You’ve finished a version of your track that you’re happy to share. Now what? The first thing you should do when getting ready to send a demo to someone is to put yourself in their shoes. How are you going to stand out in their inbox?
Imagine receiving hundreds of demos a month. It must be overwhelming, right? The end goal is to make it as easy as possible for your recipient to know who you are and be able to listen to your music without any hassle. But chances are, they will not have time to get to every single email or listen to every track in full.
Make Sure Your Links Are Easy To Stream
We strongly recommend that you send your music as a streamable link for easy access. Of course, there is no harm in giving the option to download, but always make sure that streaming link comes first.
For unreleased music, SoundCloud is the best option. Not only does it give you easy private link streaming with optional downloads, but it can also let you see who has listened to your track (on the paid version). This can be really helpful when it comes to chasing up people for reactions (but, more on that later).
If you’re sending tracks that are past the demo stage and live online, the most professional looking link is your Spotify or other store artist profile, which you can build out with a bio, image gallery and links to your socials. Pro tip: we give you your very own Spinnup promo link as soon as your release is live, which gives your audience the option on listening on the streaming service of their choice!
Make Sure You Have Good Metadata
Your tracks need to look professional if they’re going to be downloaded by the person you’re sending them to. They also need to have all your key information readily at hand. So, make sure you fill in artist name, track name and album name (at the minimum) in your file metadata. If you don’t know how to do this or have never heard of metadata before, read our handy guide to good music metadata.
Do you know the music label you want to send your music to? Maybe you even know the name of the A&R person you want to reach, do a quick google search or maybe look for them on LinkedIn to see if their contact or email address is online.
These days most labels will have demo submission email addresses which the A&R team usually monitors and filters through the releases and get in touch with anyone they like the sound of.
Keep in mind that you should BCC people on email if you’re going to email more than one person. We do advise sending personalised emails to each A&R or label, however if you’re doing a big send, a group send is appropriate so long as you BCC the contacts.
Here’s a sample of an e-mail to send out to your contacts!
Don’t Be Afraid To Namedrop In The Subject Heading
When trying to cut through the noise of someone’s overflowing inbox, you need to do whatever you can to make your email stand out (without going over-the-top that is). If you’ve received support from key industry figures, radio stations or publications, don’t be afraid to work them into your email subject. Only put it in there, however, if it makes grammatical sense and actually adds some helpful information. This should then give the reader an idea of what to expect.
Journalists, Artists and Repertoires (A&Rs) and bookers are usually looking for some way to categorise an artist – do everything you can to help them put you in the right place. Just make sure all the information that you share is accurate, and not deceptive or misleading.
Don’t Be Afraid To Chase Up
Although being bugged relentlessly can definitely get very annoying, a good rule of thumb is that one follow-up email is always OK. People may have every intention of opening your email and listening when they have some free time, but not everyone is as organised or available as they’d like to be meaning emails can quickly slip down inboxes. A polite reminder after a week or so is fine.
On a related note, as mentioned earlier, SoundCloud lets you see who has listened to your private track if you have one of their paid plans. If you use it to send demos, make sure you check to see if someone has listened in the stats before emailing them “hey did you get a chance to listen to my demo?” If they listened and they liked it, they will be in touch.
Do Something Different With Physical Demos
While the vast majority of people send digital demos, there is still a place for a carefully crafted physical demo. There’s not much point sending someone a plain burnt CD-R or unremarkable USB.
But consider these options – what about creating some interesting custom design USBs? Or sending the USB or CD in unusual packaging that can’t go unnoticed or with a memorable piece of merch? Many people no longer have a CD drive anywhere, so the USB option is probably the best.
Take Note From Our A&Rs At Universal Music Group
Our team at Spinnup Asia has an amazing monthly series on Instagram titled “Spinnup Insider“. This is where you’ll find tips and insights from the best in the music business. You’ll get access to some golden nuggets from A&Rs, artist managers, managing directors, marketing executives, you name it. Trust their advice to help you navigate your way in the music industry!
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Getting Noticed With Spinnup
We’d be silly not to mention ourselves here. Spinnup is a distributor made purely for independent artists to help them distribute their music. But it was also created by Universal Music Group, and our friends at the labels are always keeping an eye and ear on the music that gets released via Spinnup to spot their next signing.
At the time of writing this we’ve had over 120 Spinnup artists get noticed and signed by Universal labels around the world, so releasing your tracks with Spinnup is just as much an option to picked up by a label as sending in a demo.