In 2004 I ran a record store and almost by accident started helping a local band release an EP and now it´s 2009 and I have had a blast running a indie label for 5 years here in Sweden.
I thought I would give bands out there some thoughts/ hints about what I think is important when approaching a label/ manager/ booker.
Typical approaches that I get:
1. Bands/ artists sending me brief info and links to their music.
2. Bands/ artists sending me a physical CD and info.
3. Bands/ artists approach me out on clubs/ events.
Typical mistakes I feel that many make:
1. They claim to be dedicated but don´t show me how and in what way they have been dedicated/ will be dedicated.
2. They don´t tickle my interest enough which leads to their CD/ mail ending up at the bottom of the ever growing stack.
3. They don´t see the whole picture of how, in the music business of today, you need to work closely together with the right people in order to get anywhere.
My suggestions to artists/ bands approaching people in the business:
1. Approaching 100s of people you don´t know with “Please work with us!” is usually pointless. Make sure to get to know a few people a little better by first asking fellow musicians who they know in the business and who they like. If you get to know someone and build a relation with them there is a much bigger chance that they will, even though they might not be interested in working with you, point you in the right direction.
There is no point working with someone you feel is a total moron anyway so the better you know them before you even discuss working together the better.
2. You must show people that you are dedicated and that you are interested in working together with others to bring the project forward- it´s simply not enough to give someone your music and expect them to take it from there.
3. Show people that you have ideas and thoughts about how you want to proceed. I see so many bands/ artists who just don´t have the creative energy to bring a project forward- again, it´s simply not enough to just give someone your music and rely on them doing the rest, you have to do it together with them!
4. Realize that everything you do is a part of the image people have of you and your band. If people know you have a wife and people see you kissing other women all the time it will affect the way they think about you as someone to work with.
5. Have brainstorming meetings in the band/ with fellow artists and compete in trying to come up with the most “out there” ideas- it will inspire you to think outside, under, over, inside and to the sides of the famous box. That and then some is needed to succeed- it´s as simple as that!
The stuff above is probably stuff you´ve read/ heard about before but I definately feel that it´s stuff that everyone needs to be reminded of from time to time. I go to pages like this and Hypebot for exactly that reason- I need to be reminded of stuff that I already know but have put in the back of my head and if I then get some brand new thoughts/ ideas/ information to go with that it´s a great bonus.
Good luck out there!
All the acts I work with can be listened to on one page here: http://www.wonderlandrecords.com/ex