How does one best put together
and present a musical package whereby a record company (in the traditional
sense), is stimulated to react and show interest, and eventually sign
an artist to a recording contract? Though this procedure is a difficult
one, there are a number of basic do's and don'ts that will make the
- I have always believed
that the key to getting a record deal should be that the artist has
a "star quality"that special something that can stand the test of
time and be the basis to a career. In recent years, the industry has
lowered those standards considerably, caring more about the short
term hits and not so much the long term career artist. I also believe
that the public craves "stars" and when they are found, the public
buys in very large numbers.
- Be that as it may, artists,
first and foremost, must believe in their music with great passion
before they can expect an A&R executive to do so. Therefore, the most
important first step is to create exciting, quality music and a classy
- As basic as it may seem,
the tape/CD that is put together for evaluation must sound good. It
is amazing how many sessions are badly recorded, have bad tape hiss,
etc. Considering the quality of equipment readily available for both
home and studio recording, there should be no excuse for these mistakes.
So don't present your music until the tape/CD has been double-checked
for sound and proper contact information.
- Some people believe that
sending flashy or elaborate packages will get their tapes listened
to before others. For example, sending along a baseball with a new
version of "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" probably won't influence
the decision making process.
- Be professional. A tightly
worded bio centering on your performance history, independent record
sales, TV appearances and airplay, is valuable. Writing about growing
up in Iowa and dreaming of becoming a star, is not.
- A good photo is important,
but not one taken in your living room or one that's too grainy to
view. These types of presentations are all too common.
- Most important is what's
on the tape. I would suggest three (maximun of four) of your strongest,
best-performed, best-recorded songs. If you've created a full-length
CD, mark these three or four tracks clearly. It's crucial to capture
the listener's attention very quickly. If this doesn't happen, it's
on to the next tape.
- In your short cover letter,
point out the strengths you have. If there is a killer guitarist in
the band, a unique structure change or a monster chorus after the
second verse, tell the listener so he can key into it.
- If you are presenting
the music in person, make sure your time is well-managed. Don't expect
long periods of small talk or hype. State the facts and take the "less
is more" approach. Go with the meat! Once you make it to first base
and there is some interest, then more information and music will be
To put this all in perspective,
picture yourself in the shoes or behind the desk of an A&R staffer who
is generally very busy and constantly being hounded by too many people.
Remember-everyone thinks he has the next hit! Ask yourself these questions:
How would I want to be approached?
What would capture my interest
There are many, many others
who have the same objectives as you do, and only a great sounding tape
coupled with a classy, professional presentation can get you noticed.
Wanna publish this article on your website? Click here to find out how.