Have you ever thought about sending your music to a record label?
You probably think that it’s really important to be heard by one of the A&R guys out there because we’ve all heard stories about producers or label scouts (A&R) walking nearby your garage or showing up in an empty gig.
I call these stories in one word – myths!
They can be true and some of them are but it’s not important.
The truth is – if you’ve been around with your music (public) for 3-5 years, there’s a 70% chance that some A&R guys have already heard your music.
If you don’t know what exactly is A&R, let’s see what Wikipedia says – Artists and repertoire (A&R) is the division of a record label that is responsible for talent scouting and overseeing the artistic development of recording artists.
Do you know how James Bay got his record deal?
A few years ago he was playing a small gig for 20 people. Most of these people were his friends. Later that night one of his friends posted a video on Youtube.
This video barely reached 10 views but one of these viewers was a guy from New York based record company…
So if your music has been already heard by at least one label scout, why don’t you have a record deal right now?
That’s because your music just doesn’t fit some rules (I know, it’s a no-brainer), so…
Get A&R Attention – What A&R guys from Record companies are looking for?
Today A&R people focus less on developing artists, and often look for artists that have already “developed” themselves!
Also, labels demand that artists already have a “momentum” going.
You have to be prepared – you have to be big before you sign your first record deal.
Remember, if an A&R person will see you in that movement, you’ll be interesting for them!
Yeah, why not?
When you’re ready, you can find some of them on the Internet and make a call.
Just ask them to visit your show and cross your fingers! You can send them over your demo tracks but a live visit (your gigs) is way better. There they can check your performance skills, your fans, your music etc.
Build a Fan Base
One of the most important factors that A&Rs are looking for is your fan base.
How many fans do you have? How are they acting in your gigs? Do they buy your CDs, t-shirts, vinyl etc.? What’s going on in your social media accounts? How many followers do you have?
A&Rs are searching if there’s any traction about you in social media.
There are two places where you have to put your attention – live gigs and social media.
If your shows will be empty, it looks like nobody likes what you’re doing. The same goes for the social media.
If you have only 300 followers, A&Rs will think that you suck!
Make sure you’re on the top of your marketing game! Also make sure you don’t play in empty clubs.
Collect your fans online and ask them to visit your gigs and vice verse.
Also, you can reach a new audience in festivals and convert them into your fans.
If there’s a demand from your fans, if there’s hype, if there’s a movement and traction – A&R will be interested in you.
If you don’t have any fans yet and you’re just starting out, make sure your music is outstanding.
All A&Rs are looking for the next big hit!
Songwriting is one of the most important skills that labels are looking for.
So if you have a really good music it’s a matter of time when A&R will contact you.
Richard Russell, CEO of XL Recordings who has signed Adele once said: “To me, signing is instinctive. The more I think, the worse it gets. I’m not signing people for who they are, but for their potential.”
It means that you have to be good at some point. You can be talented or you can be good looking – that doesn’t matter, but if you have a potential – you have a future!
As you can see, in almost all situations you don’t have to make a move, A&Rs will find you by themselves.
Their job is to find new talents.
From the one point, nowadays artists are able to make and market their own music via the Internet. That means the Internet has taken away the middleman (A&R), allowing artists to get their music out there without the promotional power of a record company.
But it’s pretty difficult to compete with millions of other artists and songs. A&R acts as a filter and good A&Rs can push you further.
So, good luck in your journey!