The music industry is changing every day, and despite people questioning, if record labels are dying, the fact remains that signing with reputable labels like Island Records, is still a goal and dream for many!
You’ve built up a buzz, you’re getting insane views on your music videos, and now you want to get your music out there even more.
You’ve got your eye on Island Records Recording, a Universal Music Group imprint responsible for the release of some Various artists you may know of, such as: Bob Marley, Avicii, Queen to name a few.
And, still highly relevant today, Island Records is home to current artists including Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, and, DYLAN So how do you do it? How do you reach such a company? Let’s explore the two main methods of how to send a demo to Island Records and a couple of rules that you need to follow...
Island Records Info Card
The Universal Music Group owns the international record company Island Records. It was established in Jamaica in 1959 by Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall, and Leslie Kong, and was later acquired by PolyGram in 1989.
The largest independent record labels in history at the time were Island and A&M Records, with Island having had a significant impact on the progressive music scene in the United Kingdom in the early 1970s.
Both labels were recently acquired by PolyGram. Island Records has four worldwide divisions: Island US, Island UK, Island Australia, and Island France (known as Vertigo France until 2014). President of the Island US, Darcus Beese, OBE, and MD Jon Turner are currently important figures.
Island continues to be one of UMG’s top record labels in part because of its significant legacy. Island continues to be one of UMG’s premier record labels, in part because of its important legacy.
Year Founded: 1959
Founder: Chris Blackwell, Graeme Goodall, Leslie Kong
Primary Genre(s): Various
Parent Label: Universal Music Group
Bob Marley, Avicii, Queen, Janet Jackson, Shawn Mendes, DYLAN, Fall Out Boy, Nick Jonas
The Two Main Ways to Send Island Records a Demo
There are generally two main methods to getting your demo into the ears of the Island Records team, as well as any of the other Universal Music Group labels. These methods differentiate between how involved in the wider music industry you are and who you’re already connected with.
The most typical and arguably easiest way to get your demo into the hands of the Island Records A&R team would be to have it handed off to them.
The reason that this is one of the easiest ways to get your demo to this label is that Universal Music Group, and all of its record labels, refuse to take or listen to any unsolicited media.
They do this because of the sheer amount of music that they receive. If you send it through the proper channels, though, the odds of them checking it out are much higher.
If you’re an independent or otherwise unsigned musician, you do have other options. Universal Music has a platform called Spinnup that provides services like digital distribution and access to a whole network of talent scouts who have relationships with a variety of labels in the group, including Island Records. (Universal Music Group)
Spinnup is a great platform as it has been designed to do just this, discover artists! Sadly, Spinnup has announced the switch to invite-only. This changes this submission option in the same way that AWAL changed when Sony acquired it in a $430M deal in March 2022.
AWAL now filters out around 90% of submitted tracks! So why am I telling you this?
Well, Spinnup is not completely off the table, UMG is just shifting to a more curated artist discovery and distribution platform.
As a result of this, most indie artists who had been using Spinnup have been asked to take down their releases. It is worth following along with the publications to keep up with what they are doing on the platform.
There are a few other kinds of platforms that you can find that provide similar services and help you in an attempt to get involved with Island Records.
What to Know BEFORE Submitting a Demo To Island Records: Demo Submission Rulebook!
Once you figure out how you plan to get your demo to the Island Records A&R department, you’ll want to make sure you do these key things to increase your chances of getting in the doors:
Of course, the last thing you want to do is make sure that you’re not sending unsolicited material or anything that infringes on copyright. From there, if you do what is asked of you while sending out a demo, you should really be good to go.
At the end of the day, record labels like Island Records receive hundreds of demos. It takes a lot of both skill and luck to get chosen to sign with them. That doesn’t mean you should ever give up on sending out your demos. It just takes time and determination to find a record label that fits best with you.
If you decide not to use one of the submission platforms above, it might be worth contacting Island Records directly to check if they have an additional process or contact you can deal with directly.