These questions you’ve asked are usually among the first questions young singers ask us. The answers are quite simple:
- How do I send my demo to a record label?
Answer: put it in an envelope and mail it.
- How do you know which one is reliable?
Answer: Have they ever released a record for an artist?
Okay, if it seems like we’re teasing you a little bit, we areJ. What we’d like to encourage you to do is to ask different questions.
Am I READY to be a recording artist?
How are your vocal chops? Are you as good as you can be? Have you taken voice lessons? Have you asked for feedback from professionals? How about physically? As much as we don’t like it, there’s a standard of “physical beauty” that the industry will expect from you. Do you know how the music business works? If not, research as much as you can about it. There are a lot of myths and misconceptions out there in regards to the music industry. For instance, many singers think once they’ve gotten the coveted “Record Deal” then they’ve “made it”. A little bit of research will teach you what getting a record deal really means.
HOW do I make a demo?
A lot of singers will pick a couple of songs they like to sing, buy the karaoke track, go to a recording studio and pay $40.00 an hour, booking 4 hours to record 8 songs and think that’s going to do it. Even worse, they may download free recording software and record themselves with a $30.00 Radio Shack microphone. Record companies have thousands and thousands of singers just like you bombarding them with their demos. Your demo must STAND OUT above the rest. Putting together a good demo and press package is not something to take lightly and just throw together. You may only get one opportunity to get heard by the right person and you should be ready. This is the point you’d want to find a good producer. Listen to samples of their work. Make sure you like what they do and that it sounds good. You should find a producer that “gets” you and believes in you. Many times a producer will not charge up front for their services because they believe they’ll recover their expenses “on the back end” or, in other words, after you’ve signed with a record company and are selling CD’s or downloads. Once you’ve found this producer, they can help you with the next step.
WHO do I want to be as an artist?
Do you want to be the next Miley Cyrus or Beyonce? Do you want to be the next Norah Jones or Charlotte Church? Do you want to be different than anyone else that has come along? Before you record one note you must decide WHO YOU ARE! What is your style? What kind of music do you LOVE to sing? What songs could you sing over and over, night after night and not tire emotionally or vocally? This will determine everything about your demo; what songs to sing, who to send the demo to, how “produced” your demo should be (if you’re considering yourself the next “Jewel” then you’d be okay recording your songs with just a guitar and vocal. If you’re the next “Beyonce” you’re going to have to get professional sounding tracks).
HOW do I get my demo to the record companies?
There are many different ways to get your demo to the right people. Shipping it directly to the record company is usually the least effective way, unless you have received prior permission. Your best chances to get in directly are through a manager or entertainment lawyer. These days, however, there are many ways to get in through the back or side doors. Many artists are getting a huge head start through sites such as myspace.com. Some other options to look at are:
These are great resources for learning about the music business as well. The key to success in this business is knowledge. Know who you are and what is expected of you BEFORE spending hundreds of dollars on a demo. Face the industry armed with this knowledge and prepared for what’s ahead. You’ll have a running head start if you’ll answer these questions first, before all else.
Ken and Becky Rash
Active Audio & Entertainment