Having talent is of course a key component of artists’ success. But how do you get exposure in the music industry as a singer?
Learn how to get noticed as a singer and you’ll go from being an unknown to having a respected profile and potential long term career. This in turn will attract talent scouts, labels, followers and fans. But it will involve some hard work and savvy marketing.
Read this article to find out more about how the professional music world works and the ways to ensure your voice is heard.
How to get noticed as a singer
Being in the right place at the right time is vital. The more you put yourself ‘out there’ (both digitally and physically) the more likely it is you’ll be noticed by someone who can help take your music to the next level.
You can’t be too picky about where you want to play your music when you start out. If someone is willing to give time to perform, take it. Any experience is good, so try to get a regular spot at a venue as it will help increase your visibility locally. Playing at a variety of different places also helps you to realise the type of crowd you attract to a venue and can help you alter your performance accordingly.
If you’re starting off, try and find some smaller gigs such as open mic nights, before embarking on bigger shows. When you’re looking to build relationships with people and get noticed in the music industry always come across as professional. That means turning up on time, being respectful and be well-rehearsed. Being rude to people to convey ‘coolness’ rarely ever makes people respond well to you.
How to get discovered as a singer
When it comes to practice, you definitely need to put the hours in if you want to get noticed – even the best singers do warm-ups to help with breath control and pitching.
Don’t just think about how much you practice, but also how you practice. Always make sure you’re focused and productive during your practice sessions. If you’re a singer do vocal exercises regularly, if you’re an instrumentalist keep practising those scales. Getting a good teacher will also help you in the process of developing an amazing technique, helping you really stand out.
You should have a press pack, including your demo CD, a background to your act, a typical setlist and a high–quality photo. You may be giving this to record labels with your demo CD so it must be worked thoroughly on.
How to get into the music industry in the UK
If you have a song that’s good quality, there will be plenty of local community radio stations that would love to feature your music. Google your city’s name followed by ‘radio stations’ to find the right radio shows to email – if the presenters like the song you send them, they can help you get your music noticed by playing your song on their show
As an artist starting out though, one of the best platforms for showcasing upcoming artists is definitely BBC Introducing. Everywhere in the UK has a local BBC Introducing that you can upload your best tracks to online.
The hosts, themselves, are often respected people in the industry. If they enjoy your song they not only have the power to play your song to a wide audience, but they can also push your music to the bigger stations. You may get noticed by a lot of influential people this way.
How do you get exposure in the music industry?
You also need to have your music on streaming platforms. Not only will it help you grow your fan base – by allowing your listeners to listen to your music for free – it’ll help you get noticed by appearing on playlists. As an independent artist, the best sites that you can use to upload your tracks are distributors like CD Baby or DistroKid. These services require a small payment to upload music to Spotify, but it’s definitely worth it.
There are three types of Spotify playlist:
These are the best types of playlists to be on. They’re created by people who work at Spotify. They usually have a huge amount of followers because a lot of time is put into finding the right music for the playlist. Significant industry people will definitely be paying attention to what gets on these playlists.
These are generated automatically by Spotify. The track list is based on an individual user’s music taste, allowing them to listen to tracks they love whilst also discovering new music. This is a great way to get your music noticed by new people.
These are often the easiest to get on because you can find the curator and get in contact with them directly. These types of playlists won’t say “Created by Spotify” at the top, they’ll say the name of the curator. If they don’t have a submissions email in the description, your best bet is to Google the playlist curator and get in contact with them via Facebook, Instagram or their website. Some of these playlists have decent followings, increasing the chances of your song getting noticed.
Smaller community magazines are often the best publications to approach when you’re starting out and want to get noticed in the local scene. They love to feature upcoming music that’s surrounded by a little bit of hype and local support. Some can actually have significant reach and you never know who might be reading.
How do you stand out in the music industry?
Having your own unique ‘image’ is often overlooked by many smaller artists in the industry. It might not be something you want to focus on when you’re starting out, but it’s something record labels will notice if they’re thinking about signing you as an artist.
