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Record deal

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Ben Jammin', Feb 9, 2004.

  1. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    How does a band go about getting a record deal?

    I don't want any crap like "it's unrealistic" or "just wait for them to come to you", does anyone (preferably with some experience) have any constructive advice on how to make yourself known in the business.
    My funk/rock band "triple helix" has almost completed an album worth of tracks (that we actually consider, without blowing my own trumpet, pretty damn good) and have had many successful gigs etc.
    I appreciate the fact that you can't just march into EMI expecting a 5 record trillion dollar monolith but is there any way of sending an album to a music label in expectation of some sort of reply?
  2. RicPlaya


    Apr 22, 2003
    The Mitten
    I heard a story of a band that made a demo, then sent that demo to a ton of record companies only they sent the demo in to the same companys just with different names for the band. So they got a deal and the record company that gave then a deal also got several of the same demo cd's just under a different band name and they never opened it because they didn't like the name. Cool story huh. This is a story I read about the band Monster Magnet off the net somewhere. If it's true or not I'm not sure. But it goes to show how silly these record companies can be. This is what I heard they did. I knw Puddle of Mudd the lead singer made a fake backstage pass , got inot a concert backstage and slipped Fred Durst a demo and that's how they got going.
  3. Casey C.

    Casey C.

    Sep 16, 2000
    Butler, PA, USA
    It's a matter of getting the right person to hear the right song. I would try sending demos. Mail with them a band bio, pics, and other info. If you have a dvd burner you could mail them a performance too.
  4. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    My experience is primarily with major US labels, but I have a few thoughts. First, what do you mean by a “record deal” and why do you want one? Are you looking for, and, more importantly, does your music need, the muscle of a major label or is an independent label better suited for your music? Why not self release and maintain control? Do you understand the financial, artistic, and long term consequences of signing most record deals? There’s lots of free info out there regarding the pluses and minuses.

    You mention your band has “had many successful gigs.” In my experience, this can be really helpful to getting signed. Most labels have “ears” on the street. If your band is consistently drawing large numbers of people to its live shows, then my bet is some record company knows, or will know, about it. Conversely, many reps at the labels believe (rightly or wrongly) that if you can’t draw a crowd playing locally, then it isn’t going to change globally.

    Managers, lawyers, etc. with label connections are one way to get your music heard by people at the record companies. Have you tried submitting your music to any of these people? While some people use a shotgun approach (i.e., spraying your music everywhere hoping to hit something), I think it’s important to get to people who are going to believe in you. The business is intensely competitive and you need someone in your corner that will rip the doors off their hinges and refused to be told no. I would suggest you look at the liner notes of the albums from bands with music similar to yours and see who the A&R person at the record label is, who the band’s mgr is, who their lawyer is. Figure out a way to get to those people because they are probably connected to people who are likely to be in a position to help your band’s career. Although it’s not a perfect analogy, you wouldn’t go to a gynecologist to have your brain operated on. Similarly, manager, label reps, etc. tend to develop expertise, connections, etc. in one area (e.g., R&B artists, rock bands, pop divas, etc.). Try to find people who know and love what you do.

    Opps! Just noticed the time. Gotta go.
  5. Ben Jammin'

    Ben Jammin' Guest

    Jul 13, 2003
    Falmouth, Cornwall, UK
    cheers for the advice. Im gonna need to do some serious scouting
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    About 10 years ago all the major labels stopped taking unsolicited demos from bands and required you to have a lawyer or manager to shop your demo. Start talking to music lawyers and managers and see if you can find one that will get behind your band.

    Indie labels of course still take unsolicited demos.

    Major labels do still have scouts so high profile gigging and press buzz is still important. Some friends who just released their second major label CD got signed because they played a gig down the street from the record company's headquarters. Some employees dropped in for a drink, liked the band and dragged one of the senior VPs down to check them out. You never know so treat every gig as important!!!
  7. I know you said you don't really want to hear this but you have to start small. Go to shows where bigger bands that play the same type of music as you are playing in your area and talk to them after their set and give them your cd to listen to. Leave your contact number and address and such and keep in contact with those bands. They might want to take you on tour with them as an opener for their next tour. Now i'm not talking about hooking up with Britney Spears but for example my friends band has gone on smaller tours with Lucky Boys Confusion, Something Corporate and others. Until then start touring as yourself. Find some other small bands in your area and do smaller tours at coffee houses or bars throughout your area and don't be afraid to travel. Record Labels want bands that also can play live so if that's where they see you playing live and having a good time and think you sound good live you have a better possibility than just submitting a CD. Also you should deal with smaller subdivisions of record labels. Don't go straight to universal because they won't even listen to your cd. They have smaller branches that deal with small new bands and if you do well with that record deal then you might be signed by the bigger one. Hope this helps. Just telling you what my old band and my friends band has done and both are now signed with a smaller division of Universal Records
  8. Well, my band recorded a 7 song demo over the summer which we called, Summer Nights. We sent it out to a ton of different labels, big and small. And now there is a label in Arizona that is playing around with some mixing on a few of our songs and are going to play test them at a few radio stations down in the states, and if things work well they want to fly us down there and do a show :) .

    But for a demo, you should remember some rules such as, usually 4 songs is enough to get an idea for your sound and styles. If you send a label a full hour long cd, they will not listen to it all. Make sure your best song is your first, second best second, and so on. Just remember not to quit!

    Heh, unfortunately our guitarist/piano player just got jaw surgery, so we hafta take a month hyetus.
  9. I found a bunch of info at this site ! http://www.getsigned.com/ Like it or not the music business is just that . A business . If your band has a good buzz and is making some money . The labels will smell the blood in the water (so to speak)and come to get a bite ! Keep in mind this is only what I think . There s no way I can prove any of it ! :)
  10. razorbakc


    Feb 3, 2002
    Here is what we are doing.....

    We're jsut finishing up our press kit to send to about 15 labels. We've got our cd, a little biography-type thing, a list of all the major bands we have played with, proffesionally done photos, and live video.

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