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What Record Labels and Music PR Agencies Look for in Independent Artists


What Record Labels and Music PR Agencies Look for in Independent Artists

Record labels and PR agencies have one objective: to make money. Profit is the lifeblood of any business. Unfortunately, record labels don’t give free handouts for being ‘passionate’ about your music. They give money to those that make them money. So, the real question is–how can you make record labels profit from your work?


There are monetizable characteristics that record labels look for in artists. It’s crucial to understand these so you can focus on developing them. In this article, we’ll discover those characteristics so you can fast track your success in the music industry!


Here are the top five characteristics record labels look for in artists:


Traction. Arguably more than anything else, a record label is looking for a proven track record because the best indicator of future success is past success. What exactly does ‘track record’ mean? A proven track record usually consists of sales, streams, strong social media presence, loyal fans, Spotify playlisting, connection with a music publicist at a publicity agency/music PR agencies etc. All of these factors are legitimizers because more than anything else, record labels want the sure thing.


A new record label may need to take some risks on unproven artists. But for the most part, labels want to maximize their odds by hiring artists with their act already together. You know you’re at this point when record labels start knocking on your door asking to sign you. If you’re not at this point yet, it’s time to keep grinding.


Talent. This is a no-brainer, but you must have the necessary talent to create and perform great songs. Your songs are your products. And what do record labels do? They sell and profit from your products. You don’t need to be the greatest songwriter in the world–especially if you have an amazing image (it’s much less common to see the opposite work out). But, you need the ability to continuously create content that a specific market absolutely loves. Talent may seem obvious, but it’s actually not the biggest part of the equation.


Image. Talent is a dime-a-dozen. There are many talented artists in the world that don’t brand themselves well (or at all). If songs are your products, then image is your music marketing. In other words, not only do you need the talent to create good music, but you need to SELL it–when you’re performing, interviewing, writing, through music marketing online, etc.


A strong image is having genuine brand that people in your niche are inspired by and can relate to. Notice the word ‘niche’. You don’t need to appeal to everybody. In fact, it’s much better if you can drive 0.1% of the world CRAZY with inspiration than make 80% of people feel…eh, nothing special. You know you have a strong image if you’re the face of a ‘movement’ or ‘wave’ and have a subset of fanatical fans doing the music promotion and music marketing for you through word of mouth or social media.


Work Ethic. How bad do you want it? Success in the music industry doesn’t come overnight. And often, it takes years of unpaid hard work until there’s any big payout. The artists that record labels want are the ones that’re willing to put in the work before any benefits are seen. This effort and commitment is usually fueled by true passion and desire to create great music. If you want to land a record deal, don’t just talk about it–show up every day and be about it!


Flexibility/Freedom. Record companies want someone who can pursue any music opportunity without hesitation. They need someone who is willing to commit 100% to the contract and not have any prior obligations. If you’re in your 50s with a stable job, a mortgage and a family, chances are you aren’t the best candidate for a record label contract. If you’re in your teens or early twenties and you’re not tied down by anything–great, record labels and music PR agencies want people like you! You’re simply the better bet since you might need to work in the studio for 14 hours straight or go on tour for a few months.


In conclusion, these are the top five things that record companies or music PR agencies look for when signing new artists. This is by no means a comprehensive list, but if you can nail down these five things, there’s no doubt you’ll have record labels knocking on your door and begging to sign you!


If you want to give yourself the best chance at fulfilling your true potential in the music industry, WMR Media is a leading music and hip hop PR firm that can take your career to the next level and help you achieve all of the things listed above. Check out WMR Media right now for publicity, digital marketing and Spotify Ad Campaigns

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