Your promo kit is critical when you are trying to get a deal, so make sure you spend enough time and money on it. In many cases, your promotional package will be your first impression to someone in the music industry, so it has to be as professional as possible. Take into account that whoever is viewing your package has seen hundreds, if not thousands, of promo kits. So don’t expect to wow them with a huge package that proves you’re the greatest thing since sliced bread. Keep it simple, lean, and clean. You really only need a short biography, a good picture, an example of your music, and maybe some sort of press information.
Put all of that in a nice binder that can be kept together easily, and make sure that your name, address, phone, and other contact information are printed on everything that will be removed from the package, including the cassette case and the cassette, or the CD case and the CD. I’ve received lots of packages, and sometimes I’ve lost the CD cover but had the CD, or vice versa. Even if I thought the music was great, sometimes I couldn’t get in touch with the artist because there was no contact information on the CD.
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The real upside to signing with any of the major labels is that they have the money for big recording budgets, tour support, and the like. Also, the Big 5 labels have the marketing and promotion muscle to make sure your record is played on the radio in all major markets. However, the major record labels are a lot like a big cruise ship—once they get moving in one direction, they have a really hard time stopping or turning in other directions, such as niche markets that can be very profitable for all those involved. So even if you can’t get a deal with a major record label, you should not give up, because there are always the independent labels.
What is an independent record label?
An independent record label is basically any label that is not affi liated with any of the Big 5, and that uses different distributors than the major labels to get its music to the retailers. An independent label may be the only place you can go for a record deal, especially if your music is not in the mainstream or doesn’t have huge market potential.
But this doesn’t mean that these independent labels can’t help you out. In fact, often they’re better suited to niche markets and can adapt more readily to changes in the marketplace. Furthermore, an independent label may be much more willing to take a chance on developing an act even after the majors have passed it.
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