1

I want to eventually release an album with my band. We have written the songs and the lyrics but where do we go from here?

It could be useful to play the songs together but I'm wondering about "how can I get the attention of a label?" and "what are the probabilities that a new band, releasing a new CD from nothing, can reach some results and have success?"

  • 1
    We have a policy on this site about not addressing music business laws or giving legal advice (for one thing the relevant laws vary widely depending on the nation or state where you live). At the very least, you should not enter into any financial or legal agreement or sign your signature to anything without hiring a competent entertainment lawyer to review the material for you before you make any committments. – user1044 Nov 24 '15 at 16:45
  • 1
    But hold on, you said, "it could be useful to play the songs together" -- are you saying you haven't done that step yet? – aparente001 Nov 24 '15 at 23:28
  • @aparente001 we started a few weeks ago.. because of the difficulty of the songs it takes me almost 6 months to learn them. But this step is something I know because I already did – Andrea Dellera Nov 25 '15 at 7:51
  • 1
    All I can say is own your own local area totally before you think of trying to get a deal. A record exec is not going to be willing to believe you can conquer the world when you cannot even conquer Brighton. – Neil Meyer Nov 25 '15 at 17:00
4

Congratulations to you and your band for taking the first steps to fame and fortune in the music world. You've written some songs and started to play together as a band. That's great! But now you want to take it to the next level.

At this point it sounds like you are at the very beginning stages and there are several more levels you must reach before you are even ready for the studio, much less ready to pitch your music to a "label".

The number one thing that you must have in order to be successful as a band - is a large fan base. By successful - I mean actually getting paid to perform. Another level of success would be actually being able to pay some of your bills by getting paid to play music. And of course the pinnacle of success would be to get signed by a major label who would promote your music on the radio, promote the sale of your music on CD's and digital formats, and book you on tours where you would stay on the road going from city to city and playing to large crowds of your fans.

But it all starts with fans. Without fans you go nowhere. With a large enough fan base, you get the attention of the record labels. So how do you begin building a huge fan base?

I would encourage you and your bandmates to start practicing regularly until you have rehearsed enough material for a full live show. Then try to get "booked" to do a show for an audience. Venues that feature live music might hire you if they like your music. But venues such as restaurants, pubs, bars, etc. are looking for the same thing that record labels are looking for - fans! If you can convince a venue that you can draw enough new patrons (your fans) to their venue, you can get booked.

Before you get enough fans to fill up a small venue, you might need to play some free shows. Perhaps a backyard concert at one of the band members house or the house of one of your fans. Invite all your friends and bandmates friends and everyone brings a dish to share.

The reason you want to play for an audience is that there is no better way to get feedback on your music, and to share it with your potential fan base. It also will encourage you to practice with more intention - because you have a goal and a deadline. If your live performances go well, you will be inspired to put more energy into playing together and your new fans will start promoting you through word of mouth.

As you start to gel as a band, and start to build a fan base, you will start writing more material and growing your repertoire. But you also must be pro-active at growing your fan base.

After you start playing live shows regularly, your music will become more polished and you will hone the rough edges and fine tune your songs. Now it's time to start recording some music so you can share it outside of live shows.

So the next step is to set up a YouTube channel for your band. It's the next step because it's FREE! On your channel, you will be able to upload videos of your band performing. You will also be able to post a bio of the band and other helpful information. But the main thing is to create a platform where you can direct potential new fans so they can hear your music. Here is a YouTube Video on how to set up a free YouTube Channel for your band and optimize it for promoting and sharing your music. YouTube - set up a band channel

For the videos - you can start by getting a fan or friend of the band to record some of your live shows. Even a smart phone can make an amazing recording. One tip for recording your live shows is to use multiple camera's (two friends) and record your audio from the sweet spot (find a place in the audience area that the music sounds best). Using free video production software, you can create a professional looking and sounding video by mixing in several angles and using a separate optimized audio track for the audio.

And if you mess up, you can use the good parts of a performance as part of a "demo reel". Put several sections together on one five minute video that consists of the best parts of some of the songs you have on video. Then use a transition tool (fade out, flip, curtains, etc.) to link them together into one video.

Once you have some music on YouTube, you can set up a Facebook Band Page and start posting links to your YouTube videos. Each band member should have a personal FaceBook page where you encourage all of your friends to "like" your band page and encourage them to encourage their friends to "like" your band page. This is how things go "viral". They find you on YouTube through Facebook (or vice versa).

You can also print business cards and print the URL for your YouTube channel and/or a QR code so folks can instantly watch your band on YouTube, even if you run into them at Starbucks and hand them your business card.

So far, your band has played together enough to fine tune your performance, booked some live paid or free gigs to begin building a fan base, set up a YouTube Channel for the Band, set up a Facebook page for the band, and printed some business cards for the band. All of the foregoing can be done for free by the way - including the business cards (Google "free business cards"). So let's look at some other ways to start promoting your music.

