Getting signed to an established label is not easy. There are thousands of talented acts out there, all fighting for a few open slots.
This means if you want to be chosen, you cannot hold back. You’ve got to do many things to make the right impression and stand-out from the crowd.
One of the most vital (yet often overlooked) parts of doing this is professional mastering.
You can think of mastering as the „Polish“ that makes your music sparkle. It is what gives your music the professional, „Big label“ sound by bringing-out the best in it.
And this is vital. Because when the A & R manager has a big stack of demos to go through, he or she is going to give very few of them a serious listen.
Some are going to get dumped on the spot based on first impressions. While, others are going to fail to grab his or her full attention.
Moreover, even if you are the most talented artist on the managers‘ desk, that does NOT mean he or she is going to realize it… because your demo just did not stand-out enough when stacked-up against those of better quality.
You see, mastering communicates that you’re a serious act… and, as a result, encourages those listening to give your music the deep look it deserves.
It does this by:
• Making all the sounds cohesive,
• Increasing the loudness to grab attention,
• Bringing-out the right instruments or vocals in the best amounts,
• Helping to eliminate or reduce errors (that can occurr during the recording and mixing),
• Plus, much more depending on what you and the mastering engineer feel the songs need.
In other words, mastering gives your music that little extra edge you need to get signed… because it allows you to be pictured as a successful act.
And this is what the key to getting signed is all about. The label must see you as an investment that is going to pay-off quickly and easily without a lot of effort.
Mastering paints this picture and helps get you a deal so as many people as possible get to experience your music long into the future.
With that said, you should also keep in mind that there is a world of difference between a professional mastering engineer and an amateur.
A professional knows what to listen for, the exact adjustments that need to be made (as the wrong ones can ruin the music), and has the equipment to do a serious job.
You should not expect a „Big label“ sound by doing it yourself on a home computer or by hiring an amateur who doesn’t fully understand the aspects of „real“ mastering.