Words by Matt Bacon
Bacon’s Slices is a new monthly column brought to you by Matt Bacon designed to assist and give tips to help you grow your band and reach that sometimes seemingly unattainable next level.
Matt is a music marketer, social media expert, and label exec for folks like Prophecy Productions, Plastic Head, Blacklight Media (Metal Blade subsidiary) and Ripple Music.
If you have any questions about this article please contact Matt Bacon at [email protected]
One thing it seems bands still need help understanding is the basics in terms of pitching to labels and making a pitch that is coherent and useful, so I wanted to break down what years of experience doing A&R for bands like Prophecy Productions, Ripple Music, Blacklight Media (A Metal Blade subsidiary) and more taught me.
You see – pitching yourself to a label is not especially hard. However, there are three keys. First and foremost you want to look and sound as professional as possible. Furthermore, you want to make sure you are pitching to the right sorts of labels for you. Then, finally, when you do reach out make sure you are clear in what you are asking for.
Let’s break it down.
Looking And Sounding Professional
This is the big key and is one that I see a lot of people struggling with. When I talk about looking professional what I mean is having good artwork, lots of good promo shots on your band pages and your pages looking well put together. You want peoples first impression of you to be a positive one. Remember, first impressions are everything and often people will see your social media pages before hearing your band.
When it comes to sounding professional, much of the same logic applies. You want to make sure everything you are pitching is properly mixed and mastered. You want to also make sure that if you have demos up anywhere they are clearly marked demos. You don’t want label people thinking you have no ear!
Pitching To The Right Labels
This one is a huge pet peeve of mine. When you are pitching to labels, a targeted approach is going to serve you much better than a scattershot one. In the world of metal especially, labels are fractally nested.
You should not be a death metal band pitching to stoner metal labels for instance.
When it comes to identifying the right labels, just reach out to labels that have bands who sound like you. Ideally, you want to make sure that these are labels who frequently sign bands in your position too. That is to say – if a label seems to only sign established death metal bands with lots of Spotify streams and you haven’t quite got there yet – maybe find a death metal label looking more to develop talent.
When you reach out to a label make sure you make it clear you are looking for a deal. So often I see people email labels and forget to include this crucial detail! If they don’t know what you are trying to accomplish they won’t know how to help you.
I know it sounds like a no brainer, but realize that label people are frequently very overwhelmed and if something doesn’t make sense right away it will more often than not get deleted. Usually, the best label pitches make the desire to be signed to the label clear multiple times throughout the email.
So there you have it – reaching out to a label doesn’t need to be hard or scary, you just need a common-sense approach. Make sure that you are giving a good, professional, first impression. Then pitch to the right labels. Throughout, make sure you are clear with what you want. By doing this you will dramatically raise your odds of getting signed.