Social media is a great tool for aspiring musicians to take their music to their fans. But what about the next step where you actually land that record deal? As it turns out, it is also serves that purpose well. Read on to learn how to get signed to a record label using social media.
How social media can help you get a record deal
Social media can be a useful tool in your efforts to reach out to a record label:
- It helps build your fan base: A strong initial fan base is one of the things that record labels look for in budding artists. Social media can help you quickly build an impressive fan base.
- Record producers are also on social media: Social media has surpassed traditional media as a means of promotions for musicians. Record companies know this well and have since put more importance on the medium for finding their next star.
- It can be used after you’ve signed a deal: Even after you’ve managed to snag a major contract, social media can be used to continue engaging with your fans, even after decades of musical achievements.
— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) June 27, 2017
While there are even more reasons that can be mentioned here, these three should be enough to convince you to set up your social media accounts and use them to reach out to record labels.
Building your presence on SoundCloud
When using social media to get signed to a record label, the first platform to build on is SoundCloud. This site is dedicated to audio sharing, giving you a focused audience to engage with. Attracting the attention of music producers isn’t just about making good music. You also need to present yourself professionally. SoundCloud can help you easily build a discography that looks like it was designed by professionals.
When building your music library your goal should be to make it easy for both fans and record producers to find what they are looking for. Your tracks, albums, and playlists should have clear titles and descriptions. Charlie Puth does this for each new track he posts on the site:
Use the format “Artist name — Track title (Featured Artist or Remixer)” to better present your titles.
Breaking down your tracks into separate playlists also helps in making them much easier to locate. As is the case with your track titles, your playlists should also be properly named. Don’t forget to mark them as either albums, EPs, remixes, or singles to better classify them.
Properly tagging your tracks and playlists is also essential to make them more discoverable. Focus on the genres that your music best fits in. You can also tag sub-genres that could be used to better label your music to increase search-ability. Adding mood tags helps make your music more visible to listeners looking for songs that cover those emotions.
Spreading your music and engaging listeners
To increase the reach of your tracks, you have to make the most of the various promotional tools that SoundCloud has to offer. One such tool is the Stations feature. As the name implies, Stations lets users compile the tracks they like. Related tracks are then suggested based on the tracks listed on the particular station, just like this one from rock band Metallica:
Encourage your fans to include your songs in their own stations to draw attention to your music. If they don’t believe that your music is popular enough, use our SoundCloud Plays Service to enhance the prominence of your tracks and convince your fans that they are must-add items.
To strengthen your SoundCloud fan base’s support, you also need to directly engage them. Aside from the usual means of connecting with your fans, make use of methods like waveform commenting that is unique to SoundCloud. By commenting on the track’s waveform, you can direct the discussions that occur between you and your fans to focus on your music.
Using YouTube to showcase your brand
Getting a record deal isn’t just about how you sound. Labels also want to see how your work is visually presented, something called ‘branding.’. YouTube offers that multimedia component, allowing you to distinguish yourself from the other acts out there.
Music videos are the most common form of content that you will upload to you YouTube. They are how you will most often showcase your brand. Don’t stop there, come up with other unique content to make your channel and branding more interesting. Behind-the-scenes videos will also give your channel a personal touch and help endear you to your fans.
Incorporating your brand into the overall look of the channel also increases recall. Create a unique logo for your act and use it as the banner image. You can also create an iconic image of your act for the same purpose. Lindsey Stirling regularly uses her channel’s cover image to promote her latest releases:
As an important reminder, don’t forget to have your channel verified. That little check mark beside your channel’s name tells everyone that you are an established creator. This helps foster more label interest. Verification also protects your channel’s contents from potential copyright infringements.
Making yourself more visible on YouTube
You need to make your videos discoverable. Optimize them with keywords and tags that best describe them. Organize everything into playlists to make it easier for people to find specific tracks and lead them to other songs. Increasing the social proof of your videos also makes them discoverable. When your videos receive more views, more people, including record labels, will be interested. Services like Devumi’s YouTube Views can be used to generate the boost you need, helping your great music be heard when your numbers are low.
Collaborating with other artists is a great way to increase your music’s visibility. Both you and the other party can leverage each other’s fan base to further spread your music. You can also exchange connections and reach out to more producers. Acapella group Pentatonix apply such collaborations a lot on their channel:
Creating an active Twitter following
Twitter has become one of the most popular social media platforms for musical acts to reach out to fans. Record labels have also regularly used the platform to connect to music fans and new artists alike. If you want to take advantage of both audiences you will need to set up your official Twitter account.
