Working For An Indie Record Label – Part 3 : Pitching To A Record Label
So, we’ve covered a few bits about the thought process that goes into getting a record onto iTunes and into shops and also sourcing and producing artwork for the release.
Next up, I want to touch on Press Releases and Biographies. Record labels receive bucket loads of these together with a CD attached. Some are good. Some are ok. Some are downright awful!
Now, for those of you that don’t know, a Press Release is a piece of paper that contains a brief overview of the release you are trying to push out to media or radio or labels. Every release we do at the label has a press release to go with it, telling whoever reads it about the release, collaborators, interesting facts and angles, and also a little bit about the band too. Traditionally these are usually written up by the Print (Magazines/Newspapers) PR company you have on board to work the release. Throw a photo in if you like and you’re sorted.
A Biography is just that. A history of the band or act written by someone else. A page long should suffice, but obviously it all depends on how long the subjects of it have been going. Be honest, big yourself up and try and get someone outside of the band to write it. An impartial biography reads much better than a fan boy one.
Of course, if you’re signed to a label or management, then you don’t really need to worry about this, as someone else will be writing all these up for you. However, if like most of the examples I receive you’re unsigned and doing it yourselves, here are a few pointers for you, from what I’ve seen.
- Keep them to the point. By all means, shout to the heavens about your achievements; you’ve got every right. Just don’t waffle. Lots of indie labels run small crews, so a 4 page copy about your band is not a smart move. Keep the meat of your text somewhere on your website or Facebook page where someone can find it, and make your press release interesting so people want to find out more.
- Appearance and presentation. Humans make first impressions on another person in under a second or something ridiculous like that. Same theory applies when you submit your info to a label. I have received a press release written in crayon (by what appeared to be a 4 year old) on lined Winnie The Pooh paper (I think) with cut outs of the bands photos thrown in for good measure. Arty, yes. Easy to read, No. By all means be inventive and creative. You want to stand out. Just don’t make it difficult to read. The best one I have seen had a brief hand written hello, press release, a biography and upcoming gig dates with a sticker, a CD and some badges.
- If you can afford to or you think it might help, throw in a few gig tickets. Personally, I will always try to at least make it to the show if someone sends some tickets through the post to us about their band. I’m a musician, and tickets are income. So if they’re prepared to lose £12 and send a few tickets through, I personally am more likely to go and watch. It’s a nice gesture.
- Emails. We live in a digital age. However, here are a few tips for you guys sending links about over email…
- DON’T ATTACH YOUR MUSIC FILES TO THE EMAIL! Trying to download 45.3MB of attachments is not only annoying; it slows down receiving the rest of your emails. Link to your Soundcloud/Band Camp/Myspace.
- Write a bit more than “Hey, listen to my band. Thanks, J. Bloggs”. Throw a bit of your bio in, leave a few links to music and gigs and videos. Don’t drown the email with words, but give us some assets.
- This is an important one. Don’t, for love of all that is good and tasty in the world, paste 300 email addresses into your “To:” or “CC:” section. Use BCC, A.K.A. Blind Copy. It sends the email to everyone, but the recipients don’t see the 299 other labels you’ve sent your band to. Personalization is key here. Talk to us directly, not a blanket “Hi guys…”.
I hope this helps you guys out when it comes to trying to pimp your band out to labels or management. I will leave you with one, final piece of advice.
Know what label you are sending music to. Sunday Best are traditionally Leftfield, Hip-Hop, Dance, and Indie with bands like Kitty, Daisy & Lewis, Dub Pistols, Max Sedgley, and Beardyman. For example, the death metal band who sent me a CD of music for our consideration, I enjoyed. Next time though, send it to Earache or Nuclear Blast, you might get a better response. KNOW YOUR TARGET!
By Luke Crook
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