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DIY Update: What To Do When Pitching To Labels

So often bands want to pitch to labels but have no clue how to do it. In my time working with such labels as Prophecy Productions, Blacklight Media (Metal Blade subsidiary), Ripple Music, and many more I’ve learned a thing or two about A&R.

In my first article for MetalUnderground.com I wanted to break down for you, in layman's terms, what to have put together before you pitch yourself to a label. Furthermore, often bands pitch at the wrong time or in the wrong way – I want to help you understand how to do it right.

3. What To Have when You Pitch To Labels

So many people reach out to labels hoping for a deal when they have no content or understanding of how the industry works. Labels aren’t just going to sign you off the street because you ask. They will sign you if they think your music fits their brand and will make them money. It’s really that simple. So when you pitch, you need to be sure you have actual music to show them.

Beyond that you want to be able to evidence there is some interest around your band. I like to always include the key selling points when signing bands. What this means for someone like you is to show off your social pages and point out if the numbers are good. Focus on your streaming stats. Let people know you are profitable. No one is going to randomly turn you into a money machine over night.

2. When To Pitch To Labels

Do NOT pitch to labels after the album is out or once you have announced a release date. No one will take that offer. Labels have their own production schedules and their own teams. Oftentimes they can delay the release of a record by months so they can do the best job promoting it. If you can’t deal with that then you’re not ready for a label.

You want to be pitching once the album is fully complete and you have album art. Don’t try to get people to sign you off just a single or a demo. If you don’t really have any hype going around you then that isn’t going to do anything. You want to be able to offer people a complete product, not just a sampling. Otherwise, it might seem like you are hiding something.

1. How To Pitch To Labels

Ultimately you want to send out an email that is professional and clear. You don’t want people to be wondering who the hell you are or what the hell you want. You want your emails to labels to be concise and full of core points about why your band will sell records.

As addressed earlier, make sure that you are including EVERYTHING I outlined when reaching out, especially if you haven’t been signed before and have no previous relationship. If you can’t even be bothered to include your music, I guarantee you no one will go searching for it. Remember, these people are busy. So include that, include a photo of the band, include the album art, and again – tell them what proof you have you will sell. False promises do nothing, hard numbers and past action speaks volumes.

Hopefully, this was able to guide you to a better understanding of what you need to do to pitch to labels. You just need to make sure you are pitching with the right stuff, at the right time, in the right way. This quick guide should start to get you there.

MattBacon's avatar

Cigar chomping Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Follow him on Instagram @Bacons.Bits for daily band advice videos! He can also be found at Dropoutmedia.net.

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