How To Reach A&R, Get Signed: 2020 Edition

While much has changed in the music business – particularly within the last year – the age old question remains for many eager up and coming artists: how to do I capture the attention of the A&R and get signed?

Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix

The latest episode of Music Biz answers a timeless question: How do I get the attention of the music industry and make my dreams a reality?

AC/DC has a lot of songs with honest messages. Some of those sentiments may be a little lewd, such as “You Shook Me All Night Long,” but the takeaway is not up for debate. She was the best damn woman that he’d ever seen.

No song in all of music history has a more accurate depiction of life in the entertainment business than AC/DC’s “It’s A Long Way To The Top.” The 1975 single tells listeners that the only way to get ahead in rock is to put in the work. Success does not come to those who wish for it, but rather those that wake up every day and fight for it. There is no other way ahead. At least, no way that truly matters.

Still, every week, industry professionals everywhere are asked how an artist gets ahead. Everyone wants to know who they need to call or email to get a deal, and once if they learn of someone in a position to make such an offer, they then want their contact information.

That idea comes from a traditional vision of the music business that no longer exists. A&R professionals are no longer a group of mysteries strangers hiding away in the back of rock clubs seeking the next band that will go platinum. Today’s A&R careers are data-driven efforts that rely on social media follower counts and various music charts to prove an artist’s value.

The notion that anyone in a position of power is taking a chance on someone who has yet to prove their ability to make people click on stuff is foolish. It’s silly to imagine a high-ranking music professional rolling the metaphorical dice because a band played one great set when analytics exist. The talent that getts signed today achieves that feat by positioning themselves for success before the industry gives them the slightlest consideration. It’s all about forward momentum, and that generating that movement is the job of the artist.

On this episode of Music Biz, host James Shotwell breaks down the secret to getting noticed in music today. It’s not about cold-calling professionals or shooting emails into inboxes where they will never be read. Success today is only possible through one thing, and James is going to tell you what that is in the video below:

James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.

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