View Full Version : How to approach reviewers and/or record labels?
January 29th, 2003, 11:17 AM
This is perhaps two separate, unrelated question, I'm not sure.
How does one go about pursuing reviews in publications? Is it better to contact them first before sending in a promo CD?
Also, how does the jump from unsigned, independent artist to signed artist to a label happen? I'm not talking about major label outfits, I'm talking more about the "scene" labels, like ADD and Ninthwave. I'm not asking for a how-to like I'm gonna go out and do it (I'm plainly not ready for that yet) but I'm curious as to how it tends to happen.
January 29th, 2003, 11:27 AM
People send me CDs and I listen. Half the time the stuff just is not what I think will work. The rest of the time I might like it but have limited $$ to do a release.
So it is a wierd balance, right now I have every CD I will be able to release in 2003 lined up and waiting. So even I get something new and great I would have to say, come back in 6 months.
Say, anyone have a spare 10K to release CDs with? Then start up a label! I will tell you how! :-)
January 29th, 2003, 12:31 PM
Are most of the CDs you receive unsolicited? Or do artists tend to contact you first for permission to submit? (I know many record labels operate in that fashion.)
When you reject a CD, how much feedback do you generally give to the submitter? Obviously there isn't time for a full-blown review.
January 29th, 2003, 02:56 PM
Most people email me and say, hey I have this demo can I send it etc.
People who send me mp3 links I usually don't give much attention. I have a 56 modem and it is a pain.
Usually I will try to give pointers, tell people to work on vocals (almost always a problem) or songwriting or if they are good but not my type I might suggest a label that would be a better fit.
January 29th, 2003, 03:40 PM
wow what a personal touch you give to demo submitters Dave :) that's pretty cool...
98% of our submissions are unsolicited. We usually have two or more huge mail bins overflowing with unsolicited demos and press kits from artists who show interest in our label - they all do get heard eventually. Our policy goes something like this:
"1) Please send your demo in either CD or cassette format.
2) Please include any pertinent information including your group name, track titles, names of members and any contact info.
3) It is best to limit your demo to three (3) of the best (your favorite) tracks, hopefully showing your diversity and vision.
4) Please, NO PHONE CALLS.
Please keep in mind that we are a small label with limited staff, so do not expect immediate feedback. We will contact those who we feel show some potential."
Unfortunately, with the quantity of demos we recieve, it would be impossible to critique each one with in depth feedback.
My advice, for what its worth, is this... the good news is that your demo will get heard by most labels... so keep sending them! Do your best to make sure the production value is good as it can be and it will be noticed more quickly. Also: have a decent live show. One of the first things most A&R people do if they have an interest in your band is go to see you play out live and sometimes even bring some other label reps to the shows (i.e. radio/publicity/etc.) Since you will be reaching the majority of fans old and new by playing live and sending acts on the road can be expensive and a great way to promote your album, labels like to make sure you can do it.
The not so good news is: If you take a look at the soundscan numbers, it will show you that the handful of "top artists" of this genre (synthpop/ebm/etc) break about 20K in units (which is phenomenal) for such a small scene... But since not everyone is a top act - most other acts do about less then 7k soundscanned. Since this doesn't count cds or merch you sell at live shows.. this is another reason that playing live can help pad your pocket IF you want to make money doing this and have it be your full time carreer. So set your goals appropriately. Don't set yourself up for a fall but never give up if this is your dream - be realistic and understand that breaking the big time in this genre can be a bit difficult until there is more of a presence in the industry.
Best of luck,
January 29th, 2003, 04:16 PM
So Anna... what label do you work for?
January 30th, 2003, 11:05 AM
Originally posted by intro
So Anna... what label do you work for?
i pm'd ya mark :)
my personal views and opinons stated on this message board do not necessarily refect those of the company i work for... if you really have to know who i work for privately contact me. thanks
January 30th, 2003, 12:19 PM
I've gotten both kinds - Cds sent to me out of the blue and artists emailing me beforehand about sending me a cd. Usually I prefer to have a email at least from the artist first, asking to send me a cd and telling me a bit about themselves.
I'm in the same boat with Dave as far as mp3's - I only have a 56k modem, so downloading is a pain.
January 30th, 2003, 04:29 PM
When we went a-huntin, we first grabbed contact info and emailed asking each label if they were accepting demos, or at the very least woud be willing to listen and give us some feedback.
Everyone we talked to in the synthpop scene was willing to listen to us and point us in the right direction. Todd from ADD was very helpful, as were the guys from Synthphony and Cohaagen (David ended up mastering our album). When we did her from Nilaihah it was in the form of a very enthusiastic (Kristy's like that - we like her lots) combo of phone calls and emails with ideas, help, tips, questions, etc.
Pretty much, with this sort of scene there's little to fear in submission. Nobody's going to blacklist you, and the worst they can say is "no." If you get rejected, chances are it'll be a "no, but..."
The rules Anna's label uses seem to be pretty standard and generally good. Three track demo, CD, short band bio/presskit, and patience.
January 30th, 2003, 11:21 PM
Before sending out a CD to ANY publication, find out if they care (know your audience). The music critic at the 75,000-circ paper I work for get spiles of CD's from unknown acts he doesn't have time to listen to. At year's end, CD's, books, videos, etc. are all sold off cheap (many unopened) and the proceeds given to charity. It's better than just throwing them away. I f you have limited promo funds only send to people you're reasonably sure will listen/review/play them.
February 24th, 2003, 05:12 AM
We get demos, and I listen to all of them (fortunately I don't recieve as much as 9th Wave because, like them, I've got my next year's income already spent on planned releases too!)
I don't give as much feedback, though. Mainly because it's just me. And I'd be pretty arrogant if I thought MY perspective equalled a label's perspective. Also because it's just me, and I don't have enough time to write reviews for people all day.
And, considering I give people fair warning, I'm NOWHERE near as nice to the people who email me mp3's. When they do it, they tell me that they haven't read anything on my site or releases about contact instructions. I'm also on 56k and my download queue is pretty full. We pay by the hour over here, so I don't download every link that comes in. And when people actually email the MP3 to me, it freezes up my PC and crashes it, more often than not.
So, I ask people not to on the site. And when they choose to ignore me, they blow their chances at getting signed, so it was a pretty pointless exercise anyhow!
If I got 10 mp3's emailed to me every day, I'd have to cancel my 'net connection, and close uo the whole operation, so you can understand why I don't take too kindly to people who ignore my instructions.
More to the point, though, I think there's a difference between an honest pitch (a disc and press package thoughtfully mailed to me) and SPAM (emailing a link). I won't sign anyone who won't invest in a couple of buck's postage!
Solicitations? It depends on the size of the comapny you send to. I like getting free Cd's in the mail. It doesn't stress me.
But what if I were Sony? What if I had spent the last nine months and two million bucks on the big launch for the new Michael Jackson record? (perish the thought).
And then this little CD-R pops through the mail and I play it, and it sounds EXACTLY THE SAME.
What do you do? Do you scrap the launch or risk the lawsuit?
This is why big companies want to give you clearance to send them something, forst. Unsolicited submissions will mostly be returned unopened... because they're scared of getting sued.
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