How To Get Signed Into a Major Record Label

If you're an ambitious artist and want to be one of the most prominent artists in the industry, you're probably going to need the backing of a major label. A record label can get you added to the most extensive playlist on Spotify; they can get your songs played on mainstream radio or even get you a support slot to go on tour with one of the biggest artists in the world. In this article, I will be sharing with you what major record labels are looking for and how to get them to sign you.

First off, I want you to clear up your mindset that labels only sign artists based on the quality of their music. That's probably the first mistake you making. Sure this did happen in the 80s and 90s where a label would like the sound of an artist, and they would use their contacts and influence to get the artist's song played on the radio, they would get lots of press for all their shows, and they get all of their albums into stores. Now, all of that can be done independently. You no longer need a label to do all of those things.

Mentally, labels have had to adapt to what they offer to artists to take their careers to the next level. In other words, there has been a shift in what a label looks for in an artist in terms of potential.

Note: Getting a record deal isn't an instant spiral to success. You don't just sign on the dotted line, and then you get lots of screaming fans, money, cars, sold-out shows, and then a tour bus arrives outside to take you to your tour location. What happens is that a label will give you an advance. This is a lump of money that they give you, and you get to invest it anywhere you want, and they get exclusives of your subsequent releases (the numbers will ultimately vary on your demand and what you can negotiate). 

The label doesn't have the power to control how or where to spend your advance payment. You also don't get access to any special resources that the label has. All the money and resources you get are entirely based on how attractive you are to them and how in-demand you are.

These are tips on How To Get Signed Into a Record Label.

(1). Get Your Music Used In Places With a Large Audience:

You need to prove to your potential record labels that your music can be used in various places. Whether it's on movies, TV, YouTube channels, video games, etc., Make sure your music is in places where it could be valuable, and it doesn't matter if you don't get paid initially for these sync deals. Just make sure your music is in numerous prominent places to prove to the label that people want to use your music.

So, for example, a high income for artists, especially established ones, is people using their music in their YouTube videos, and then in return, they get a share of the ad revenue every time it is used. But for you, you just want to prove to the label that this can happen to you, so we recommend using a working outreach technique (you can Google it for more details), and go to all the YouTubers and ask if they would like to use your music for free. 

From there, you can build a portfolio of all the places where your music has been used and then show it to the labels when you get that initial meeting. Doing that will enable the label to gain confidence that you are an artist in demand.

(2). Build a Massive Fan Base:

The second thing famous labels are looking for is a ready-made fan base. You need to show that you can build a fan base, in the fact that when you go on your social media – you get constant engagement, when you have a show – people show up, and people are interested in what you're doing, such as when your next track is coming out, or when and where your next gig is. Labels need to know that you have proven that you can build a big fan base because that's where the money comes from. Record labels make money through your fan base, and so they make sure to find every possible way to invest in you.

(3). Create Captivating Contents For Your Social Media:

Labels are hot on social media content, and you need to show you can create it, and you won't build a fan base without it. Suppose people go to your Spotify, and they listen to your songs. In that case, if they like your sound and singing style, the next thing they do is to go to your about section on Spotify, link to your Instagram, and then when they see the kind of content you create and whether they want to follow it, for them to see more contents like that. But if you only have nothing but advertising your songs that they've already heard, they are not going to hit the follow button. This is why you need to be creating engaging content.

(4). Sell Out Your Shows:

Major labels only sign artists experienced in live show performances. A label only signs artists with the ability to put on a good performance; they want to see that you can pull an audience and sell out a gig because, again, that's money for them in ticket sales. When a label visits/stream your live show performance, they won't just be watching you; they'll be watching the reaction of the audience – to see if they're singing along and whether you've got the audience in the palm of your hand.  Hence, concentrate on promoting your gigs because that is a critical factor in getting signed.

(5). Have a Strong Brand:

There are so many artists out there who don't put enough into their brands. Your photos need to be on point, your logos, colour scheme, aesthetic, etc., all need to be attractive and well-crafted. A lot of the income that comes in for an artist is through sponsorships and brand collaborations, and if you don't have a brand that another company wants to be associated with your brand, you won't make any money for the label. So you need to get your brand on point, your fashion on point, and sometimes your lifestyle on point. 

Imagine a big clothing brand like Adidas or Nike wants to use you to advertise their clothing line, and they give you a load of gear to wear on stage. Do they want you to be associated with their brand? Of course, your answer needs to be yes because that is where the money is. As well as helping build your fan base and having a consistent brand across your Spotify and all your socials will always be good assets for you as an artist.

(6). Profitable Merchandise Strategy:

Because digital streaming doesn't produce much income for an artist, a significant portion of their money comes from brand collaborations and merchandise sales. So, you need to show labels that you can sell your merch and have some quirky good ideas that will generate sales. Literally, anyone can sell merch, but to get a massive amount of sales, you need to have something unique that people are willing to buy. Doing this will prove you have the creativity to create something that people will want to wear and be proud of. 

Also, don't just have your brand's logo or name across a t-shirt, but instead, use your brand that we discussed in the last tip (no. 5) to create merch that people want to be associated with. Trust me, when you do this, major labels would rush for you, as you have just shown them that you can create loyalty from your audience for them to spend a lot of money in your store and generate more income and make this would make a good investment as an artist.

(7). Upload Your Best Songs On All Music Streaming Platforms Playlists:

Uploading your songs on music streaming platforms playlists would not only generate an income for you, but it's also the first place people are going to hear your music. What's the need of signing to a major record label if you don't have any songs available for global streaming anyway?

Finally, once you've mastered all of these 7 tips of selling out your gigs, building a fan base, selling out your merch, uploading your music on streams platforms, etc., that's when you approach this next tip.

(8). Reach Out To Major Labels A&R's

A&R's (artists & repertoire) are representatives responsible for finding promising new artists for a record label or publisher to sign. You can do this by going to LinkedIn and just simply searching A&R for the job role. Following that, go through all of the companies and try to connect with them. If you can't connect, you can try guessing their email address. Platforms like 'Hunter.IO' or 'RocketReach' will find that email address for you, and you can send them your music. But remember, you only get one chance to approach this person, so be sure that you are in the best position possible, so that when you walk into that meeting, you've got everything in line, and you can show you are a good investment as a musician.

Before wrapping up this article, I will give you one bonus tip on getting your music in front of A&R's.

I want you to go to Twitter and find an A&R from a major label and then see who they are following. Pay attention that it's not their 'followers' but their 'following'. Approach all of the people they follow and ask them to share your music. The next time that A&R goes on Twitter and sees that your music has gotten a good amount of retweets from his friends, he would most likely check out your music and take you seriously. This little hack, I think, might help in your quest for a record deal.
Alade Habeeb

I am a writer with a sense of creativity to write on multiple topics. I create engaging, thrilling and entertaining contents and I always take the time to edit my work well before publishing. I follow all the latest trends and read about recent happenings in the entertainment industry to always update my readers.

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