I’m a Record Label Executive. And This Is How to Get My Attention

This was recently posted by Jimmy Swan, owner of Dallas-based Executive Music Grouep.

ERG is distributed by INgrooves Fontana, and its roster includes Jamiroquai, 12 Stones, Alien Ant Farm, and Khleo Thomas.

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20 Responses

  1. half baked

    take it from the guy who signed late-career alien ant farm

  2. Just Llvin' the dream

    Hey, at least they wrote and own that huge smash of theirs “Smooth Criminal”. ……..oh wait.

    Good grammar from an executive.

  3. eric

    It’s written bluntly but it’s pretty much true. I used to run an indie label in the early 2000s and all of the artists we signed were people we ended up seeing play live locally, that we liked and could draw a crowd. The one exception though is that there is no harm in reaching out to people to invite them to shows or find other ways to get their attention indirectly without dropping a demo on their desk. We were once asked by a band to participate in our compilation and meanwhile they invited us to their show. We liked them and ended up signing them. The only demo we DID end up signing was from an overseas band that had a pretty strong package in hand already with them (foreign press, album ready, video, photos, tour dates and grant dollars from their country to actually come over) AND they were coming over to play shows for us to see. But the rest were all through our own findings. It happens but playing live constantly is the best way to get anyone’s attention if you’re drawing a crowd.

  4. @Charly_SDDD

    Les amis de tes amis sont… tes artistes.

  5. SamR @ Projekt.com

    Actually quite true. A lot of bands that Projekt signed opened up for my band (Black Tape For A Blue Girl) or were recommendation from artists on the label. A few were recommended by journalists we trust. I’d say that after the first few years, less than 5% of the signees came as demos in the mail (or email). Sam

  6. Sonia Buckley Singer/Songwrite

    It would be wonderful for you to come and see me but you would have to catch a plane to Australia…and head high into the mountains…your welcome if you feel like a holiday! Otherwise catch me at http://www.soniabuckely.bandcamp.com i think you would like a song called Sleepy Hollow. Enjoy x

  7. @corykeys

    All musicians and artist should READ this!

  8. Naive people

    Yes all musicians should read and do this. All of them. So that they continue to behave like monkeys. Keep on doing what the blogs tell you to do.

    It worked really nice for musicians the last 10 years or so…

  9. Bob

    He may not listen to demos but overall it’s bad advice.

    For the hundreds of demos that are being sent in each week that you are not listening too..there could be an ADELE.

    Plus, I doubt he gets hundreds of demos each week. At best 1 or 2. SO that’s just plain laziness or “I don’t care attitude”.

    At least the scouts at major labels are sifting through music..

  10. Stephen

    Why dont music execs, label folks and A&R peeps just do their jobs. Listening to music submissions is part of your job. period.

  11. Crowder

    alright, maybe that was a little harsh, but c’mon…your job is to discover new music and sign good artists. I know the harsh reality is that most execs don’t listen to demos and that opening up for bands is a very good way to be discovered; but to come out say it like that (“I listen to zero demos”) is verifying the harsh view that non-label execs have about people like you: that you’re all lazy, snobby and uninterested in finding and nurturing new artists.

  12. Crowder

    alright, maybe that was a little harsh, but c’mon…your job is to discover new music and sign good artists. I know the harsh reality is that most execs don’t listen to demos and that opening up for bands is a very good way to be discovered; but to come out say it like that (“I listen to zero demos”) is verifying the harsh view that non-label execs have about people like you: that you’re all lazy, snobby and uninterested in finding and nurturing new artists.

  13. emilyxgrace

    This is all very true. I interned with an indie label a few months ago, and we received anywhere from 50 to 150 demo’s per week. The interns would be handed the demos to listen to, and would pass along the demos of the bands who fit the label’s genre and had true talent. Most of the bands that I saw signed while working with this label were all found by opening for the label’s artists and/ or becoming friends with the labels executives and bands. Simply mailing in a demo just doesn’t show enough effort today. In order to make waves in the industry, band really needs to work to make those contacts, and make a name for themselves for a label to actually want to take an interest in them.