Every up and coming rapper or recording artist is looking for their big break, so when an executive comes to you and puts his faith in your talent in the form of a record label contract, there is no greater feeling in the world. But the big question is… how do you make this happen? When trying for a record label contract, it is important to remember that there is no miracle recipe for guaranteed success. A great deal of it has to do with you approach as a person and how you represent yourself to the world. You have to take a bold, proactive approach when it comes to getting signed! Here are 8 components that YOU MUST HAVE as an artist in order to significantly improve your chances of getting that deal.
1. Always Look Your Best
Confidence, confidence, confidence… This may end up being the final step of a long process for you, but it can often make or break an entire opportunity. When you finally get that call from a record label for an up close and personal interview, you want to make sure that as you sit down in front of the executives, you are looking and feeling your absolute best. When I say that, I don’t mean that everybody has to walk in there looking like body builders. What is important is that you do whatever you have to do to feel absolutely confident in the image you are presenting. So… make sure to get swagged up, put on your best clothes and feel confident about who you are because if you aren’t confident in yourself, how can they be?
2. Know What Kind of Artist You Are
In order for a label to sign you, you will have to show them what you bring to the table. In order to do this, you must have a clear definition of what type of an artist you are. This doesn’t mean you have to limit yourself to anything generic or any one thing at all for that matter, it just means you have to know what value you represent to them and how they won’t be able to find it in anyone better. Know and understand what you do best and confidently represent that to the fullest.
3. Perform At Live Shows
As an artist, it is important to have “Home Field Advantage” so to speak. You want to make sure that you have the confidence and support of all the people who know you best because if you can’t be liked by the people who relate to you the most, how can a record label truly believe the world will like you? In this day and age, with Twitter and Facebook serving as our primary vehicles for spreading and receiving information, people are quick to demand concrete evidence that legitimizes a statement. So when you start spreading the word about your music, you absolutely must perform live, on any venue, so that people can see exactly what you bring… and prove that all the hype is real.
4. Use YouTube!
Never underestimate the power of YouTube. Although it can directly make you fast money from having ads on your videos, it mostly provides a massive forum for you to share your music and spread the word about yourself as an artist. Using videos is the best way for you to build your image and brand online! Don’t forget, Soulja Boy Tell ‘Em was discovered on YouTube after posting one of his songs–”Crank That“– ultimately earning him a record deal and a Grammy nomination. But once again, and I can’t stress this enough, it is all about putting out something you can feel confident about. One great video goes much farther than ten average ones. Make sure it’s quality work and once its up, tell your friends to spread the word so you can watch that video go viral.
5. Use Social Media (Facebook, Twitter, Your Own Website)
Social Media sites such as Facebook and Twitter are also an essential step in getting signed by a record label. Yes, they are similar to YouTube, but they serve distinct purposes. YouTube is used for complete exposure to a wide audience; Twitter and Facebook allow that audience to get to know you on a more personal level. Gather a following and share things that excite and interest you. Once your popularity grows large enough, record labels will have to at least turn their heads and give you a look. Also, creating your own website can serve a similar purpose and provide a platform for promotion. Check out Mike’s post “Exactly How To Setup Your Own Domain Name & Website.” This is a very useful post and will help you set everything up in an easy and efficient way.
6. Create A Press Kit
Press Kit’s are incredibly resourceful when attempting to get signed by a record label. They are essentially the music industry version of a business resume. Elliot Waite wrote a great blog post for Jee Juh a while back called “How to make a Demo CD and Press Kit for a Hip Hop Artist.” Visit this post and read up well because there is some great information about what you will need in order to create a high quality Press Kit. I’ll let his post do most of the talking, but remember: it is an indirect representation of yourself, so make sure you take a passionate and creative approach to it so that the final product is something you can feel confident in at the end of the day.
7. Build Credentials
The A&R reps probably receive thousands and thousands of Press Kits a year so it is important that yours stands out somehow. One way to grab their attention is to show them that you have some impressive credentials to your name. Achieve these by entering rap battles and song contests like the ones right here at Jee Juh! Not only do you win a couple thousand bucks, but you gain the respect of being the best of thousands and thousands of participants.
8. Contact A&R Reps
A&R Rep stands for “Artist and Repertoire Representative.” They essentially serve as the middle man between you and the record label that they are representing. They search for new talent, hand them over to the record label, and eventually manage and promote the artist if they do end up signing. It is crucial that you contact these people and grab their attention with your Press Kit, mixtape, YouTube videos, website etc. That is why you must be confident in yourself and everything you have done up until then because they have to believe in you too. Contact and impress the A&R reps and you will have won half the battle.
Practice these 8 things and see what kind of results you find. Remember, the road to success is never easy, but those that are willing to work the hardest will persevere in the end…
Leave a comment below if you have any questions, suggestions, or anything else!