1) Make it easy to play your song
When it comes to sending demos, you don’t want to make A&R download the files, as they’re less likely to download your music from a service like Dropbox or WeTransfer. Instead, use a link to the track in streamable form. Soundcloud is the most obvious and best choice, as you can include a download option. Most label managers will want to see some views and interaction on that tune too! If you have some activity then great! If not, it still makes your tune easy to access and share around.
2) Don’t just send the one track
It may be tempting to choose your best track and send it off with a bit of info attached but nowadays, it’s better to send a pack that includes a few other things. A title track is a must, but radio-edits and remixes show the A&R manager you mean business beyond that single track. Music videos or short snippets of visual content are hard-hitting and give an idea of your imagery and brand.
A proper profile on your background should be included as well, be confident and display the information you have in a bold way. It can’t hurt to not hold back, but don’t be bullish either! There are many creative ways to make a physical demo pack, but a digital one can still include a folder to your creative demo and associated materials. Go the extra mile and attach these but still have your main link to your track first!
3) Don’t write copy and paste emails!
If you do one thing to get your message rejected instantly, it’s writing copied emails that aren’t highly personalised. You need to address the person properly, state why you’re interested in their label in particular, and why you’re contacting them. Don’t jump straight in with the demo link but don’t write your life story first! It’s got be a balance between respect, interest, and pleasantness. Be friendly and normal, you may as well just be yourself, so whilst remaining professional, don’t be too clinical.
4) Be honest, kind and mind your manners
Kindness makes the world go round - often you’ll hear nothing, sometimes a ‘no’, but sometimes, you will get messages back and when you do, make sure to say thank you. Even if it doesn’t go anywhere, be kind and not resentful because you just never know. Good karma and goodwill can find its way back to you in funny ways. It pays in the future to be kind in the present, and it costs nothing.
5) Research the label and its policies
Not every label is the same. Some won’t listen to what are called ‘unsolicited demos’. These are demos that haven’t been requested, or demos that haven’t been vouched for by existing professionals in the industry. Often this is simply because there’s no proof of ownership. There’s nothing stopping you from sending it off anyway, of course, especially if there’s some evidence that the material is original and belongs solely to yourself. But don’t get your hopes up! Whilst you’re at it, check whether they accept digital or physical demos and decide which is best for you, as well as the addresses and names of the relevant people and departments.