How Do Record Labels Find Artists? Complete Headhunting Guide & How To Stand Out

In this article, we are going to answer the question, “How Do Record Labels Find Artists?” and go into depth about the headhunting process.

So, how do record labels find new artists and producers to sign under their label?

Labels take into consideration several factors:

  • Quality of the music
  • Established fan-base
  • Social/web presence
  • Work ethic
How Do Record Labels Find Artists? Complete Headhunting Guide & How To Stand Out

Quality of The Music

Record labels will check out the quality of music a given artist produces. You have higher chances of getting picked for the record label if you stand out in making top-quality music.

Whether you are contributing a new sound or genre to the scene or whether you are looking to put a unique twist on an already established genre, your music quality will be taken into consideration.

Established Fan-Base and Social/Web Presence

These typically go hand in hand. Record labels want to make sure that the artist they pick up has a loyal, organic fan base.

Work Ethic

Hard work is necessary to get the record labels to notice you be signed up for the record labels.

There are many more things that go into being a desirable option for a major label, and, don't worry, we break this all down a bit later. But first and foremost, it might help to understand WHO is actually making the decisions when it comes to signing new artists…

What Is A&R?

A&R stands for Artist and Repertoire. It is a record label division that is tasked with scouting for new talents.

The team will oversee the development of arts and the songwriters, then look for ways to approach them to sign deals and start working under their record label.

They check out factors such as the fanbase and the quality of music a given artist produces.

How Record Labels Find Artists


The record labels use different means to locate the best artists to sign up. As mentioned previously, some of the most common factors the record labels will sign a new artist based on are things that you can actively work on.

These include but are not limited to:

1. An Established Fanbase

An established fanbase

The record labels prefer arts and bands that have well-established track records. They will be investing money in you, and they would like to have someone who can contribute to making their businesses profitable. There are several things an artist can do to gain an established fanbase.

Some of the steps artists can take to achieve the fanbase include:

Offer Value to The Audience

Artists and Awe: Many artists possess the unique ability to engage their audience in a thrilling manner. This captivating essence, when paired with quality music, becomes an irresistible magnet pulling fans closer.

Fostering Fanbases: Having a growing fanbase? Great! Your key role now is to consistently deliver high-quality music, keeping them eagerly waiting for your next piece. Keep them hooked, keep them loyal!

Sprinkle Surprises: Introduce an element of surprise in your journey. Handing out freebies from time to time works wonders. People are motivated by generosity and this gesture not only maintains but also grows your fanbase.

This isn't just about making music; it's about cultivating relationships with each fan who appreciates your work. It's about the interaction between your art and the hearts of those who listen.

Know Your Target Audience

The best artists know their fanbase. For instance, if your music targets youths, you should sing songs that will target the youths.

It will be easy to market or promote products at given demography as an artist if you have a fan base that you represent.

The scouting team from the recording labels will be keen to assess your target audience and how you relate with the audience during your performances. 

2. Established Income

Record labels will be investing money in your career. You should prove to them from the onset that you can generate income.

You may be making a small amount, but it should demonstrate that you are somewhere so that they can be convinced that they will make money out of your investment in case they invest in you.

As an artist, there are several steps you can take to improve your income level and start making money. Have songs or your acts as an artist on channels such as YouTube.

Other ways you can generate income include:

  • Touring
  • Live Shows/ Events
  • Merchandising
  • Sync Deals
  • Music Publishing
  • Brand Partnerships
  • Physical music sales
  • Digital Recorded Music Sales
  • Streaming

3. Strong Web Presence

Many record labels prefer working with artists who will not overburden them. You should ensure you have well established social media presence from where you can interact with the audience.

The record labels will let you run the social channels to handle other aspects of your career. It becomes easy for them to start making profits from your career if you can invest in social media accounts.

Some of the ways you can enhance your web presence include:

Easy to Navigate Social Media Pages

Easy to navigate social media account

When you upload content to social media pages or your website, ensure it is well organized so that web surfers can easily navigate and learn more about not just your content but you and your overall brand, image, and vibe your content.

They will likely start interacting with you after you create the web presence. Your photos and biography section should be readily available.

Utilize Live Interaction

Social media platforms such as Facebook and YouTube allow you to go live. Many people would like to relate to a real person. If you can develop a live interactive feature, it will be easy to interact with more audiences and make more money. Have different channels for social roles.

