how to get signed to a record label in the new music business

In today's radically evolving music industry, getting signed to a record label can still be a significant milestone for aspiring artists. While the digital age has opened up many new and varied avenues for independent artists, record labels continue to provide valuable resources, industry connections, as well as marketing and promotional support to recording artists.

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In this detailed guide, 'How to Get Signed to a Record Label in the New Music Business', we will explore various strategies and steps that can help to increase your chances of securing a record deal in today’s new music business landscape. From developing your own unique sound to leveraging your music on digital platforms and networking within the music industry.  

Develop Your Unique Sound and Image

Do I know who I am as an artist?  In today’s saturated music market, this is crucially important.  Knowing who you are and having a clearly defined and unique sound and image is vital for attracting the attention of an audience and of record labels. Take the time to explore different music genres, experiment with various musical elements, and craft a distinctive sound that sets you apart. Always be continually refining your songwriting skills, paying close attention to production quality, and focus on creating memorable hooks and melodies. Additionally, it’s also very important that you know who you are artistically so you must also work on developing your image and visual identity. In other words, you need a cohesive persona that aligns with your music and resonates authentically with your target audience.

Build a Strong Online Presence

In the digital era, attention is the most valuable commodity of all. Why?  Because today, it’s the one thing that can’t be bought.  To accomplish this, it’s essential that you establish a robust online presence if you’re looking to build an audience as well as get noticed by record labels.Know who your audience is before selecting an online digital platform (Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, and TikTok) to showcase your talent and engage with your audience. The reason this is so important is that they all have different audiences.  You want to regularly share compelling content, including music videos, live performances, behind-the-scenes footage, and engaging posts. Optimize your social media profiles with relevant keywords, eye-catching visuals, and consistent branding. 

Building Your Own Website

Creating a professional website to serve as a central hub for your music is absolutely essential for any artist today.  Why?  Because, it’s the one platform that YOU personally have 100% control of.  This is very important for a few reasons.  First, you want complete control when you want to contact your audience for any reason -  releasing new recordings, upcoming shows, special events you want them to know about.  In addition, having a website gives you the control of being able to contact your audience anytime you want.  In designing your website, be sure to include a place for people to give you their contact information, so you can always reach them and make sure that your website is mobile-friendly and easy to navigate.

Produce High-Quality Music 

The quality of your music will significantly impact your chances of not only attracting an audience but also of getting signed to a record label. Invest in professional recording, mixing, and mastering to ensure your music sounds as strong and competitive as anything out there today.  If you don’t have the necessary production skills, consider working with a music producer or recording studio to elevate the production value of your songs. 

Network with Industry Professionals

Networking with industry professionals is crucial for making valuable connections and increasing your chances of getting attention for your music and building awareness. This can be achieved by attending music industry events such as conferences, workshops, and local showcases to meet various music industry professionals such as record label executives, A&R representatives, music publishers, record producers, artist managers.  Additionally, seek opportunities to collaborate with as well as establish relationships with independent music promoters and influencers in your genre. Networking can lead to a lot of professional opportunities. These events allow you an opportunity to engage in genuine conversations, but also to exchange contact information and start building professional relationships. Remember, It’s important that you always follow up with those who you met at these events.

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Leverage Digital Platforms and Analytics 

Digital music platforms have revolutionized the music business, providing independent artists with unprecedented opportunities for exposure and data-driven insights into building a relationship with an audience. Utilize streaming platforms like Spotify, Apple Music, Deezer, and SoundCloud to distribute your music widely. These platforms provide a vehicle to regularly release new singles or albums to maintain momentum and consistently engage your audience. They also will provide you with a great amount of helpful information as well.  Pay close attention to streaming analytics, such as the number of plays, playlist placements, and listener demographics. Highlight your streaming success on your website, as well as your press kit to demonstrate your marketability and potential. Additionally, leverage social media analytics and engagement metrics to understand who your audience is as well as fine-tune your promotional strategies. 

Build a Strong Live Performance Reputation

Today, more than ever, live performance remains one of the most significant factors in building any successful career in music for an artist or band.  The more success you attain with your music, the greater the demand is for wanting to see you live. It’s very difficult for ANY artist today to truly build a solid career in music (of any significance) WITHOUT the element of live performance.  

You may not start off as a live performer but the more success you have connecting with an audience, the greater the demand will become to see you live.  It’s very important to remember that today, so many elements of an artist’s career financially can not be achieved without live performance (touring income, merchandise, endorsements, sponsorships, etc.)   Keep in mind, it’s important for labels to know this when they’re considering signing you. Labels often seek artists who captivate audiences and deliver memorable performances.            

If you’re not currently performing live shows, consider starting to plan for this in the very near future.  Build a reputation as a captivating live performer by booking and promoting your own shows at local venues, music festivals, and other various music showcases. Focus on honing your stage presence, interaction with an audience, etc. Also, as you do this it’s important to seek feedback from those who you respect in this arena.

Building a career in the new music business today requires a combination of talent, strategy, and adaptability. It also requires an enormous commitment of time, energy and devotion to the craft of songwriting, live performance.  It’s an enormous undertaking - with a lot of challenges make no mistake.  It truly has to be a way of life for you. So make sure that you’ve given this decision a lot of very hard thought.  As we always say “A Career in Music is not a job, it’s a way of life!”  



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