The Four Most Probable Reasons You’re Still Not Signed

Written by Michael Eastwood Founder & CEO of Mastermind Promotion

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The Four Most Probably Reasons You’re Still Not Signed

There are two types of unsigned bands and artists doing the rounds these days. On one side there are those who have no intention of signing to a record label, while on the other you’ll find the ones that are desperate to land a deal but can’t. In this instance, it is the latter group we will be focusing on, given the way in which the former is probably quite happy with their collective situation.

Scoring a record deal represents the holy grail for hundreds of thousands of musicians all over the country. Of course, the vast majority know and accept the fact that it’s a real one-in-a-million game, but this doesn’t stop them going for gold with this specific life goal. Trouble is, the longer you hold out and the less you get in return, the more frustrating it all becomes. Which counts double if you genuinely believe you have nailed the whole package down to the ground and yet are still being passed up by every label out there.

The question being – why is this happening?

Well, the truth of the matter is that it could come down to a thousand and one different things. More often than not though, you’ll probably find it’s one of these most common reasons why so many bands and artists all over the world find it difficult, even impossible to land a record deal.

  1. You Don't Have a Following

It’s the quintessential example of the whole ‘chicken and egg’ scenario. You know your music is awesome and need a record company to help showcase you in front of the world. Unfortunately, no record company wants to touch you because for the time being at least, you don’t have a dedicated audience. You need one in order to get the other both ways around…catch-22 and a massive headache.

The trouble is, the vast majority of record labels these days are unwilling to take chances. Instead, they prefer to opt for bands and artists they see as no-brainers – the kinds that come with their own insurance policies in the form of strong following. But what makes the whole thing even more of a dead-end situation is that once you’ve established a following big enough to attract a record label, you’d probably do well staying independent. Still, if a record contract is what you’re after, you need to invest heavily in building a strong fan-base first.

  1. The Package Is Lacking

There are two things you need to remember when it comes to putting together the total package. First of all, exceptional musical talent really isn’t enough. Quite the contrary in fact, as these days you’ll be judged just as heavily on the way you look and how the package as a whole comes together as you will based on the music you produce. Secondly, record labels these days have no interest in taking a blank canvas and moulding it into exactly the package they are looking for. This used to be the way business was done, but not anymore.

If you are confident that your music is outstanding and your commitment is total, chances are it’s something else to do with the package that isn’t working. Maybe something to do with your stage presence? Perhaps your overall persona and image? There’s a lot to consider when it comes to the total package record companies are looking for, but if you have even one element missing, don’t expect them to help you find the missing piece.

  1. You're Not Working Hard Enough

There are far too many bands and musicians out there who think that it is enough to lay down a few decent tracks, get busy on social media and wait for the offers to roll in. Quite simply, it’s nothing of the sort. You will only ever appeal to most record labels and executives if you are already working with the same kind of commitment and consistency as an established/signed band.

Which basically means a case of non-stop gigging and touring, always working on new material, remaining active on the scene, getting involved with your audience, promoting, marketing and basically pretending that you have already made it. Record labels are not looking for amateur hour – they want the kind of professionals that are pretty much ready to go. Approach your music as something casual or ‘on the side’ and you’ve no chance.

  1. You’re a Mess

Last but not least, it could very well be that it simply comes down to something to do with you yourself, your personality, your approach of your reputation. Or for that matter, any other member of your band.

If you have become known as (or present yourself as) arrogant, emotionally or mentally unstable, dependent on drugs or alcohol, short on focus, low on commitment or generally as a bit of a jerk, nobody is going to want to go anywhere near you. It’s one thing to capitalise on controversy once you’ve hit the big time – it simply won’t work at the level you’re at right now.