In today's world, Social Media has become an excellent way to reach thousands of people in an instant. So once you have a platform (such as YouTube) where your music can be shared, and begin to grow your fan base, you will want to set up a presence on all the major social media platforms. You will want a twitter account, an instagram account, and a Google Plus account to go with your Facebook Band page. All your media platforms need to link to one another to the extent you can.

After you start playing regular live shows - you might want to consider a band website. A good website will allow your potential fans who visit the site to see and hear your music (post YouTube vids), read about your band (a good bio) read about each member of the band, and discover where they can hear you live and support your music (a calendar of upcoming gigs).

Reverbnation may be a great place to help you get started with your website. It's free to set up an account on Reverbnation for your band. They can provide templates for band websites as well as help you promote your music in many ways. Learn more here Reverbnation website

By now you have fine tuned your performance and received feedback from your fans on which of your songs are popular among your fans. So it's time to get in the studio and produce your first "EP".

Through word of mouth among other successful local musicians in your area or through the internet, you should be able to locate a professional recording studio that can produce some of your songs fairly inexpensively. You want a polished production that sounds like it could be on the radio. You don't have to start with an entire album. You probably should start with a three song "EP". Pick your most popular 3 songs and get them professionally recorded and produced.

Now that you have some professionally recorded music - there are several more things you can do that you could not do until now.

First, you can burn some CD's and start handing them out to your fans. Or even better, have some CD's professionally produced on some level. Perhaps you only print a few hundred to start with. Then you can put your music in the hands of your fans at your live shows.

But more importantly, you can now start sharing and selling your music on line.

Check out CD Baby for what they can do to produce CD's and Sleeves, and also what they can do to host other digital platforms for sharing your music. They can help you promote your music on i-Tunes, Amazon, Spotify, Apple Music, Google Play, and Shazam among other distribution platforms. They can also help with music licensing. Here is a link to information about their digital distribution options Digital Music Distribution through CD Baby

Another platform now available for promoting your music online - is BandCamp. BandCamp Artist Page

Also, Reverbnation (see link above) can help you sell or distribute your digital music.

Another free platform that will allow you to share your music with others once you have a digital audio file (such as an mp3) is SoundCloud. Some artists and bands use soundcloud for free 30 second samples of their music which can be purchased through i-tunes or spotify etc. But your job is to build and grow a fan base so you want to share all of your music with as many folks as possible. Here is an example of a Soundcloud artist's site Sound Cloud Andrew Applepie

Depending on what country you live in, you might want to copyright your music at some point and register your band with a performance rights organization to help you collect royalties once other folks start playing your music (either covering it live or streaming the audio). In the USA, the main PRO's are BMI, ASCAP and SESAC.

There are other ways to continue to promote your band (play charity events, get a newspaper to do a feature on the band, conduct an interview on a college radio station, put posters or business cards in your local music store). But the primary goal in promoting the band through all the platforms mentioned above, is to build and grow a large fan base.

Eventually, if you have enough fans (many thousands) you can get the attention of a "label". After all, the record labels are in business for one thing and one thing only - profit. They see fans as dollar signs. Get enough fans where they see enough money and you are on your way.

Good luck!

  • This is a loooooooong answer, but reaching a level of success where a label would become interested is a long process and there are no shortcuts in my opinion. This answer provides step by step - starting from ground zero. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 25 '15 at 16:26
  • After this answer I can say that we had a wrong approach on "what to do". Very useful – Andrea Dellera Nov 26 '15 at 14:52
  • @AndreaDellera Good luck with your band. Mostly have as much fun as you can with it. Playing with a band and performing for others is a very rewarding experience in it's own right - even if you never get famous. – Rockin Cowboy Nov 26 '15 at 15:28
  • @rockinCowboy - I started reading this, but this line "the pinnacle of success would be to get signed by a major label" to me, blows your credibility right out of the water. You must either work for a major label, or have never reached any level in the business where the pitfalls, perils and outright dangers (to your career) that signing to a major label can have, have presented themselves. The real pinnacle of success is making a living out of music without signing to a major label. – Lyrical.me Feb 21 '16 at 13:34
  • 1
    @Lyrical.me - Perhaps you have a different perspective. I certainly don't work for a label. I am an amatuer song writer who sometimes get's paid to share music in a live setting. From my perspective, if a major label wanted to buy the rights to one of my songs, or promote me as an artists or songwriter, I would consider that a great success. It would be an affirmation that I was producing something valuable. But everyone's definition is different. The OP implied that their goal was to get the attention of a label. Your perspective may be informed from a different set of experiences. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 22 '16 at 2:55
3

Now is the hard part. Unless you know someone from a label, it won't be really easy signing with one. What you can do is trying to promote the album yourself. How to do that?

  • Play live shows where you play the songs of the album.
  • Promote it online as much as you can.
  • Promote it locally to your friends, neighbors etc.
  • You might want to finance an ad in a magazine, some site or something. This will be somewhat expensive, but it might be worth it.
  • (This I say with some uncertainty) You might be able to send the album to some labels to see if they are interested.

If you promote it enough, some label might see it and get interested in signing with you.

