You've got the best sound ever. You're ready for that record deal. Make sure you know what the labels are looking for first!
1. You can sell your music
The first thing that a label will want to see is that you can actually sell your music. They won't want to invest in you unless they know that they'll get a return. They want to see that you can sell music on your own without their help. I know I know. How are you supposed to sell so much volume without the funds that a record deal would provide? Why do you need a record deal if you can sell music on your own?
It really comes down a numbers and percentages game. If you can show your revenue as a percentage of your fan base or concert attendees, it will give the label a better perspective on the returns they would get from investing in you. Show them your current ROI (Return on Investment). How much do you currently make back in revenue for what you invest in marketing?
Even if you are earning a small amount of overall revenue, they want to see that the opportunity is there to make big bucks if you had a larger investment.
2. Stage presence
Your ability to perform and attract audience members is another key attribute that they look for. Live shows is the best place to create a personal connection to your fan base. Live shows the spark that builds the fire of a fan base. You need to have good stage presence and put on a killer performance. This can mean different things. Different audiences enjoy different types of performances. Put on as many live performances as you can. It's a great way to connect with and build a bigger following as well as a community of fans.
3. Online statistics
In the digital age, your online stats do count for something! Labels will take a look at your view counts, play counts, online fan bases, and especially Shazam stats. Shazam has become a huge indicator for if people are interested in your music. If more people are Shazamming your music to find out what song it is, it shows that they care enough about your song to find out who you are!
Take advantage of new platforms to get more buzz around your music online!
4. A unique sound that's commercially viable
You need to be unique and have a different sound, but still be in line with what is currently commercially viable. Labels don't want you to sound just like every other artist and pop star but also don't want you to be so different that your target audience will be very tiny! It's a balancing act.
Ideally, creating a new genre and scene is the best way, but most difficult way to become a superstar. Think Hip Hop in the 70s out of New York. Or grunge music out of Seattle (Nirvana, Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Sub Pop Records). Create a new unique sound that attracts a new, unique scene. However, the scene and fan base needs to be large enough before a label will want to sign you!
5. Attitude, work ethic, and personality
Labels will meet you with many times before offering you that sweet deal with that huge advance. They want to make sure that you are willing to put in the work and don't expect everything to be handed to you! You need to have a huge work ethic. Making it in music requires hard work no matter how talented you are! You also need to be loveable. Not just likeable. Superstars have fans that love you personally just as much as your music.
What else is important to the record labels? Let us know in the comments!