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Getting into music is easy. You learn how to sing, write music, or play an instrument. Just about everybody is given some sort of music education in school, or should be. Then you practice, practice, practice until you get good enough to form a group or have someone sing songs you wrote. It might even be considered "easy" getting some gigs to play in public. Now you want to cut a demo record that you know is good enough the major record labels are going to beat a path to your door and sign you to a deal.

That is when "easy" disappears from the equation. There are perhaps 6 "major" record labels who have the "sweet deals" to give. All you have to figure out is a way to compete with how many millions of different artists and groups doing the same thing, at the same time. Start with the what I call the 4 "P's" Practice, Performance, Presentation, and Persistence.

  • Practice your music so you can perform it in your sleep. (When you are on tour, that is how you might feel like you are playing it!) Then practice it some more.
  • Prepare your performance from the audience viewpoint. (You don't want to do a night of ballads and love songs in a noisy bar, you probably won't be back for a second night.)
  • A great Presentation is your one shot at catching the eye of the A & R people or venues you may wish to play at. Flashy, heavy graphics, busy, slow-loading web sites get ignored faster than they can load. The design of the web site should allow for fast loading information, be easy to navigate, and get to the point without a lot of mouse clicks. As a guide, if you have to spend more than 7 seconds waiting for a page to load a brilliant video, animated graphics, or a solid black background, you will probably lose the attention of the viewer. This mistake could cost you a contract.
  • Your press pack should be just as precise. One 8 x 10 photo, a single demo CD with no more than 4 songs on it to showcase your range (make your best song the first track, you may not get a listen to all four), and a single page bio, with limited information about the group. Make sure to have your contact information on it, name(s) of primary contact person (manager, agent, music attorney, publisher, individual in group), web site, phone that you answer, and address on all pieces of your press pack.
  • Persistence in preparation, practice, performance, and presentation will help you perfect your product and land the job, or possibly a contract. Indies are far more willing to take on an unknown artist or group than the major labels, don't leave them out of your equation.
 

A Treatise on Independent Labels, By Bruce Duff
(courtesy of Taxi.com)

The Press Kit, By Kenny Kerner
courtesy of Taxi.com)

Getting Noticed, By Jamie Talbot
courtesy of Taxi.com)

Steps for Success, By Don Grierson
courtesy of Taxi.com)

How To Present Your Demo Tape, By John Braheny
courtesy of Taxi.com)

 

Record in a Professional Studio or Home Studio? by C.L.Richardson
(Purple Tiger Records)

Getting a Record Deal, By Michael Laskow
courtesy of Taxi.com)

10 Good Things to Know When Recording Your Independent CD
By Jack Lee (courtesy of Inde-Music.com)

 
 
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Updated: Sunday Jun 8. 2014