Why aren’t your songs getting signed by your favorite label?

Many of us send songs to our dream labels and never hear back from them, or just get a crippling rejection that takes our motivation away. But, sometimes, the issue is mainly on our songs and our tactics to get these songs signed, so here are a couple of things that you should do and avoid to get your songs signed to your dream labels…

4 THOUGHTS FROM ME

1. Find the right labels to send your songs to

It doesn’t matter if you send the best house music song to a label that only signs Deep House, so you have to choose the right labels before even sending, and that involves doing research. Before anything, you must check if the label you’re sending your song to signs the kind of song you want to send them and, most importantly, delivers what you’re looking for. For example:

  • How have they performed on streaming platforms and DJ supports on previous releases?
  • Do they deliver a marketing promo package that is enough for you (Reels, Covers, etc)?

These are all questions you need to know to set expectations to avoid being frustrated and minimize your odds of being rejected just because you’re not a right fit. But, how can you do this?

  1. Make sure that your song fits the vibe of the label. What I recommend you to do here is (a) make a playlist with songs that are similar to yours and that you love; (b) write down the label names, or go back to (a) until you have 5-10 labels; (c) rank them in order of most desired to least desired and now it’s time to send;
  2. Ask your friends if they feel this desired label is a right fit, or if they have any other suggestions;
  3. Check 1001tracklists and look for your desired label. Do some research on how much support from DJs and how many plays they average on Spotify to make sure that’s what you’re looking for;
  4. Ask friends who have previously released with this label what they sent as a marketing promo package before the release;

2. Stop making songs that you think your desired label wants to sign

I often recommend to producers that they shouldn’t think of a label before their finished with their song. You can, of course, have a label in mind, but don’t obsess over making your song the perfect fit for that label since, often when you do that, you’ll end up sounding generic to them. Why?

Because you’re making what they want to hear, and that could make you avoid taking risks and sound exactly like what they already have in their label, which would be turn-offs for them. Therefore, here’s what I recommend you do:

  1. Produce your song and have fun as the end goal, and not the label. This avoids frustration if you get rejected and also makes you produce the song you want, not the song they already have;
  2. Ask for feedback from other producers before sending your song to a label. Not only is this a good safety check to make sure your song is ready to be sent, but if many people say your song is too close to, for example, Ben Bohmer, then it’s likely labels can avoid signing you because you’re sounding like someone else (especially if that someone is already in the label);
  3. Don’t send more than 3 songs in one email. It would require more time to go through more than 3 songs, so A&Rs normally would put your song in a ‘listen later’ pile, and can eventually forget about it;
  4. Lastly, if you’re constantly being rejected, consider a massive change in how you produce. If what you’re making is not working out, consider switching it and making something different because insisting on what is not working is not a good practice.

3. Find the right way and time to send your songs to your desired label

Some labels prefer you to send songs to them via LabelRadar, like Cyber Vibe Records, but some other labels don’t like it as they find it impersonal and prefer email or through a form in their website, like Immersed Recordings. In the end, you need to discover their desired way of receiving demos to ‘maximize’ your chances of being heard by the A&Rs. Over the years, what I’ve heard and discovered to work is:

  1. Don’t send your songs during festival seasons (ADE, Miami Music Week, ABGT events). Not only are all the A&Rs are away, but their inbox will be massively clogged afterward. Take your time and send it at least a week after the event ends;
  2. Ask the label for their preferred way of sending demos via email. Go to their website, and send them an email asking for that, and they normally will respond in their desired way (this is how I got This Never Happened’s demo email, for example);
  3. Ask your friends (or me) for A&R emails or if they have a better way of sending demos to label XXXX as these could increase your odds of getting heard rather than just sending to a random email;
  4. Be polite and don’t just send a link. Send a “Hey, XX, how are you?”, a one-line description of your song, a STREAMING LINK (never attach), and an “I hope you like it/let me know your thoughts and thank you for listening to my demo”, and that’s it. As you can see in this post, some A&Rs are even instructed not answer to presumptuous emails or emails with just a link;
  5. If you’re sending via email, use email trackers like Polymail, Mailtrack.io, and others, to track if your email is being opened and if your link is being clicked. This way, you can at least know if the A&R is opening your email since, if not, you should look for another way.

4. Take an alternative approach toward sending your song to your favorite label

You have three ways normally of getting signed to a label, but most people only think about two of them:

  • You can send them an email with your song and hope for the best, or;
  • you can be a big artist that the label is willing to sign;

However, most people forget that there are other ways to sign your songs to labels that are often not mentioned, but could be effective to get you in your desired label:

  1. Do a collab with someone who is already in the label and that will get you higher chances of being listened to, and signed;
  2. Attend events from the label and try to meet and develop a relationship with the A&Rs without sounding like you’re trying to sell them car insurance. That can get you an easier path to sending songs to that A&R since they will know you in advance;
  3. Hire an agent that knows these label A&Rs and send your songs through your agent, as the A&Rs might listen to your agent directly, but not you;
  4. Build your own label and develop it over time to grow. You likely won’t get massive releases at first, but with effort and investment, you may be able to develop your label and your artist brand, which can attract labels to approach you to sign with them;

1 QUESTION FOR YOU

What are the biggest lies producers tell themselves when getting rejected by their dream labels?

1. I need a big following to get signed.
You don’t need a big following to get signed, but it definitely helps. But, ultimately, if the song is good and the label sees potential in you, they can sign you. Adam from Enhanced told in a recent interview that they signed Klur without any following

2. My song is/I’m just not good enough
It’s common for self-doubt to cripple you when you get rejected, but it could be just a matter of not fitting the vibe of the label. At the same time, I often have a hard time signing songs when my friends don’t unanimously love the song that I’m making,

3. This A&R doesn’t know what he’s talking about
We often can get mad at the A&R, but, instead, you should ask for feedback and move on. Develop from your mistakes and make sure to deliver a better song next time.

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Picture of Leo Lauretti

Leo Lauretti

Born and raised in São Paulo, Brazil, Leo Lauretti has been producing since 2013. With releases on SONY Music, Armada, Enhanced Music, Leo Lauretti accumulates multiple supports from artists like Above & Beyond, Ferry Corsten, Cosmic Gate, Nicky Romero, and many others all over the world.

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