So you wanna get your band signed?
I grew up in San Diego and saw the amazing journey of a band called Blink 182 (maybe you've heard of them) as they went from just three dudes who played in their garage, to international superstars.
If you want to know how to get your band signed, know that there is no specific formula, and a lot of times it's just a lot of luck. Maybe it's a random person with connections who attends one of your local shows and thinks your band is awesome, or someone powerful who finds you on YouTube. No matter how it happens, there are always some consitent factors that you should understand to give you and your band the best chance of getting signed.
1. Make Good Music
If you're not making good music, then you're just going to blend in with everyone else and never get noticed. Bottom-line, you have to have good, unique songs. The style doesn't matter, but the emotion other people feel from it does.
2. Practice as Much as Possible
All bands that get signed understand that their music and band can never practice too much. This will improve the quality of your demos, as well as your live shows that you perform, which we'll talk about later. You should be ready to make sacrifices of some things that you'd rather do, and although you probably don't want to practice 24/7, try.
3. Start Local
You're not going to be an international superstar overnight (usually), so the best thing to do is grow a local fan base, and expand from there. Try to book gigs at local venues, and even do it for free if you have to. It's all about exposure, so the more you play, the more fans you'll get, and the better off you'll be.
4. Take Things Online
A lot of bands fail to utilize the crazy potential that comes with playing music online. Using things like Facebook, MySpace, iTunes and YouTube will all help you expose your band. People are very critical online (hence #2 - Practice as Much as Possible), but if you're good, they'll be raving fans and not be afraid to spread the word through their social networks. This is how phenomenon Justin Beiber started, as well as other superstars.
Getting signed is not out of reach, but the more you reach out there, the better chance you will have.
5. Cut a High-Quality Demo Tape
Ok, maybe not a "tape" (you'll probably get laughed at), but a cd or disc of your bands' songs. You'll want this demo to be the highest of quality, which means you're going to have to spend a little bit of money for studio time, or really nice home recording equipment. You don't want the reason your band doesn't get signed to be because the quality of the recordings sucked.
If you can, find a producer to help record the songs for you. Create a professional CD label to go along with it, since you want to give yourself the best chance for your band's songs to be listened to. Even before your disc is picked up, decisions are being made by radio stations and producers about what they like and don't.
6. Use Online Band Resources
Sign up for websites like unsigned.com, and unsignedbandweb.com, which all have people looking for new talent who may be able to help you get to the next level.
7. Never Give Up
Sometimes, it just takes time to get signed. Another local band here in San Diego, called Unwritten Law, took 7 years until they finally got off the ground. It can happen to you, you just have to give yourself time to get noticed and get signed.
Good luck, and I'll see you at the top!