For the singer, band or musician looking to have an illustrious career in the music industry, a record deal often seems like the best way to go. While there is no absolute guarantee of getting a record deal by following any set plan, there are things that you can do to increase your chances of landing one. The following is a checklist for aspiring musicians, singers, and songwriters looking to land record deals.

The Music Demo:

The first step towards landing a record deal is often the “music demo” or “demo tape”. The music demo is a representation of who you are and what you can do, what makes you special and why the record companies need to sign you to a record deal and invest millions of dollars. The music demo is your product. When approaching record companies, management companies, music producers and talent agencies, your music demo will be the first thing that they ask for. If it’s good enough, they will consider working with you in some capacity or will at least keep their door open for future consideration. If your music demo sounds like crap, you can bet that their door will close to you and remain closed to you.

Give them what they want:

So what do record companies look for when evaluating a music demo? While the details may vary from person to person, one thing that they all have in common is that the music needs to move them emotionally. They have to “feel it”. But with hundreds of music demos coming across their desk, they don’t have the time to wait until the second chorus to see if they like it or not. About 95% or more of the music demos received by management companies, music production companies, music producers and record companies, are of such poor quality that often the music demo will be rejected within the first 10 seconds simply on that basis. It’s often the job of the assistant to weed through the piles of music demos and separate the quality ones from the poorly produced, poorly recorded ones.

You have to be heard within the right context:

If the sonic quality of your music demo or demo tape is acceptable, then the person you’re trying to impress may now be willing to listen to at least a verse and chorus. But you must sound legit.

If you’re an R&B singer, but you’re singing against a music track that’s country, your singing won’t be heard against the proper backdrop and most likely will be rejected before they reach the chorus. Another example might be a female Pop/R&B singer trying to sing against a big, loud hard rock band, or a country artist trying to sing against a dance track. While the singers might be good in each case, they will sound “wrong” to whomever might be listening. The music MUST complement the vocals. The subtleties of each style of singing must be enhanced by the appropriate musical arrangement and production. That is often the job of the music producer or record producer.

What about the song?

The song is as important as ever in today’s modern music. A song can make or break an artist, as is demonstrated every day on the radio. How many times do you hear a hit song on the radio with an average singer? Every day many top recording stars may struggle with their careers trying in vain to find another hit song. As in the case of Michael Jackson’s last record, they spent about $50 million recording and promoting the record. But there were no hit songs and sales were way off their projected numbers. They lost big money on that one.

So what makes a hit song? No one can say with absolute certainty. But here’s what music mogul Clive Davis had to say about Diane Warren, one of the most successful songwriters in history: “Diane is able to combine tremendous feel for melody with lyrics that deal with genuine emotions, and she is able to do it time after time”. With over 50 Top 10 songs to her name, I’d say that’s a reasonable formula!

Hit songs are rare. Do your best to record a quality song that you feel has hit potential. Don’t record a bad song just because you happened to write it. Many singers may have exceptional voices but their songwriting skills haven’t caught up yet. If necessary , seek out songs from an established published songwriter or music producer.


By yanam49

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