Whenever you’re trying to reach out to a label, it’s always easier if you’ve already established some sort of relationship with the label’s A&Rs and staff. Here are a couple of ways that I’ve done to strengthen my relationships, as well as develop new ones:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. Go to events from your desired label and meet their staff in person. This is normally the best and most effective way to make meaningful connections with labels since in-person contacts are irreplaceable. I know, it’s hard for most of us to afford to go to events like this, but going to big social events like Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE), Miami Music Week during Ultra (MMW), or even big festivals like Group Therapy (Anjunabeats), EDC and Tomorrowland, can be great ways to meet artists and label A&Rs, which can be useful to develop a new relationship or strengthen current relationships. Recently, on Group Therapy Weekender from Anjunabeats, a lot of friends were able to get feedback and their tracks reviewed by Anjuna’s A&Rs, some even leading to signings, but all of them got to talk to the A&Rs personally. Going to the festival itself won’t help you much, but (1) going to afterparties from the labels, (2) meet & greets with the A&R team and also reaching out to friends who could introduce you to the organizers and other artists are the best way to connect with the label. Therefore, make sure to attend events from labels that you look up to that you can meet them personally, start a relationship and/or strengthen your current relationship as well.
2. Meet the people you want through forums like Discord or Social Media. As attending events can be expensive, you can also meet A&Rs and owners from labels on Discord, Facebook, Youtube, and many other social media platforms. UOAK, the owner of Sekora, hosts a feedback session every now and then on his youtube channel. In addition, Sekora has a Discord Channel where you can interact with the label and with other artists and followers of the label. The same is true for Spinnin’ Records, STMPD RCRDS, and many other huge labels in the industry. In order to connect, it’s important to be an active member of these communities and the label will start to notice your participation and often reward you for it, which can lead you to build a deeper relationship with them. A friend of mine, for example, became the admin of Spinnin’s discord, and, therefore, he has an easier path to get emails from the label and send his demos. Therefore, make sure to be active and contribute whenever participating to get the most out of it.
3. Ask friends for an introduction. If you don’t have social media, and you can’t go to events, but you have friends that have released songs on the labels you dream of signing your songs to, ask for an introduction and you could get your way in that label. For example, John Grand introduced me to Ralph from Euphonic, and after that, I submitted a track that was signed by Euphonic. With all that was done for a release, you will eventually develop a relationship with the people you’re talking to, and that all started with a friend introducing me. But where did I meet these friends? In social media, discord channels, and events that I’ve attended. See how it all ties up? Therefore, make sure to surround yourself with artist friends and to help them whenever you can, so you can be helped back when you need it. Give to receive, not the other way around.
4. Reach out to them via email with a potential song to release. If you’re starting out and you don’t know anyone in the industry, reaching the labels A&Rs is the easiest way to start connecting with them. The most useful way to start something is to send a song to them and hope they (1) like it and (2) answer you back, since that could lead you to a signing. Even if they don’t sign your track, when they answer you, ask for feedback and try to get some insights on how you can make your tracks better, but also thank them and show appreciation for their answers, which already can leave a good impression about your personality to that A&R. However, when you have a good song, it’s much easier since you’re going to build an opportunity for working together, which can lead you to an easier path to develop a relationship.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
Do you have issues connecting with labels? If so, check if any of the following could be happening to you:
1. Is the quality of your music good? If you’re trying to connect with a label, but you’re not really sending songs they like, get back to the drawing board before trying to develop a relationship. Sending music they want to sign is often the best strategy to connect with them, and I recommend waiting a bit to try to strengthen the relationship.
2. Are you being polite? I’ve seen producers swear at A&Rs or even say they have the “quality tracks the label is lacking”, but that does more harm than good as it offends their past work. Make sure to be appreciative and polite when talking to labels.
3. Are you being too much of a fanboy/girl? This can be a bit repulsive to some people, and it also makes you feel a bit desperate, which will make things a bit harder when connecting with a label. Again, show appreciation, but no need to show adoration.