How to Get Signed

How to Get Signed

Getting spotted or more specifically signed has never been easier for music artists, bands and singers. The good news is that the music industry is in a state of flux at the moment which leaves the doors wide open for anyone wanting to carve a career in music entertainment.

1.    Ask yourself questions
So if it’s so easy where do you start, right? Firstly let’s start by looking at the basics, ask yourself some simple questions to get yourself started:

a.    What makes ME different from everyone else that can hum a tune or strum a chord?
b.    What’s MY/BAND/STAGE name?
c.    What’s MY identity?
d.    Where do I want to be in 2 years time?

These may seem simple questions but they are fundamental to the success of your new career and landing a record deal. A bit of thought now can make getting signed so much easier in the long run.

2.    Create a following
Gone are the days of performing at the right gig on the right night in the hope that an A&R rep would spot you. The most important element of any music artist/band is their following, fans, groupies – It’s these lovely people that make music what it is today, without them there would be no music business!

Creating a following is easy, it starts with family and friends then their friend etc. So, if it’s so easy how come everyone isn’t at number 1? Well, humans are inherently lazy beings, they expect everything to come to them and most music artists believe that if they’re good enough “The music business will find me”. . . rubbish. The fact is, if you’re serious about finding a label then you need to help yourself. Unfortunately nothing comes for free in this life and the music industry is no different – it takes time, effort and practice to really become something unique.

3.    Market yourself
As with all marketing, music artists need to use everything they have available to promote themselves both locally and nationally. The internet has really helped with this and we’ve already seen success stories from Lilly Allen and The Arctic Monkeys getting their band signed through MySpace, so make sure you’re making the most of your online presence.

Simply updating your Facebook profile isn’t enough as you need to use websites like OOiZiT to really push you forwards. If you’re not signed up to www.ooizit.com yet, sign up! But don’t just sign up and leave it there. Sign up, create a biog, and add your tracks, images and videos because this is what makes you stand out. By creating full profiles it helps the users of the site (who can quite easily be from record companies) get an insight into what you’re about. Think of your OOiZiT profile as your shop window – if you don’t have anything on your profile page promoting your music how on earth do you expect people to engage with you and ultimately get signed?
Promote your unique URLs (e.g. www.ooizit.com/tom) in as many places as you can. Make sure people know where they can find out more details or listen to more music if they want to.

4.    Play gigs
It’s important to get in front of your following at live events, this way they feel they’re getting something for their support as well as making them feel part of something new. As mentioned above make sure you treat your fans with the love they deserve, take time out to get to know them on a personal level, play as many venues as possible and widen your fan base. Your gigs can be anywhere – Start busking, find your local open mike night, play your local pubs and clubs and push yourself as much as possible.

Open mike nights really work! James Morrison used to play at a local open mike night in Derby religiously before being propelled to international stardom. Use these gigs to push your online profiles too, this helps keep up-to-date on your next performances plus they can find out more about you too.

5.    Make a demo
Once you’ve written and practiced your “killer track” it’s time to make your demo CD. If you haven’t been using a practice studio already research your local recording studios, you can normally find recording studios for around £35 per hour to get your first track professionally mastered and ready for CD, it will make your band appear more professional and help you get signed once the labels are interested.

Alternatively if money is short but spirits are high (which is generally the category that most musicians fall into at first), recording your demo CD can be done in your own garage. Take time to get the garage as acoustically sound as possible and you will be surprised at the sound quality you’re able to generate at a relatively low cost.

Recording your demo CD is your first step to becoming a professional music artist so it’s worth doing it right. Making your demo CD doesn’t have to cost the earth either for example you can get your track burnt to CD, printed with a bespoke cover design for around £175 - £200.

6.    Distribute your tracks/demos
The more people that have your demo in front of them the better and the greater change that you will get signed. There are a lot of resources out there to find record label contact details for free so use them. OOiZiT.com has numerous record labels registered on the site so start talking to them and get their feedback. Find out exactly who deals with new music or A&R at the label and send your demo directly to them.

Do anything you can to make your demo stand out, try using different coloured envelopes, sending the demo by recorded delivery (to force the demo to be delivery to the correct person), put other promo goodies in your demo too – The more things you can supply the harder it is to ignore.

Once you’ve sent your demos out to record companies it’s vital that you follow up with calls. Don’t just expect the record deals to come flooding in! Find out exactly who received the demo and keep calling them until you get some feedback, it might take a few attempts to get your tracks noticed but don’t give up.

7.    Persevere!
As hard as it is to imagine, not everyone will like your music so don’t be disheartened if you get negative feedback. Bare in mind that the record labels get thousands of demo CDs sent each year so they won’t hold back in giving you honest feedback – Even if it’s feedback you don’t want to hear!

Listen to all feedback that you receive, try and take is as constructive criticism and build on what you have. For some music artists it can take years, even decades to get the recognition they deserve so keep going. Invariably there will be high points and low points throughout your music career, that’s what makes it the music business.

Whatever you do, whoever you perform for and whatever the feedback make sure you have fun and enjoy your music!