If you have read any article online about how to submit to labels, you will often see they suggest to find the name of a person to send your demo to.
This is good advice, but very rarely do you find any ideas on how to procure a name at a music label. Mostly you are left scratching your head wondering if you should just send it off cold.
Should you enter all your information into the automated form box on the label’s contact page? Maybe. Should you take a risk and just type firstname.lastname@example.org to try to get the attention of an invisible someone on the other side? Probably not.
You actually can find a name if you do your research and in this article I will give you some useful tips on how to do just that.
When you search for your favorite record label on the search engine Google.com it will pull up a box on the right hand side with info about the label. Inside the box will be a short description from Wikipedia. I use Google Chrome as a browser almost exclusively, so try it yourself and see what pops up. For example when I type in “Global Underground” it mentions Andy Horsfield as the founder on the right hand side. When I click on his name I can read more about him through Wikipedia.
You can also type in your favorite DJ’s name and get information on what labels he or she has been on. If I type “Sasha” into the search bar I can see a list of every label he’s ever been on; Global Underground, Ministry of Sound, emFire, Deconstruction Records, Boxed. Now I can research these labels and submit to them.
How do I send an email to ___________?
Sometimes you can just type in “How do I send an email to ___________?” (Insert label name in the blank) and the search engine will show you a forum where someone else has already figured it out. Someone, in the same situation as you, already discovered the email of a particular A&R person and decided to plaster it on a forum or on Twitter for others to see.
You should read as many music blogs and articles as you can on this subject. Some writers actually interview A&R people who explain how to get a demo to them. When you find out valuable information like this you should turn around and do exactly what they say when you send your demo out
You could pay for airfare and a ticket to a music conference (which is totally worth it by the way!), but if you are short on cash you could search YouTube instead and watch the videotaped panel discussions.
Industry professionals sit on panels and talk about what they do and what music they are looking for. Now you have the name and the face of an A&R person. All you have to do is put their name in the search engine to find their company, their email or snail mail address.
Yes, snail mailing your CD to a specific person might actually work in this day and age!
Books and Magazines
You can also get on Amazon or go to a bookstore and find the Musician’s Atlas. It will give you all the information you need on who’s who in the industry when you buy the latest addition.
There are also resources like Billboard magazine and the Hollywood Reporter that put together the latest industry news and the people behind it.
Lot of times asking for the information you want is a totally viable option. Just be sure to do it politely. Try something like this:
I’m writing because I was wondering if you knew who I could send my demo to. I was looking for a name and an email, but couldn’t find anything on the label’s website.
Thanks for your time,
DJ So and So”
Often times you will find a booking agent or manager’s email before you ever find an A&R reps. If you are nice to them they will probably be glad to help direct you to who you should send your demo to.
Music Connection’s Annual Directory of A&R
The easiest and most painless thing you could do is head over to musicconnection.com/industry-contacts and download Music Connection’s Annual Directory of A&R Reps for free.
Click on the “Directory of A&R Reps” link at the top of the list. Then enter your name and email when the pop-up appears. A download link to the PDF will then be sent to you in your email inbox.
The directory lists the snail mail address of the record label, the email address, the website, the style of music they are looking for and most importantly the name of the A&R person. When I looked up Aftermath Entertainment I found “Andre Young” listed as a contact who also goes by Dr. Dre.
It’s an invaluable list and includes all the labels you have heard of and all the ones you haven’t.
You can also find directories for managers and booking agents, music publishers, producers and engineers and bunch of other music related subjects on the website.
You’ve spent a lot of time and effort and, most times, money on producing your musical masterpieces, so do yourself a favor and put the same amount of effort into sending demos.
Your dreams of becoming a superstar DJ or rock star may not happen overnight, but doing your due diligence, presenting yourself professionally and having patience when it comes to receiving a response to your email always pays off over any shortcuts you could ever think up.
DJ COLA is a musician, DJ and writer. He has interviewed notable DJs for DMC World Magazine and has published articles in Colorado Music Buzz. You can see what he is up to at djcola.net.