For mostly stupid reasons, a lot of unsigned artist might feel that getting a record deal with a major or independent label is easy to do, and with a contract success will be guaranteed. And to do this, they feel that all they have to do is send out a few demos and BAM there it is like magic, but thats not the case cause over a million artist send in demos every year and over a million are rejected. So I will give you the major reasons why.
Reason Number 1 - Sending Unsolicited Recordings
Sending Unsolicited Recordings before you send out any demo packages you must always call, email, mail or fax the record label and ask permission to send in your demo package, cause most record companies do not accept demos just sent out of no where, just for the simple fact that you can send them your demo, and then a month later an artist comes out with a song similar to yours, and then you would be able to sue cause you could say that they got the idea from the demo that you send in, so for the record companies protection they keep track of whos demo CDs that they listen to, just to protect them from a lawsuit (note that all unsolicited demos will be returned without being opened) so dont waste your money on mailing the CD.
Reason Number 2 - The packaging
The next reason has to do with demo packaging cause 50% of all the demos sent out to record labels, look cheap with tape all over the envelope, or some messy hand writing with graffiti of their Rap group on the front and back, and the envelope without a return address are some of the main symptoms of poor packaging, but an overall poor quality in the packaging of the demo and the package will not be opened regardless of the music, cause they feel that if the package is of poor quality then the music and the artist are also of that same type of quality.
Reason Number 3 - Your press kit is weak
This one has to do with the contents of the package, as far the press kit it self cause this is what they look at first, before playing your demo. The press kit must include a biography, an 8x10 photo of the artist or group, and a demo cd, the first parts of the press kit are the most crucial to getting your song played, and the first of the two which is the picture and this needs to be of a good quality as far as the look of the picture and the quality of the paper.
(Please do not use a picture printed from your computer, Which may cause automatic rejection)
And the other part is the bio and after glancing at your picture and only if the picture is acceptable they will then begin to look at your bio and this should be a good look into the people behind the music, including where they came from, how they started in music, what they have done, in music and where they plan on going with their music.
(Please do not hand write your bio, For which may cause automatic rejection)
A failure to make a quality press kit will definitely hurt your chances of getting your cd played, and that is only half the battle, so it would be advised that you duplicate a good cd with printed labels.
(Please no handwriting on the cd)
Reason Number 4 - No Contact Information
No Contact Information on any thing. All material sent out must include the same contact information as far as your name, address, email, and phone number on the bottom of your bio, place this information on the bottom of the picture and on the demo CD, plus try to include a business card as well. Basically saying that, if the record labels do not know how to reach you, then they wont reach you. So it would just be a waste to even listen to the CD if they cant call you back.
Reason Number 5 - Your demo is wack
Now that we have gotten the A&Rs attention it now boils down to the demo CD, and first of all if your demo is wack then thats just it you are totally wack dont get mad or complain just accept it and move on to a new career, but if you are not wack and just misunderstood then the next few reasons should help you out of a slump.
Reason Number 6 - Poorly Recorded Material
Number 6 is a reason that sometimes is beyond an artists control, and it has to do with the quality of the recording of the CD, and its due to the fact that the recording industry is like the car industry, where the more you pay for a car then the better the car functions, but all cars not matter how much you pay do the same thing, Drive! And thats the same in music with studios where the expensive ones function better than the garage studios, but they basically do the same job.
So the main ways to record good music no matter where you record, is to first remember sound levels, please do not record your vocals or the beat to loud into your computer and do not burn the CD with the songs very loud, cause it would be better to turn up the volume on a low volume song than it is to turn down a song where the sound is to distorted from being burn on the CD to loud, and another sure fire way get a good sound is to find a good engineer to mix down your music. Plus it is always a plus to consider some digital mastering which would in turn make your CD ready for radio or video play.
Next in this section I want to talk about the format of the songs and how the vocals were recorded. Like 3-4 double and ad-lib tracks covering the main vocals of the song so the listener can barely understand, another bad thing is to have to long of an intro into the song where the beat is just playing or the artist is just talking for more than 8 bars. Then you need to cut that out of all your songs (demo wise) and get straight to the point weather you put a hook first or you start with a verse, do not let the intro go on for more than 4 bars.
Reason Number 7 - Picking the wrong type of songs
Reason number 7 has to do with you picking the Wrong type of songs to put on your demo CD, and the worst type of song off the top is a slow song. Unless you are vocalist and your main focus is to sing slow songs or ballads for the market that your are trying to sell records in, then it is best to be avoided especially if you plan on entering the mainstream market of record sales, cause in this business of music a majority of the time, it is accustomed to record singles for radio play, cause lots of radio play equals a high number of record sales for that album, and if an A&R cannot envision your music on the radio or playing in the club.
They would not be able to see you as an artist that can sell records. Now just try to think about how many slow songs are big on the radio right now. Not to many huh? Another thing to consider when choosing the songs for your demo is to eliminate to explicit lyrics from the music cause it kills all chances of it being played on the radio. I even remember an instance where a certain well know A&R took a demo he received to a club the same night he got it and had the Dj play the song to watch the crowd react to the music, and the response was so good that he signed the artist to a major label deal two days later. So you need to be ready.
Reason Number 8 - To many songs
Now we are at number 8, and it is to have too much material, just remember that a demo CD is not an album, so you do not need to put any skits on your demo or long shot outs to your crew and then do not put To much material on your demo, just because you and your friends think that all the songs are equally good, please dont fool your self, cause when you put to many songs, you start to test the patience of the A&R and it first shows a lack of professionalism and more of a desire to have your music heard than it is a desire to sell records.
Believe me that there is a big difference between the two. So try to understand that record companies are working hard to sell records and they are not here to share the art of music with the world. So just try to limit it to 3 or 4 songs and nothing over 5 minutes long.
Reason Number 9 - Sending The Wrong Music To The Wrong Label
Now we have reason number 9 and this one happens quite a lot and its when an artist sends their demo to any record labels and it has to do with reason number 1 where you need to call the labels and find out if they produce your type of music. Cause wouldnt it be a waste of time for a country singer to send her demo to def jam records. Where there will be a very high chance that she will be rejected due to the fact that this certain record company might not produce or even know how to market and sell that certain type of music. But then again the major labels can handle pretty much anything.
Still it is advised that you do your research by going on the companies websites and check the rosters of artist that have already signed to the labels and see if your style of music fits in or if there is any room for you being a new artist. Where you might see 7 rappers out of 8 artists on a certain label, then that company may not be looking to sign any rappers at the moment until they can release the artist they already have. But then again if you are that good then other artist will not stand in your way, where the label might release your album first. You can never tell.
Reason Number 10 - You are just not what they want
You must remember that this industry is ran by people and not a machine that always makes the right choice, and you can actually have a all the bases covered and came with a damn near perfect demo package and still the A&R wasnt feeling it. Then dont be discouraged cause the person you gave your demo to could have been having problems at home, or about to be fired from that company or thinking about leaving, and they just couldnt hear that good marketable music, or they had already signed enough artist for the year.
And a few major reasons is a lack of development in the image, sound, and star quality of the artist, no experience in live performances or ever selling records as well as a lack of team players like a manager, agent and entertainment lawyer, cause it is always a major plus for a record company to see other professionals believing in your project as much as you do, to where it helps the record company believe in you as much.