Not sure if this would be an interesting thread to anyone, but something I’m curious about because I’m not really sure of the etiquette or anything really. Basically, I’ve been sitting on an album for over a year now and part of the reason it’s just sitting there is that I feel like I should do something with it in terms of finding a (probably small, relatively niche!) label who might release it.
I’m constantly umming and ahhing about how to actually pitch it about though, and I’m always unsure about the exact etiquette and conscious of the fact that what I’m sending out might be totally wrong. Anyone got much experience with this side of things?
If its a small label with an email address, get on it and send them a link to your album and your EPK. Big up what youve done previously, mention DiS state and whatever youve got, why youd be a good fit for them without being cringe.
Anything bigger than bedroom labels though and its dont call us, we’ll call you. Email is going straight to spam unfortunately.
show you’ve done your research / love the label. Doesn’t need to be “I own 72 releases on your label” but could be something like “I’ve been a fan of your label since hearing X and loving your new album by Y” or “I’m that guy who you retweeted about how much I love the new album by Z” or “I met band X at the merch desk in Leeds a few week ago and they gave me your email”. Not only might this endear you to the label but also shows it’s not just a tossed off generic pitch. I know for instance it was an email like this that helped Hilary Woods sign to Sacred Bones and I’m pretty sure I’ve had emails like this over the years that led to me working with artists.
Come up with a really succinct summary of who you are. This could be descriptive or factual but ideally a mix of both. Even if that is something to do with your approach or perspective (“I make melancholic sci-fi music using church organs” or “I adore Elliott Smith and PJ Harvey but make noise records with samples of rusty anchors”). Try to keep this to 1-4 sentences. Being succinct can be hard. I’ve actually found ChatGPT useful for helping write and rewrite these short summaries by being quite specific about the tone and giving it an abundance of info to summarise.
Give them one simple link to stream. Private soundcloud or Disco links are more accessible than WeTransfer (which times out). You could also give them the option to download the record from Dropbox.
Update your website with some nice visuals and all the info someone might wanna know about you. That way you can link to it rather than attach some 2000 word biog and or attach 5 megs of press cuttings. If people like what they hear they will research.
Try to keep the email to about 8-10 sentences. Break up your paragraphs so it’s quick to zip through. You’re trying to pique someone’s interest and get them to listen, while being respectful of their time. They’ll want to know more if they love the music.
If you have an amazing visual or photo include that on the stream but if it’s under 2meg you could add to the email without it being too annoying (lots of people check email on the go whilst travelling and email servers will block attachments over 10meg).
Point 2 is the bit to invest the time in and something I’ve done consultancy sessions on helping acts find those sentences by basically interviewing them to find the themes.
Oh wow! This was a nice bunch of stuff to wake up to. I’m very clueless about a lot of things (including this stuff) so it’s incredibly helpful. And hopefully helpful to anyone else as clueless as myself!
The advice above is all sound I think. Most DIY labels folks will kindly consider anything so long as it’s not clearly a bulk email and/or is clearly the wrong genre. If you’re in the right ballpark style wise and you show you’re familiar with the label they’ll at least give it a listen and get back to you.
Tbh though all the relationships I have with labels have been developed through social media - chatting with folks on Twitter and Insta and them liking my stuff enough to be willing to take a punt on me. The Twitter scene seems to be slowly pooling together again on Bluesky, it just needs DM functionality. Can strongly recommend doing short little promo, live and work in progress videos too. It’s good to be visible on social media but it’s better to keep reminding folks what you do. And if it gets liked and reposted enough you never know who might see and be impressed by it…
Yeah, my recommendation for @manches was gonna be that if there’s a specific label or labels he really wants to release in then the key is to build relationships & emails are the worst way to build relationships. Social media can be good because you can get an idea of who you/they are talking to (though that can also have downsides) but one thing that really works but that people seem to be bad at these days is phone calls. Like, call people up & chat to them. Or if they’re local then even better - go along to their label nights & meet them, be a part of their scene etc
I think it’s also worth remembering that most labels release relatively few releases and are often under resourced and often run alongside other jobs, so having time to find new stuff isn’t always a priority when you’re in the weeds of a campaign. They also don’t have huge sums to spend on marketing so it’s worth considering if it’s worth giving up 80% of your income (or 50/50 split of any profit if it’s a decent label but apparently we’re still quite rare) to a label that might just do the minimum.