One thing that you should not forget when setting up your Twitter account is to have it verified. Verified accounts have a blue check mark that appears beside the name, indicating its authenticity:
— Robert Downey Jr (@RobertDowneyJr) June 12, 2017
Account verification on Twitter is a bit more complex than on YouTube. Here are some quick tips to increase the chances of your account getting verified.
- Embed a “Follow” button on your website: This makes it easier for visitors to your site to follow you on Twitter.
- Have a relevant cover photo: You can use this as an opportunity to post images of your latest gig or album cover.
- Submit more than two links: You should submit at least five links in the Website Links section. Put in links to all the platforms that you are active on.
- Answer why your account should be verified: Write a good explanation on how verification will help both you and your followers.
Note that these steps do not automatically get your account verified. They will work to convince Twitter that you are the legitimate owner of the account.
Engaging your Twitter followers
In most cases, you will be using Twitter to post updates about your latest creations. Don’t just stop with the 140 characters from your tweets. Make your tweets more engaging by bringing in content from your SoundCloud and YouTube pages. For instance, jazz up your album updates by posting a sample track or teaser video.
Tweeting about other stuff aside from your music also helps make your posts more interesting for your followers. You can use the opportunities to further engage with your fans. Respond to their comments on posts and create conversations that lead back to your music.
Twitter can also be used to directly engage record companies. Tag them in your tweets to get their attention. This one, for instance, tags Sony EMI’s Twitter account, @emimusic:
— Fortune&F.a.m.e. (@FortuneandFame4) June 23, 2017
But you need to know which posts to tag them in. You don’t want to look like you are desperate for attention. Keep the record label @mention only for tweets that are about your music, preferably to those about your completed songs or albums. You would also be wise to use our Twitter Auto Engagements Service as it automatically retweets and likes your messages. Record labels will see this activity and pay attention to you.
Engaging record labels on social media
When it comes to understanding how to get signed to a record label, knowing how to engage with them on social media is vital for negotiating a contract. Before starting to connect with record companies, you need to know where they are on social media. Most companies post their social media accounts right on their websites. You can also do a quick search of their name on each platform.
— Warner Music Group (@warnermusic) June 26, 2017
Aside from the company’s official accounts, get those of specific people who are associated with them. Here’s Mike Caren of Warner Music Group, just tweeting away about an artist that could be you:
— mike caren (@mikecaren) June 18, 2017
Once you have started connecting with these accounts, don’t try to immediately send a demo to them. Focus on engaging with their posts first. This builds a good initial relationship that you can leverage later. Aside from that, engaging with their posts also lets you know what the labels are looking for. Feel free to ask questions, but know that you can also find out more by going through the content they send out.
Sending your demos
After establishing your relationship with target labels, you can start creating a demo and pitch to send to them. Note that labels often get hundreds of demo tapes and pitches from aspiring artists. Your pitch should be focused on explaining what sets you apart from all the others. You can highlight the large social media fan base that you have built and how it can translate to sales for them.
As for the music you intend to submit, choose tracks that you have already completed and are yet to release to the public. Use the highest quality versions of the tracks for your demo. Instead of sending physical media like CD’s, send links to your SoundCloud. This not only makes it easier for them to access your music, but also helps you cut down on the preparation of the materials.
Instead of sending a generic submission, create a personalized one. Specifically mention the label you are contacting in the subject line of your email. You can also do this in the titles of the tracks that you are including. This tells the record company that the submission is being sent specifically to them and will likely lead to them actually reviewing the content.
How to get signed to a record label using social media
Social media is a great tool for musicians to connect with music labels with the intent of landing potential deals. But to get a shot at that coveted contract, you need to:
- Build your fan base: Showcase your music on social media and engage listeners. Build a fanbase that will support your bid. Be like 5 of the best SoundCloud accounts and focus on this platform.
- Connect with record labels: Record companies themselves use social media to connect with musicians. Use this opportunity to reach out and create an initial relationship with them.
- Have a good pitch to present to labels: Use the fan base that you have built to convince record labels that you are an act that will draw in the crowds.
Follow these steps and you might soon be on the negotiating table for your recording contract. Now that you know how to get signed to a record label using social media, it’s time to go out there and let the world hear your musical creations.