As an artist you need to have the “whole package”, right down to your style choices and social media artwork, it needs to be uniform and consistent. Your image should complement your music and make you stand out in a positive way too. Try to develop something unique that stands out about yourself and your style – market it to the right audience (people who will relate best to you).
Even singers and artists who don’t appear to have an ‘image’ in the traditional sense still have an identity. So try to find something special about you that people can appreciate but can also relate to.
How to get noticed by a record label
There’s no easy way to get signed to a record label. If you really want to get your music noticed you’ll need to put the hours in and hone your sound. Work on your social media, network with industry professionals, create a strong image and always be professional. If you build your video and streaming portfolio you’ll be much more likely to get noticed in the music industry than someone who expects all the work to be done for them. Labels want self-starters who can already evidence a following, as well as a raw talent.
Record labels get swamped by thousands of emails to their front desks every single day. The chances of you getting a record label to listen to your music this way are very slim. If you want to get noticed by a record label, you need to have a dedicated fan base online and in real life. Build up enough followers and the labels will sit up and take notice. Or you can enter a large scale singing competition like TeenStar or Open Mic UK. If you do well you can be sure the eyes of talent scouts will be upon you. This can also be a route to attracting a talent manager who will help you get noticed further.
How to get my music noticed online
When you’re trying to break out and get noticed as an artist in the music industry, you need to promote your music in every possible way. Social media is one of the best ways to help you convey your message
Facebook, Instagram, and Twitter are a great method for artists to promote music – because they’re free! You can also promote your content to a targeted audience. Posting too little can mean people forget about you.
If you have loads of content, consider spreading it out over all of your platforms. It’ll give people a reason to like and follow you, meaning you’re seen more frequently. Try and use the same URL address for each social media site. This increases your searchability as an artist and makes you easier to find. You will need to customise your Facebook URL as you are given a random series of characters to start off with, which doesn’t appear on search engines.
Blogs are also a great way to spread awareness of your music online, helping it get noticed by the right people. Many online blogs are run by individuals who would love to review your single if it’s good a good story or campaign behind it.
How to get noticed as a singer on YouTube
With the popularity of working in the music industry rising, getting noticed seems to be becoming harder and harder. With the rise of YouTube, though, it’s becoming easier and easier to connect with the right people and market your music to them effectively. Use the same display pictures, backgrounds, and names as you do for your social sites. This strengthens your brand as an artist.
A&R often hang out online as well as at gigs. Spread yourself everywhere and get the word out about your musical project. Keep working on your craft too – you’ll hopefully be spotted by someone who can offer you something big.
Singers discovered on YouTube
Sandi Thom was one of the first artists to launch a hit song (I Wish I Was A Punk Rocker With Flowers In My Hair) purely via the medium or video. Since then countless artists have got their big breaks on YouTube.
At age 12, Justin Bieber was posting homemade videos of himself on YouTube and industry insiders soon starting taking notice. There was a bidding war on working with Justin, but Usher won out and had him signed to Island Def Jam Recordings. More artists who found fame and fortune on the platform include:
- Shawn Mendes
- Cody Simpson
- Dua Lipa
- Charlie Puth
- Alessia Cara
- Tori Kelly
- 5 Seconds of Summer
- Carly Rae Jepsen
It’s now so important to really show you can bring value to your audience. People who love music want to invest in not only your music but also you as an individual. And always remember, getting noticed by the right people takes time.
- Can anyone make it in the music industry?
Only those with talent, a strong work ethic and real ambition can be in the running to make it. Never expect that someone else is going to get you noticed. It’s easy to become de-motivated, but always try to have a positive mental outlook – it’s just as important as having a good artistic output.
- How do you get recognised as a rapper?
Work hard to form personal relationships with your fans – talk to them at shows, respond to them on social media – people like to be treated as people, not just a number. Be sure to upload plenty of content to YouTube and tag your posts with your genre and themes.
Are you trying to get noticed as a singer? How have you gone about trying to get exposure in the music industry? Let us know in the comments below.