Do’s and Don’ts when sending your track to a label
Of course, you should not send your fresh MP3 still-work-in-progress to hundreds of labels in Bcc (did I need to say that?). To dramatically increase your chances of being read and heard, there are a few simple steps to follow.
Ready to send your track?
Excel, don’t be “good enough”
So, you are ready to send your track? The first question to ask yourself is inside the question: am I ‘ready’? is my track ‘good’? What is ‘good’? It is very subjective and it depends on the people who are listening to it. What is good for you may not be good for your friend, neighbour, relative, etc.
But if you aim at a specific genre (or cross-genres), you can gauge your track next to others in the same genre, and reasonably be your own judge. With the competition out there and the incredible number of tracks released every week (more than 100,000!), you should not even aim at being ‘good’, even less at ‘good enough’, but your target is ‘great’ or ‘excellent’.
You could envision your track in the Top 10 chart of your chosen genre sitting nicely between two of your favorite producers. No? Then maybe you should go back to the drawing board, or have someone – preferably not in your immediate circle – give you a professional opinion and advice on how to improve it.
Let’s consider now that your track is great in your eyes (I mean to your ears) and you want to send it out.
There are a few points to consider in order to look serious and to maximize your chances to ensure your track does not end up in the bin.
Present a 100% ready track
- Labels want to release tracks, they don’t want to spend time (and they don’t have it) to give you advice or to engineer your unfinished creation.
- Have it as MP3 320kbps (nothing lower) and WAV 44.1kHz 16-bit version.
- Ideally, it should be a mastered version (have the unmastered 24bit version ready, as the label may want to do their own mastering), or a ‘quick mastered’ one. Unmastered can be considered but your track could be considered as weak, especially when listened to in the midst of a listening session of hundreds of tracks. In any case, make clear in the file description if it is mastered or not.
- The track must be properly named and meta-tagged.
- Genre(s) and/or soundalike should be identified if possible.
Choose which labels to send it to
- Make a shortlist: it’s more likely that a label you have selected carefully responds to you than if you blast your track to hundreds of random labels.
- To make this shortlist, the most accurate way is to target the labels on which your soundalike artists have already released.
- Gather some information about this label (latest release, main artists, name of the A&R if you can find it, etc.).
Present the track the proper way
- Follow the guidelines set up by your targeted label (it’s often on their website or their SoundCloud).
- If there is no specific indication, send a private downloadable SoundCloud link.
- Unless specifically mentioned, don’t send the file as an attachment (don’t attach MP3s).
Write an email which would not be immediately discarded
- Ideally have the first name of the person you are writing to (if you can’t get it, a simple hello is much better than the horrendous to whom it may concern).
- Ideally, say something non-generic about the label you are writing to (e.g. you loved such track by such artist from the label). A sure way to catch their attention.
- Be short and to the point. Don’t describe your sound in lengthy paragraphs and don’t insert your full bio here.
- Be polite, don’t be vulgar (‘bro’, ‘wassap’ and the like go directly to the trash).
- Don’t beg, don’t lie, don’t give excuses.
- Indicate your main social media.
- If you get a negative reply, send a thank you note. It’s a good sign, at least the label has taken the time to check your music, and being polite may well be remembered for the next time you send them a track.
- If you don’t get a reply, you can follow through with a gentle reminder one or two weeks later.
- Do not harass the label. One reminder is OK, more screams despair and could get you banned.
- Do not argue (it only fuels your ego and can turn the correspondent off forever).
Ready to send my track!
How to deal with these points is plain common sense, but because we are emotionally attached to the track, we have a natural tendency to forget that common sense.
Also, what seems obvious to us rarely is to the other person, therefore clarity, professionalism, and “wearing the other person’s shoes” are prerequisites to increase the odds of being considered.