You may like to handle sales, interact with the audience, and other aspects of artists. If you can develop different channels and dedicate them to serve purposes, then your social media presence will grow fast.

You can as well utilize different social platforms available out there to start interacting with more people in the process.

Share Content Consistently

Many people will be interested in sharing content regularly. Your fanbase will be interested in following your channel and contributing to its growth if they know they regularly get useful content. Check out the quality of content you share. It should be high quality to make more people interested.

Ensure the content is engaging

People would like to interact with useful and engaging content. To grow your presence on social media, you should provide content that more people will be willing to use.

You can come up with attractive vide and other types of content that will be attractive to more people to keep following it.

4. Strong Work Ethic

Strong work ethic

You should be hardworking and ready to deliver before a record label can sign you. They will have to check out how you have been working. If you treat music as a part-time career, you should be ready to set aside time and work on it.

It will be hard to balance your work and family life if you do not have a strong work ethic. Some of the things you can do to improve your work ethics and increase chances of getting signed up include:

Stick to a timetable

You should plan your work well and ensure different tasks in your career are allocated time. For example, if you are involved in music but have other things to do, you should ensure you set aside time to engage in music and other activities in your career.

Delegate Duties

There are many things you are supposed to do as a modern artist. For example, you will be required to keep social media channels active, engage in music writing and video production, among other issues.

You can share out tasks to avoid cases where you will become overwhelmed. Ensure you have the right people to handle the different problems in your career as you tackle them.

5. Produce Incredible Music

To increase the chances of getting signed up to a given record label, you should stand out in producing high-quality music. Musicians identify themselves with different genres.

Your music should have unique features that will identify your sound, beats, and other ascots to increase your chances of getting singed. Some of the issues the team scouting for artists to sign into record labels will check out include:

Identifiable Genre

There are different music genres such as rock, reggae, country, and others. You should have an identifiable genre for the record label to take you seriously. It will be easy to attract a given fanbase if you have a genre perfected for your sound.

Unique Signature Taraits

The signature trait includes song structure, instrumental style, lyrical content, and production style. The signature traits should be unique to identify your music for the record labels to take seriously. 

6. Star Quality

Record labels are interested in someone who will have traits such as being charismatic, good-looking, and entertaining. The main role of the record label is to produce music or works of art that will be entertaining.

If you fail to entertain, they will not be interested in you. Ensure you are ready to go the extra mile and entertain the audience, and they will be interested in signing you up. Your fashion sense should be unique and have a personality to be admired. 

How to Get Spotted by A Record Label

You can do several things to get spotted by a record label. First, ensure you research what record labels want in artists. You can do this by researching a handful of labels that the top artists in your genre are signed to and looking for commonalities.

After knowing what they need, ensure the traits are part of your brand. There is a need to prepare and stay focused on the brand.

Always do your best to impress the crowd, and the record label will be interested. You may try different moves without success, always stay positive, and keep working hard. 

How Independent Labels Do It

Independent labels will also scout you through your social media and just like major labels, they want to see a social buzz. Ensure you have a good social media following and strong content before getting spotted.

They will check out your online presence, including interaction with fans on different social media channels. How much time you spend promoting yourself via the various social media channels is also important.

Record labels do not want to sign up artists who are not hardworking, so it is important to provide an impression that you are ready to put in your best. How many fans on social media will also matter because they want to see an audience before signing you up.

Independent labels will also visit clubs where musicians perform and check out the performance, the stage presence, and, how the audience react.

Finale Thoughts

In order to get signed with a record label, you need to have star quality and produce incredible music.

How do Record Labels Find Artists? By scouting through social media channels for artists that are producing high-quality music or looking at the performance of musicians in clubs.

If all these things sound intimidating and you are considering setting up your own label to sign yourself to, read this!

About Author

Arielle P

Arielle P

Songwriter | Music Producer | Engineer.

With a background in music production and a strong passion for education, Arielle is dedicated to helping emerging artists navigate the music industry. She has worked with a diverse range of artists, from indie rock bands to well-known hip-hop and grime artists. Arielle's unique approach to teaching focuses on empowering artists to take control of their brand, ensuring they retain creative ownership throughout their journey. In her free time, she enjoys experimenting with new sounds in her home studio and sharing her insights through music production tutorials and workshops.

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