Here are the top five things record labels look for in an artist before giving them a deal.
Good branding and marketing are key in today’s music world. You have to be established first for a label to even consider looking at you. Branding really validates to a label that you are more than just music, that you are a brand people will want to invest in. Your clothes, the way you act, and even what you stand for all go into this category. It is important to be someone that is modern and someone that people can relate to.
In addition to branding, marketing is a big deal to labels. Have an amazing online presence that can’t be second-guessed is vital. In order to have this, be on every social platform, engage with your followers, and post consistently. Having a viral video or a few viral posts or tweets really impresses labels and prove to them that you’ve got this down.
With the advancement of digital streaming platforms, labels like to see how many plays, downloads, and followers you have. If your music doesn’t have the plays, they aren’t going to take a risk on you because streaming is what they’ll be relying on most for a profit.
How many shows you are playing, where you are playing them, and how many people are coming out to your shows all matter to a label. This is where you prove to a label that you’ve got the work ethic it takes to make this a career and that the shows you are playing are good enough for you to make money. Having a band manager or agent is almost a must to get you into the best venues.
Having great recordings and production quality is an important thing that a label looks at. It proves that the artist cares about their product and that the artist is just as meticulous as them when it comes to the quality of their music. This means that you have to put a good chunk of money aside to get the best mastering possible and not jeopardize saving money by taking handouts.
You could have all of these things and have the greatest sound in the world, but if you have a bad attitude, you’re better off relying on scratch offs for that big break. For real though, labels want to make sure they have the best candidate that fits their company and mission and if the artist they are looking to sign does not fit in with them, business won’t be smooth.
When you think you have it all and are ready for a label deal, make sure you keep these tips in mind. Hopefully now you have the answer to “What do record labels look for?” If you do, labels will most likely already be looking at you to take you to the next level.