To this end, select one stand-out track - maybe two at a stretch. Definitely don’t link to a whole EP or album as it perhaps shows a lack of awareness of what their job is and how much time they can
dedicate to your submission.
Show off a bit! It can be a difficult thing to do for some people and it may require you to fight against your natural instinct to be modest. But now is not the time for modesty - shout about your achievements! Let them know that you’re worth their investment and you’ll work hard to deliver results! You can show them what you’ve done on your own and where you can go from there with their support. So go for it - don’t be afraid to show off!
Okay, I’m not sure ‘convenient’ is the right word, but I like the ‘BE something’ format and this had to fit with that somehow. Include up to date links to your socials and website. These days, artists have to be able to do it all themselves before garnering the support of labels. If they’re interested in you, they’ll want to see your social channels. If the links are not convenient for them, they may just give up on you and move on to the next submission. It’s very unlikely that they’ll make the effort to go to social media platforms and check out your accounts. You’re demonstrating that you have an audience in these emails, not just with streaming numbers but out in the world too. That being said, make sure you have been active on all the platforms you’re linking to. Not doing so would be a bit of a shot in the foot.