We often mentioned what you should do when reaching out to labels, but we never mentioned what you should NEVER do. This is not only a recommendation from me, but also from many other A&Rs that I’ve talked to:
4 THOUGHTS FROM ME
1. NEVER EVER send your track to more than one record label at a time. I can’t stress this enough and the reason for that is… what if they both accept? Are you going to auction your song to whoever gives you the best deal? In my opinion, this is a bit unprofessional and also disrespectful to both labels as it shows them you don’t primarily want them. Do you like feeling like someone’s second choice? Probably not, right? Labels don’t either. Therefore, take your time when sending tracks to labels and send one at a time. Wait a week and follow up. If you really want them, follow up again the next week, and if no response has been sent, just move on to the next one, but always one at a time.
2. Never send unfinished music, even if you’re REALLY close with the label. I once shared an unfinished song with a label I had a long-term and ongoing deal with, and they really liked the idea, but it took me so long to finish that they said they had moved on from the song and didn’t want to sign it anymore. In my opinion, from the excitement they showed in the early stages of the song, they would have signed the track if I sent it only when finished, and now I question whether you should ever send something unfinished to labels, and I feel that’s a NO due to my experience. That would be even worse if I didn’t have a close relationship with the label as normally we showcase our best work to people we don’t know. Either way, I see no benefits in doing that and only downsides, and that’s why I recommend you should never send unfinished tracks to labels.
3. Never send just a link! When you send your track to someone, remember there is a person who is going to read your email, not a robot. Show interest in them and that you care about signing with them, otherwise why would they care about you? In any case, this is how I always suggest sending:
“Hey [Name], how are you? I hope you’re well!
I’d love to send you my newest track (along with [artist]) called [track name] to [label name]. You can listen to it on the link below
STREAMABLE LINK (NEVER ATTACH)
Introducing myself, I’m a [nationality] producer and I’ve been following [label name] for a while and love tracks like [track name 1], [track name 2]. Therefore, would be a pleasure to have my track on the label (show why you care about that label)
As mentioned by Greg from Sekora music here, emails like the one below are skipped, which is also reinforced by Brian Garlick, A&R of Cyber Viber Records. Brian received the email below, but passed without listening to it as “the artist showed no reason for me to show interest in his music, because he took no effort in trying to show why he was sending us his music.”
4. Don’t annoy A&Rs, or anyone in the industry or you could end up as SPAM. Let’s say you’ve emailed the song to Label X’s A&R ‘Jon Snow’, (1) don’t go to Jon’s Instagram and Facebook and send him private or public messages that you sent him a track. Not only it’s unnecessary, but it’s also a bit rude to invade someone’s private life, something which will only make Jon not want to open your track since you don’t respect his privacy. Second, if the A&R has listened to your music, but hasn’t answered you, and you’ve followed up once and had no response again, just move on. If you constantly bother a label A&R to ‘sell your music to him’ even after he showed signs that he doesn’t want to, you’re no different from any spam email/message online, and once you go to the spam box, you can say goodbye to that A&R forever. Therefore, be polite, respect the A&Rs private life, and don’t send a mass amount of messages to avoid being tagged as spam.
1 QUESTION FOR YOU
When is it OK to follow up more than once or even break any of these rules mentioned above?
1. If you’re asking a label for a vocal, sometimes you’ll need to show a preview of your work before they approve to pay for your vocals.
2. If a label A&R has answered you saying he’s busy and wasn’t yet able to listen to your song, wait two weeks and follow up again or twice. If he/she doesn’t answer then, move on.
3. If you’re already in a long conversation thread with an A&R, it’s ok sometimes to send just a link. At the same time, how much time does it take you to send you a simple “Hi, how are you doing?”
However, NEVER do an auction with labels trying to find the best deal for your song. If you’ve sent your song to two labels, and they both accepted it, say you’re sorry to the one you least want and move on, but likely you’ll never successfully sign with that label again.