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MK Help: Advice sought from recording artists (10) RE: Help: Advice sought from recording artists 17 Oct 00

If you are planning to shop your demo to commercial record companies in hopes of a record deal, the following criterion are standard as far as A and R people (Artists and Repertoire) at record companies are concerned. The more professional the package looks, the more credibility it will be given. (I assume the standards would be similar for independent labels with broad distribution.

- a professionally done 8" X 10" black and white, or color photo of the band

- 4 to 6 very strong and catchy original songs on CD (with contact info, ie: name, address and telephone number on the CD label). The songs should edited down to no more than a minute a half, as A+R people listen to about the first 20 seconds of each tune. If it doesn't grab them right away, they move on to the next song.

- lyric sheet to accompany CD, with the lyrics to each song, clear and legible (make sure you have everything copyrighted before sending ANYTHING to the record companies.

- resume and history of the band including experience, types of venues and sizes of audiences performed to, individual band members names and what instruments and vocals they contribute

- upcoming performance dates, in case they want to see/hear your band.

That's pretty much it. Keep in mind that trying to secure a record deal with a major label is like playing the lottery. Not to be a grim reaper, but the chances are slim, and you have to send out many packages to many labels in order to increase your odds, and repeatedly. Remember that some of the top recording acts were turned down repeatedly by the major labels until they finally got signed by someone who actually took the time to listen to their demos. ("The Police" are an example.) Do the music and perform because you want to, not because the goal is to get a record deal. Chances are, if what your group is offering, is not the current flavor of the month in terms of what record companies are looking for, nothing will come of it.

As I said, all of these comments apply generally for those looking for a commercial record and distribution deal. There is probably more flexibility with the independent labels, since artistic intergrity tends to be more important than overall sales to those companies.

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