Like tailoring a resume to a specific job description, you can greatly increase the impact that your demo package will have by knowing exactly who your audience is. The person that you should be most concerned with is the Artist & Repertoire Representative, also known as the A&R rep. It is the A&R rep's job to find new artists to sign and to develop their careers into a success story. Most bands get heard by A&R reps the same way you are trying to get heard - by sending them a good package. As a result, not only do you want the A&R rep to get your demo package, but also you want it to knock his/her socks off! Getting in good with an A&R rep is the best chance you have for getting signed to a record deal.

So what can you do, aside from send a demo? Well, this is where it starts to get a little fuzzy. There is not a single record label out there that will sign a band solely on hearing a demo. So expect an interested A&R rep to want to see your band perform live.

Here are some ways to find an A&R rep:

  • First, try a contact directory like the CMJ Directory (published by the College Music Journal), The Musician's Atlas, or the Musicians' Guide To Touring and Promoting. These will give you a good list of record labels (and some other good contacts such as clubs, radio stations, and press outlets).

  • Since you are playing in a band that has some level of local name recognition, it probably wouldn't hurt to ask local club owners, record store proprietors, music directors, or editors whether they know anyone at a good record label who might be interested in receiving your demo package. It can't hurt to try.
  • Showcases. The question often comes up about whether or not showcases (e.g., South By Southwest (SXSW), North By Northeast (NXNE), CMJ, etc. are effective and appropriate ways to get your band noticed by record labels. The answer is a resounding yes! Given any chance for your band to get in the eye of the public - and the industry-types - you should go for it. Unfortunately, getting into these sorts of showcases can often be difficult for an unsigned band.

SoYouWanna know more? Check out our full-length article SYW get signed to a record label?