Hiring a band manager isn’t the ultimate goal of most artists. You want to make music and hopefully – make a living while putting out your music.
Even though there are some great reasons for working with a manager, you can do quite a bit on your own. As an indie artist, you can still create music, tour, and even get record deals.
While it would take dozens of articles to walk you through every single step, we can give you an overview of how to get a record deal without hiring a band manager.
The following 7 stages will give a general idea of what it takes to get ahead on your own. It will require hard work and a commitment to succeed. But, if you truly want to make a living in the music world, you need to be willing to give it everything that you have.
#1 –Practice, Practice, Practice!
The first stage is developing your craft. You need to make music that people want to listen to.
Whether you’re a solo artist or part of a band, you need to practice as much as possible. Improve your skills. Continue to expand your repertoire.
#2 – Start Making Your Own Music
Of course, you need to make your own music. But, it’s even better if you can start recording your own music.
Thanks to modern technology, it’s more affordable to purchase the minimum equipment needed to record music in a home studio. You need a computer, a digital audio workstation, and a way to record music – such as a mixer.
#3 – Start Playing Live Gigs
You also need to start playing live gigs. This is the most effective way to build your fan base. Start researching all the venues in your area that have live music.
Make a list of every location within traveling distance. Next, cross off the locations that don’t play your type of music. With your modified list, add the contact information for each location and any other notes.
Start contacting these locations to learn more about their booking procedure. Find out who’s responsible for booking, how much they pay, and any other details.
#4 – Build Your Own Website
The next stage is building your own website and setting up social media profiles for your music. Your website is your central online address for everything related to your music. It should include a discography, links to your music, links to your electronic press kit, links to social media, and information for upcoming appearances and live shows.
If you’ve never built a website, you should start with something simple. WordPress offers the easiest solution for people that don’t have experience building websites. The following video walks you through the steps of setting up your first WordPress site:
#5 – Promote Your Music Online
With your website in place, you can start promoting your music online. You should use a combination of online resources to achieve this. This includes:
- Uploading your music to online music streaming sites – SoundCloud, Spotify, and iTunes
- Including links to your music through your website
- Keeping your website updated with your latest music, along with dates for live shows and appearances
- Posting frequently on social media – with a combination of promotional posts and content that you find online
- Setting up an email marketing campaign to manage your emails and build a mailing list
- Submitting press releases in order to promote new albums or upcoming tours
These steps will require you to regularly post updates and stick to a consistent schedule. Several hours per week should be all that you need to regularly update your site, social media profiles, and manage your email marketing campaigns.
#6 – Create an Electronic Press Kit
An electronic press kit is a collection of material related to your music. This includes an artist biography, discography, professional photos, review highlights, and a selection of your latest music.
With the other stages completed, you should be able to compile a quality electronic press kit. Search our site for more informative articles on writing effective artist biographies and creating EPKs.
You basically need to create each of these documents and make them available online. They can be placed in a folder and uploaded to your web hosting account or compiled into a PDF and uploaded to your account. This makes it easier for people to access your EPK. Instead of attaching a large file in an email, you can simply include a link to your online EPK.
#7 – Start Reaching Out to Indie Labels
After you’ve completed all the other stages, you should be ready to start reaching out to indie labels. You’ll send them an email with the link to your EPK. The subject line should clearly state that you’re reaching out in order for them to check out your music. Here are a few examples:
- Are you looking for new artists?
- Our latest album needs a new home!
- Introducing the latest sound in [City Name]!
It should be short and grab their attention, without revealing too many details. The body of your email should get to the point immediately.
Thank them for taking the time to read the email. Then, immediately compliment them – you could mention that you really liked the last album from one of their other artists. Just make sure that this compliment is genuine and not just hype.
Then, mention that you’ve been around for a while and are looking for a way to reach a larger audience. Invite them to listen to your music and check out your EPK.
Include a short call to action that links directly to your online EPK. Below this call to action, include your contact information – including phone number and email address.
Send these emails out to two or three labels. Hopefully, you’ll get a few bites. Wait for responses from these labels before you start contacting other labels.
Final Thoughts on Getting a Record Deal without Hiring a Band Manager
A band manager isn’t always required in order to get a record deal. While they can get you in the door at certain record labels, there are smaller labels that are willing to work with indie artists.
Use these tips to start your path to getting your own record deal. In addition to these suggestions, you can find even more helpful tips in Music Management for Indie Artists – our complete DIY guide to making a living with a career in music!