How to get a record deal | MN2S

Trying to make it in the industry? Check out our four top tips for landing that record deal.

The music industry has evolved tremendously in the last decade, and it is nearly unrecognisable to those who have worked in it for a long time. In truth, the industry has evolved more in the last 10 years than possibly at any other time in history, yet not everything has changed dramatically. While it’s been shown that getting a major label record deal isn’t the only way to superstardom and real success (just look at Chance the Rapper), many musicians still want to work with large labels since they have the money and contacts to make practically anyone a household name. Or, even if it doesn’t happen very often, it’s still extremely difficult to accomplish so without a large label’s support. So, in today’s new music industry, how can an independent musician acquire a record contract (if that’s what they want)? Here’s how you take advantage of the music industry’s changes to land a record deal.

1. Become a social media star

Although social media superstars are a relatively new phenomenon, some have already capitalised on their online fame to become well-known artists. While few social media stars have achieved big success, it’s just a matter of time before someone with hundreds of thousands of followers on Twitter or Instagram demonstrates that this sort of success is achievable. Maggie Lindemann was a social superstar before her music became well-known, but once she had a large fan base, a label signed her, and her track “Pretty Girl” reached the top 10 in the United Kingdom and other European countries. Jack & Jack’s debut EP debuted at No. 12 on the Billboard 200 thanks to their viral fame on Vine.

It isn’t easy to get popular on the internet, but it is a tactic you can try… Plus, even if you don’t get millions of followers, you’ve put in a lot of effort that will eventually pay off. Labels will look at your social media platforms to see how many followers you have and how engaged they are when considering you as a prospective signing. Those in charge at significant corporations may not choose to give you a deal simply on the basis of your following, but having a large following won’t hurt your prospects.

2. Make a viral video

The appropriate music video can make all the difference in today’s all-viral, stream-driven environment. A great visual can be the big break any band or artist needs, and it can take a popular song and turn it into a smash hit for those who are already successful. For those who have yet to build a reputation for themselves, a stunning visual may be the big break any band or artist needs. When rockers OK Go premiered their video for “Here It Goes Again” over a decade ago, things changed radically for both them and the industry. The video, which shows the four members of the band performing rather easy choreography on treadmills, went viral, garnering millions of views and a tremendous amount of media attention.

With eye-catching, humorous, heartbreaking (or shattering), or simply must-see music videos, major musicians like Drake and Childish Gambino have garnered No. 1 songs this year alone, while dozens of newer talents have shot to success they might not have attained on their own. With smaller resources, it’s more difficult to come up with anything that fits into these categories and has the potential to sweep the world and become a phenomenon, but it’s not impossible. If you can create a video that gets people talking, you have a high chance of catching a record label’s notice and possibly landing a deal.

3. Get streaming

These days, streaming reigns supreme, and labels are paying close attention to what does well on services such as Spotify and Apple Music. People at the biggest companies in the space spend a lot of time pitching playlist makers and jockeying for a better position for their artists on genre pages and even the home page that everyone sees when they open these streaming platforms, but that doesn’t mean there isn’t room for newer acts to break through. Work to ensure that your new single is featured on one, or many, of the most popular options for discovering new music, either on your own or via a firm that specializes in placing music into playlists.

4. Become a critical darling

Critical acclaim used to be one of the primary motivations for record companies to break new artists, and the appropriate review of an album might persuade many people to run out and buy a record by an artist they had never heard of. Those days aren’t necessarily over, but the media no longer wields the power it once did. People still write about fresh talent, and many people enjoy reviewing music, but with streaming taking over, it’s easier for people to listen to whatever they’ve heard or read about without having to commit to buying it, making reviews less effective and perhaps even unnecessary.

If significant, well-respected newspapers are clamouring for a new release, and the person behind it doesn’t already have a deal in place, it’s time to put one in place. Many of those in the highest positions at record labels understand this and continue to scan magazines and blogs to get a sense of who is coming up in the world. Critics don’t always speak for the masses, but if everyone gets into an act, it’s certainly worth looking into, and many of those in the highest positions at record labels know this and continue to scan magazines and blogs to get a sense of who is coming up in the world.

For more information about how our label services and digital distribution team can help manage and grow your label, get in touch.

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