Image by Steve Snodgrass

After yesterday’s post that wandered around the subject of a major record deal, these two links seemed the natural follow up.

This post from Music on the Make looks at what artists get wrong in their quest to get signed.

Despite all the talk of how getting signed is not going to do you many favors, most artists are still hoping to get signed. And why not, it can help you in many ways, if you are smart about it. However the effort they put into getting signed is often simply a waste of time. I still see this happening a lot. Here’s the typical blueprint:

  • Make a high quality demo of their 3 best songs
  • Google the address of major labels and a handful of big indie labels
  • Make a funky package in a jiffy
  • Send and wait for a response

If you’re lucky you’ll get a decline letter, but most of the time the result is a complete radio silence. All record companies receive dozens of unsolicited demos every day. The majors receive hundreds. Your hard work on that demo is going straight to the big brown box by the receptionist, who picks up the mail every day. (I’ve seen the box, it’s big!)

Instead, your time and money is much better spent on figuring out who you are, creating interesting stuff and making connections.

Read it here.

And it points to this article on Universal’s blog written by two A&R men that gives great insight into what they are looking for.

  1. Don’t worry about getting signed.
  2. Make music that you adore.
  3. Be unique and brilliant
  4. Being an interesting person with something to say is a good starting point. Work on that before you even think about writing a song.
  5. Once you do have some songs think about performing live.
  6. See point 3 again
  7. If your audience drifts away to the bar you’re doing something wrong. If they throw things at you, you might just be doing something right.
  8. Get online and make sure people that like you can find out more about you. Put up as much or as little information as you like but see point 3 and 4 again.
  9. High quality demos aren’t essential. A good song is a good song. If enough people like it someone will tell someone and you’ll get offered some free studio/producer time. Or help with video filming or releasing a single to get you to the next level.
  10. Be prepared for this all to take a while. “Overnight sensations” have usually been plugging away for years in various different guises before finding that right alchemy.
  11. Because of point 10, refer to points 1 and 2 again, that’ll keep you going and enjoying it.
  12. Send in unsolicited demos by all means – they will be listened to eventually – but taking on board and acting on the above gives you much better odds

Read that in full here.