Going to audition after audition and never getting called back can be extremely frustrating for an artist who’s trying to sign a deal with a record label. This is especially true if you feel like you have the talent and spent years perfecting your craft.
You should know that things aren’t hopeless, however, and there are plenty of things that you can still do to get noticed. Maybe you didn’t maneuver correctly, or you’re just missing that one piece that will make you attractive to record labels. You also need to know that signing to a label is not the only way to make it in this business. Here are some of the things you could do if you can’t get a record deal.
Move to Where the Labels Are
If you’re from a small town or a mid-sized city with not too many music label headquarters around, you’ll have to move if your absolute goal is to get signed. Even if the internet has brought us closer than ever, and people can discover your music from anywhere these days, it’s always better to be somewhere that has many label headquarters and a vibrant musical scene.
Being closer to labels will make it easier to go to meetings. It will also make the labels easier to reach and will increase the chances of you bumping into executives and decision-makers at industry events or shows. Some artists even got discovered by directly knocking at record label doors and performing right on the spot, so don’t underestimate the power of proximity.
You should also know that different cities are better for different kinds of artists. Places like Nashville might not be the best place if you’re trying to sign as a rapper, for instance, but they’re perfect if you’re a folk or country singer.
If you’re a rapper, then New York is still the place to be, and if you’re serious about making it, you’ll have to consider making a move. If that’s something you’re willing to do, we would also suggest that you start looking at the prices for studio time right now and look for great studios where you’ll be able to record.
If you want to cut costs, we suggest that you go for a Brooklyn recording studio or one in the outer boroughs instead of going for something in Manhattan. This Brooklyn recording studio is perfect if you’re an aspiring artist on a budget. Pirate offers self-serve studios in Brooklyn that will give you the sound quality needed to present a solid project that will get the attention of movers in the industry. You’ll also be free to try new things and can bring your team with you so you can brainstorm ideas.
Work on Your Whole Act
You also have to look at where you can improve as a performer. If you don’t know how to act or dance yet, learn it, even if you think you don’t need it right now. Having acting skills could help you create captivating performances and make better visuals for your music. Being a dancer is something that could come in handy at any time, even if dancing is not part of your performance.
You should also think about getting singing lessons if you haven’t already. You might feel like you’re a great singer, and you might be very talented, but untrained singers make mistakes that will be easily noticeable for anyone with a trained ear. No matter how great you are, there’s always someone who can teach you how to improve, so don’t be afraid to ask for help.
Work on Your Following
As harsh as it may sound, most labels these days won’t even look at an artist unless they have at least 50,000 followers on Instagram. And it’s understandable when you look at it from their perspective.
Record labels have one goal and one goal only, and that is to make money. Since they hate taking a risk, why should they take a risk with an artist that seems talented but only has a few hundred followers when they could go with someone who already has a following?
This is why you will need to learn how to be a social media wizard if you want to make it. You don’t need to do outlandish or outrageous things to get traction, however. Just being consistent with your content could be enough if you know what type of content resonates with your core audience. To know this, you’ll need to run advanced analytics on the content you already have posted, look at what type of content your public engages with the most, and keep releasing that type of content.
Look at Other Options
You should also know that you don’t necessarily have to be signed or even be a performer to make it in the music industry. Certain obstacles will make it nearly impossible for you to get signed even if you are extremely talented, and you shouldn’t let it get to you. One of your options could be to release your music independently. Starting a record label is a lot of work, but if you’re the sole artist, it’s not as difficult as you may think.
If your music is good enough, all you need to know is how to distribute your music to major streaming platforms. Services like DistroKid, CD Baby, and Tunecore will allow you to get your music on Spotify, Apple, Amazon, and Google Play. You don’t absolutely need a record label to make it these days, so don’t get desperate for a deal and see if you could make it yourself.
You can also look at other places where you could use your talents. Maybe you could do commercial work or become a backup singer? Or maybe you could get a job on Broadway? Some singers even go on to do some voice acting and voiceovers, so don’t limit yourself and look at all the opportunities that are open to you.
These are all things that you could do immediately if you can’t get the attention of record labels. Always remember that you have options and constantly work on improving your product and marketing if you want to increase your chances of getting noticed.