Demo Submission Etiquette

So you’re in this band, you’ve recorded some demos, and you’re ready to submit them to a label. Now what?

We’re glad you asked.

First, be very sure that you’re ready to submit. In other words, make sure the songs and the performances are not only good enough, but great enough. Most labels (especially indies) will remember that you’ve already submitted. We keep records of these things (no pun intended) and we will judge you. (No. Just kidding. We’re nice. But.)

Second, be aware of the four cardinal rules of demo submission.

1) Include 1 – 3 songs. Do not, under any circumstances, send more than your 3 best songs.

You: But I’ve self-released three albums, and those are way better than the demos I’m working on now.
Us: That’s great! Send us 1-3 of those songs.

You: But my entire album is singles. Seriously, it’s awesome.
Us: We are loving the confidence! Send us 1-3 of those songs.

You: None of my songs are singles! What do I do?
Us: Ask your drummer for a hug (little known industry secret: drummers give the best hugs). Then send us 1-3 of those non-single-y songs.

Please don’t assume that your music needs to be “radio friendly,” whatever that means to you. Send us the songs that you think show your best work.

2) PLEASE SUBMIT DIGITALLY.

What do you think this is, 1989? Just say no to postage, ace. You’re a musician. That $3 is the difference between dinner and no dinner, and here at Bright Antenna we understand that. Furthermore, we hate plastic and clutter. That means we don’t really like CDs all that much. (Welcome to the future.) Plus, the envelopes give us paper cuts, and that’s really not our kink. Especially not during Happy Hour, because lime + paper cuts = no bueno.

3) Use proper grammar, address and a professional tone.
Remember that you are not Sid Vicious. Indie labels have very limited rosters, and we’re drawn to talented, intelligent people who seem pleasant to work with. So think of your submission as a job application. This might be rock and roll, but you’re essentially asking people who don’t know you to like your music enough to help you make an album and go on tour. That’s asking a lot, so be nice. Grammar and spelling are huge at BA. Four of the seven team members are writers, and did we say earlier that we won’t judge you? That was a joke. We will judge you.

4) Be respectful! (This one is so important we had to turn it in to an exclamation!)
Do not…
…ask us for feedback
…cc a ton of labels in one mass submission
…sound like Creed (this one speaks for itself)
…et cetera, et cetera

We’re sure your band is awesome, and we’re looking forward to hearing your stuff. But we get many, many submissions. We cannot possibly send feedback to everyone. We’ll let you know if we like it, trust us.

As for the mass submission email, that’s just tacky. And lazy. Like a good boyfriend, you gotta make us feel special.

You sound like Creed? Well, this is awkward. Have you even listened to the bands we work with? You should be familiar with the label’s aesthetic before you submit. There’s definitely wiggle room, but…not that much.

Bottom line: respect us, and we’ll respect you. R-E-S-P-E-C-T. It makes the world go ‘round, buddy.

Just give us the basics: who, what, where & why
Who are you?
What do you have going on?
Where are you from?
Why Bright Antenna?

We don’t need more than that. And like we said, if we like the music, we’ll reach out to you for more information. Don’t be scared by a short submission email. We love the short ones.

Want to see a sample submission? No? Too bad.

SAMPLE SUBMISSION

To Whom It May Concern / Dear [LABEL NAME] / To the [LABEL NAME] A&R Team:

We’re [BAND NAME] from [CITY, STATE or COUNTRY]. We’re huge fans of indie labels, but we think Bright Antenna is the greatest label ever created. We would love it if you could listen to our music. We were featured recently on/in [BLOG or MAGAZINE] and you can watch a recent interview and a few other videos on our website.

We recorded our demo in the back of my mom’s station wagon as we traveled the Pacific Northwest opening for The Dublin Express.* We’ve attached our three song demo [or submitted on SoundCloud], press release and band photo here.

We hope you like it!

Thanks,
[YOUR NAME]
website link

*You probably didn’t do this. That’s okay. That’s not even a band. That’s our dog.

You may not have any press coverage or an interview ready to share. That’s okay. But at least have a BandCamp or Facebook page loaded with some content, such as live performances or videos. These don’t need to be fancy (although audible audio is always a plus). They just need to give an idea of your band personality.

That’s the ticket to a great submission: songs, content and R-E-S-P-E-C-T.

And that’s it! That’s all you need to know in order to submit to an indie label as awesome as Bright Antenna.

You’re welcome.
~Bright Antenna Records