It is daunting, not meant for those who doubt themselves. If you thought you can sing alone in a bar, get seen by a record manager and become famous overnight, you got yourself a nice little fiction piece that can be made into a movie. But even that won't be original, there's already a million movies that go just like this one.
The music industry is harsh; you may not find your way and if you do, every turn taken can lead to a wrong place. Something like getting noticed by a record label is important. It is life-changing and needs that much attention and grit. If you don't have the brain, attitude and the personality to become big, words written here will not really mean much.
How to Get Noticed by a Record Label
But singing alone in a studio is not going to get you anywhere. No matter how dissimilar these tasks may seem from you, they are important to you and not to anyone else, so let's get to it.
Perhaps the most important thing you need to do. Call it mingling with the right crowd or whatever, this needs to be done. Your network of people already in the music business will determine how popular you can get and therefore, you need to constantly temper your chances of getting noticed.
What you need to do here is get some research done; follow-up on the better managers, DJs, radio and TV personalities out there.
Find out what's going on in your local music scene, get to know other artists. You may hate someone's music, but there will always be something you can learn from, whether it pertains to what you should do or shouldn't. Whatever you do, do not stay behind. Always follow through on whatever contacts you create, without being too pushy or an egoist.
Your favorite is the one you enjoy playing and so, perform better. That gets the manager's attention. Your music will be the first impression on most managers and producers. Be sure to make the tape of your best recording and best songs. Even if you compromise on output quality a bit (budget problems or whatever), don't hold back on the style and energy.
Even if five people listen to the track, one has to be paying attention to it. If he/she likes it, congratulations, you got yourself a radio fan! You can also try to get noticed through the Internet.
Always keep spare CDs of your demo tracks stored just in case. Take one with you wherever you go and store the rest. You never know who you're going to meet and whether they are going to ask you for a demo tape again. The trick here is to get people to know your music, not your song; you don't want to be a one hit wonder now, do you?
Knowing Your Genre
This is some very serious self-discovery stuff. It's okay in the beginning (before you start on dedicated gigs) if you tell people that you like to experiment and that you may use distortion but you're just rock and not really metal. But it is now time to face the music, literally. Give yourself a good listen and figure out what genre you fall under.
If you think getting tagged under one specific genre will mean you getting lost in it, you would be wrong. If you think calling yourself 'alternate' just because you don't want to go mainstream is valid, there are tens of thousands of artists out there saying the same thing, which means you have just as good a chance to get lost there or 'become mainstream'.
Seriously, lose the hipster attitude and decide once what kind of music you want to play. It will be the genre you will eventually stick to, like and define. Of course you have all the space in the world to experiment, but drifting too far away from one genre would only mean losing the fans you earned in the first one.
Demonstrate Your Ability to Make Profits
This is very important to the manager. If you make music for the heck of it, you shouldn't mind staying underground. But if you want to make it big, you'll need money. You need to earn it for yourself. A good manager understands the balance between art and cash flow, and if you reciprocate the same attitude, he will be impressed.
More often than not, be playing at some pub where nobody listens to your music and are busy drinking the night away. Take the chance and get the drunks to have a good time. Some of them just might come back the next day to listen to what they heard the last night, but couldn't really get it.
Drunk people are the easiest to impress, they are open, mostly happy, without inhibitions and are the kind of people who will tell you over and over how your music is (good or bad). Understand that crowd popularity takes time to sink in and you need to work up that stage presence and tighten the performance to get it right.
If you're doing a stage gig (with or without other bands/artists), do not hesitate or hold back. Give it all you got and hopefully, you'll have someone out there actually listening.
You will never run out of competitions, but you will run out of chances to impress. If you have entered say 15 rock-offs and won just one or two, it's time to head back to the studio and rework your music.
Competitions are the best way to know other bands or artists that are trying to surface. Knowing what you are includes a small part of knowing what the rest are. If you can get what they play, think of a way to get better than them and more importantly, better than what you are right now.
The way you look is very important to the number of people you're going to impress. Start working out a little, you'll need the stamina to do stage shows anyway. More importantly, don't turn to drugs or alcohol.
You may think it's cool or you may think it helps you make music; you're only kidding yourself. The only thing it's going to get you is negative publicity over your image, which removes all attention from your music.
Use it right and you shall get noticed. Start a band website, link it to social networks like Facebook and Twitter. Keep updating it, always upload tracks that are different from each other. The same type of tracks go very far away from each other. Keep it attractive and keep it fresh, you need to impress every single hit you get.
You'll also come across websites that try to promote new bands and get people to listen to them. Find out where they are and try to get your music on their sites. But always make sure of the credentials first.
Whatever you do, at the end of the day, you're doing it because you want to make it big in music. Don't be disheartened if you don't catch a break or see someone else like you climbing up the ladder, your time will soon come. Just keep working on it and never look back.