We have talked about the basics of making music: the arrangement, choosing the right sounds, the equipment (although I am biased to Pioneer when it comes to DJing), the mix, studio setup, etc. There are more than a few magazines and websites and places to go to get more info. For example, Sound on Sound is my favorite, among a number of publications. Loopmasters and dancemidi.com are a great resource for finding sounds if you’re a beginner.
So, what’s next? Well, once you feel your music is ready, there are a few options available to you. But before you put yourself “out there” for the world to see and hear, let’s talk about presentation. I can’t tell you enough how sad it is the amount of music that gets trashed before it’s listened to because it comes with a “smiley face” and no contact info. What are we, five? Presentation is everything, and if it’s done right, you will be taken seriously. You want to come across as professional—someone people want to work with.
I prefer to get a simple email with a link to your SoundCloud page and a paragraph about you—no more! Email through Facebook, that is the beauty nowadays, you can get ahold of anyone! I will spend approximately one minute listening to probably three tracks, which is harsh, but if you don’t have my attention by then, I’m over it. Time is a precious commodity, and if you’re good, it will hit me like a bullet.
Do not feel the need to share your life story—yawn. The last thing a label needs to listen to is some nutter describing how they are locked in a basement making music in Seattle because it rains all day.
If you have to give a CD, make sure you print a label on your CD with all the relevant contact info. Pictures of yourself on the CD are a bad idea (I’m not kidding, I get those too), unless of course you look like Brad Pitt, Casey Affleck or Ryan Reynolds—you get the picture! Include a note (preferably typed on letterhead) with abrief explanation of who you are (this is why a small bio is a good idea) and why you think this label is right for your music. That’s right, you have to think about where you feel your music fits; no good sending drum & bass to a house label like Subliminal or Impropa Talent, when you know it needs to go to Propa Talent! Don’t spend all your time gushing about how great you think the label/DJ is. Be professional at all times; after all, we are all the same—no one is God here, and we are not saving lives, so polite and directly to the point is the way to go.
Lastly, if you get no response, do follow up; many DJs/labels need a gentle “prod,” mainly because they are busy. I always try to give feedback, whether I like the track or not. Some don’t bother, and I am sorry, as I think it would really help out the new blood. If you get no love at all, don’t keep at them. Why would you want to be on a label that doesn’t give a shit anyway?
I hope you find this useful; it certainly helped me. And yes, I have sent a “smiley” CD out when I was a young raver myself, so I can say whatever I damn well like! Lol.