But keep in mind that finding a label isn't everything. There are quite a few bands nowadays that finance the recordings themselves, then promote it themselves simply because it is not easy to find a label that is interested in what they do. So they do everything themselves, any way they like. This isn't such a bad idea if you don't find a label. You can upload the songs to Youtube and you can promote them quite easy.

  • 1
    And do you suggest to spend more money making a very good cd or to spend less money because it's something temporary? Because maybe with a lable we will re-record the album – Andrea Dellera Nov 24 '15 at 8:29
  • 1
    I would suggest something in between. Don't make something really cheap and bad, because you won't be able to send it to the labels and/or promote it. But also, I wouldn't spend my entire fortune on the making of the album. I would try to record something not temporary, something I could also sell myself and people would enjoy – Shevliaskovic Nov 24 '15 at 8:31
  • It is best to have the highest quality recording possible but you could spend a lot of money doing so. If the band has income from playing gigs, I would recommend setting up a band bank account to save money over time that can be invested in an album or other expenses. If this money builds up quickly enough, you can record a reasonably high quality album in the near future. Alternatively, if everyone in the band is willing to make a personal contribution, you could determine how much to spend based on the amount everyone can invest. It's important to think of it as an investment in your future – Basstickler Nov 24 '15 at 21:47
2

Get out there!!

To what the person before already mentioned, I can add:

  1. Live shows are your best bet. Get in contact (facebook groups for bookers, promotors, bands, musicians of your area or where you wish to tour) with all kind of promotors and get yourself booked by asking for shows to play (for free or a small compensation for gasoline, but I wouldn't count on that..., you can probably count on a meal and drinks, that's about it).
  2. Choose which social media you want to focus on. I would highly suggest a facebook page (which I know, kinda of sucks to reach all your fans, but it's still the most popular medium), an instagram where you tag your content appropriately and the last but not least make a bandcamp and publish your record over there. Make it a download for free, to spread your music. I wouldn't bring out a cd from the start, those are big bucks you'll be spending!
  3. Make a shirt you sell for 10 bucks. Or a bunch of stickers you give out for free. To get your band's name out there.

Altho', labels aren't everything. Labels are handy when you are getting big. They promote your band and book your shows when you are too busy playing shows and creating music, when you need all the time you have. For now, you probably still have the opportunity to keep the threads in hand. Which is a good thing. It's your band and it's your music.

Focus on reaching your fans, not a label. Focus on reaching your fans, not on making money, if you are here for the money or even not losing any money, then you picked the wrong industry, sadly but true.

Experience: I've been in the hardcore punk community for several years and booked a show for a Vienna based band in Belgium a month or two ago.

  • What I want to do it's not for the money, I know I will lose it. It's just that, after one year of working, I would like to do things properly. And with my previous bands this part was always the worst and we did nothing – Andrea Dellera Nov 24 '15 at 14:19
  • I wasn't attacking you personally, I was merely pointing it out to perhaps other readers. It might help to analyze how you find new artists. I for example discover bands through mostly social media and events made on social media. Most of the time there's a link to their bandcamp. I download it after a quick listen. When it sticks, I start looking out for merchandise (I'm not really a cd fan, I do buy vinyl. Or I support 'em by going to shows.) Looking up when to post and how to use social media might also help you out! Music also has a great share of 'marketing' to it (dunno if that's sad). – 6754534367 Nov 24 '15 at 15:43
1

If your goal is to get signed by a major label then are looking at things back to front.

A record deal with a major label isn't success. It's a by-product of success. And, from my experience one that is best avoided.

Write, practice, play... play... play and play more. Success is attracting a following who loves your music. If that happens you will be successful. If you get successful enough, signing to a major label may be one option for you out of many.

Good luck.

  • 1
    I agree with your premise that success is attracting a following. And I agree that a record deal would be a byproduct. But if your goal is to get a record deal, then to you, getting signed to a record deal by a major label would in fact BE success. But I get that your personal experience tells you to avoid major labels. So your definition of success is different - and perhaps for good reason. I'm going to upvote your answer based on the fact that you have added a caveat that perhaps getting signed to a major label should not be everyone's goal and there are other measures of success. – Rockin Cowboy Feb 22 '16 at 3:03
  • Yeah i see that there are personal objectives at play. I have upvoted your comment for its pragmatism. – Lyrical.me Feb 24 '16 at 11:19
0

Music nowadays is changing and the classic approach of 'finding a label' is dying. A lot of great artists now base their career on the internet and social media. You could for example record your album and release it on Bandcamp and try to gain popularity through Youtube, Facebook and other social media. Maybe make a video clip of one of your songs on Youtube. Or maybe a video with tips on guitar. Or something funny. Definately something that will attract viewers and make them wonder 'in what band does this guy play in ?'

Good luck!

0

We started a few weeks ago.. because of the difficulty of the songs, it takes me almost 6 months to learn them.... Now we are going nowhere."

How about getting some performance dates set up for a couple of months from now? That would give the band something concrete to work toward.

Perhaps it would also be helpful to play, occasionally, some easier material together, to build ensemble.

It sounds like any larger ambitions would be a little premature at this stage.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.