Archive for July, 2009

How to Attract the Attention of Record Label A&r

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Al Fraser asked:

Step 1: Record a collection of tracks. Properly.

Contrary to what some people may think, few people are going to notice your abilities as an artist by listening to a rough demo. Either hire some studio time, enter into an agreement with an up-and-coming producer, or buy some studio gear. Gear is not expensive nowadays, and $800 should get you up and running.

Haven’t got the money? Save up for a while. There are thousands of artists doing the same thing - why not you? An A&R person wants to listen to a polished product. Represent yourself.

Step 2: Get some decent promo photographs made.

Myspace site got a picture of you taken with a web cam? Using your phone to shoot pictures? Not good enough, sorry guys. You’re going to need some great photos of yourself, airbrushed, the works.It’s the first thing an A&R person sees, I’ve found it has a huge bearing on whether your music get listened to or not.

Sounds harsh? I think so too, but that’s the way it is, so make your photos count.You can get great results with a digital camera, and some free photo software. It need not be expensive.

Step 3: Get a proper website.

This is a big one, and possibly one of the most important things you can do. Everyone has a myspace site, but to set yourself out from the crowd, I’ve found a proper website with domain (eg: is the way to go.

Web hosting is extremely cheap nowadays, and web development software is free, so there’s no cost barriers to getting this done.Your website must display three things clearly.

1) Your music. Try to have a track start playing when the site is opened.

2) Your photos.

3) Contact information. This is make or break. Make it clear and obvious.

So why the website? Why not stick to myspace? Well, I’ve found that A&R people usually have a million things going on at once. Their offices look like a war zone for the most part. They won’t be searching the web for sites - instead, they may have received a tip-off or recommendation about you.

Your website will be looked at in passing, so you don’t want to cloud the A&R persons attention with a glaring, comment ridden myspace page. Secondly, everyone has a myspace page. My brothers cat has a myspace page..

So set yourself apart from all the other players.But keep the myspace page as well. It’s good for everyone to see you have thousands of friends and fans too..

Step 4: Play out.

Now you’ve got your package together, start playing to audiences. Anywhere you think industry types may be. And it’s not just A&R people you’re after. Promoters, managers…all these people may see you perform. If you’re good, word will get passed around quickly enough, and opportunities will present themselves. Which leads me onto..

Step 5: Attract the attention of a music attorney.

Want to know who are the most under-rated, yet important people in the music industry? The music attorney. These people know everyone…A&R execs, managers, the works. If you manage to meet one (and it’s easier than you think..) doors will open for you, especially if the attorney becomes involved with you on a professional level.

Step 6: Go to industry days and events.

Here’s a story. Whilst I was promoting an artist, there was a music event on in town: A gathering of music equipment manufacturers, open to the general public. In the small print of the flyer, a “demo session” was advertised as part of the music event, giving folks the opportunity to take their demo CD’s along for the critique of music professionals.

So I went to the demo session, armed with a CD thinking they’d be a huge demand for this, and that there was only a small chance my CD would get listened to. I was wrong. There were about 6 people there, including me. So whilst downstairs, in the main hall, thousands of up-and-coming artists were playing with the new toys from instrument companies, I was upstairs with the attention of attorneys, managers and A&R men, all to myself. Can you believe this? It’s true.

The moral of this point? Keep your eyes and ears open for every chance you get.


Hopefully, this has given you some ideas on how to get the attention of A&R folks. So what happened when the A&R guy from Sony came to my house? Well, he wasn’t impressed when he found out my artist didn’t write her own material..but that’s a tale for another day!

Self-promotion for Recording Contracts

Wednesday, July 29th, 2009
Veronica Lane asked:

Recording Contracts

Is it truly harder to get a recording contract than ever before? Maybe it is because the music biz seems more about the business side rather than the music side these days. It is true that the music and the people making it is still how they make their money, but the approach is much different when it comes to giving out recording contracts .

Remember when record companies actually opened the unsolicited demo tapes that were sent to them and listened to them in hopes to find the next big thing. Now, it is too difficult to listen to every single one of them because everyone has the ability to have a demo tape made. Music contracts seem scarce. Now, it seems too difficult or to risky to accept demos from just anyone.

Don’t worry there is still a chance for you or your band to be noticed and get heard. It just may not be done the old fashioned way. It is all about the self-promotion tactic. You have to market your band in such a way that A&R and record labels will be dying to offer recording contracts .

Self-promotion isn’t as easy as it sounds. This does require a lot of planning and organizing. One way to do this is make and sell your own CDs. If you can prove to a label that you can sell CDs on your own, then they will know a music business contract with you is not so risky.

You need to make sure your album is good quality and sell it as fast as you can. Also, take a mini tour. Network with places in your region or tri-state area so you can book gigs and be seen! Build a resume with tons of recommendations from club and bar owners. Start out at places 30 miles away then move to 100 miles then 200 and so on. Building a solid fan base is a sure fire way to get the attention of a major label and get offered recording contracts .

Keep in mind that before you make thousands of CDs, put a marketing plan in place. Make sure you have a clear cut and concise idea of just how you will sell all those bad boys.

It is all about planning and some killer self-promotions. You have to be seen, known and heard by and at as many place and by as many people as possible. The industry isn’t what it used to be. You have to work for the attention of a label and to be offered music contracts. But luckily, it isn’t impossible so get to planning!