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 Shady 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 Shady Records Recording, a Universal Music Group imprint responsible for the release of some Hip-Hop, Rap artists you may know of, such as: D12, 50 Cent, Obie Trice to name a few.
And, still highly relevant today, Shady Records is home to current artists including Eminem, Grip, and, Bad Meets Evil 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 Shady Records and a couple of rules that you need to follow...
Shady Records Info Card
Shady Records is an American record label founded by rapper Eminem and his manager Paul Rosenberg. It released an album showcasing its roster in 2006 called Eminem Presents: The Re-Up. Eminem founded Shady Records in 1999, and signed D12 as the first act. Obie Trice was signed as the second act, and got public attention via a freestyle skit on the Devil’s Night album. Eminem had a meeting with 50 Cent while working on the film 8 Mile, and they signed together. 50 Cent’s “Lose Yourself” became a surprise win of an Academy Award for Best Original Song, and the label’s first mixtape was released in 2002.
Shady was involved in several controversies in 2003, including the inherited Murder Inc. feud, on-going issues with the previous co-owners of The Source magazine, and escalating issues with rapper Royce da 5’9″. 50 Cent’s second release, The Massacre, was a commercial success, but the feud between Jadakiss and 50 Cent led to DJ Green Lantern leaving Shady Records.
The Alchemist was signed on as the official tour DJ for Eminem on the 2005 Anger Management 3 Tour. Eminem teamed up with XXL magazine to release a special issue titled XXL Presents Shade 45. The issue gave maximum exposure to Shade 45 as a radio station, as well as the Shady Records label as a whole. In early 2006, a Chicago-born Orange County, California-based rapper named Cashis joined Shady Records, and released his second album, Second Round’s on Me.
The album was considered to be a more serious, dark album. Eminem had the label’s roster on a mixtape, which was presented by DJ Whoo Kid and The Alchemist. Eminem decided to make the mixtape an official album, which was released in early December 2006. Cashis released the eight-track The County Hound EP in May 2007, and 50 Cent’s third album, Curtis, was released in September. Obie Trice left Shady Records in June 2008, after a misunderstanding with Interscope Records chairman Jimmy Iovine.
He continues to work with Eminem on many levels, notably on Bottoms Up, which was originally going to be released on Shady Records. Stat Quo was released from the label in 2008 after a straining relationship with Eminem, Dr. Dre’s absence from the video for “Here We Go” and lack of support from the label. Slaughterhouse guest featured on Eminem’s seventh album Recovery and appeared on the cover of XXL magazine with Eminem.
Eminem and Royce da 5’9″ announced they would be working together again on a joint EP, slated for release on June 14. The project featured production from Mr. Porter, Havoc of Mobb Deep, Bangladesh and more. Yelawolf signed to Eminem’s label in 2011. They freestyled over East Flatbush Project’s “Tried by 12” on a DJ Premier-hosted BET Cypher segment at the 2011 BET Hip Hop Awards. Shady Records showcased acts at the 2012 SXSW festival, including Slaughterhouse and 50 Cent. Yelawolf was also scheduled to perform but couldn’t due to an injury.
Paul Rosenberg stated that Eminem’s next album would be released post-Memorial Day 2013, 50 Cent’s Street King Immortal would be released in the first half of 2013, Yelawolf’s second album, Love Story, was currently being recorded, and all four members of Slaughterhouse would release solo projects. Eminem’s official website announced an upcoming compilation album by Shady Records, titled Shady XV, on August 25, 2014.
The album will consist of one greatest hits disc and one disc of new material. Eminem released his eleventh studio album Music to Be Murdered By on January 17, 2020, becoming his tenth consecutive number-one album in the United States.
Year Founded: 1999
Founder: Eminem and Paul Rosenberg
Primary Genre(s): Hip-Hop, Rap
Parent Label: Universal Music Group
D12, 50 Cent, Obie Trice, Eminem, Grip, Bad Meets Evil, Westside Boogie,
The Two Main Ways to Send Shady Records a Demo
There are generally two main methods to getting your demo into the ears of the Shady 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 Shady 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 Shady 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 Shady Records.
What to Know BEFORE Submitting a Demo To Shady Records: Demo Submission Rulebook!
Once you figure out how you plan to get your demo to the Shady 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 Shady 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 are not using the Spinnup service, it might be worth contacting Shady Records directly to check if they have an additional process or contact you can deal with directly.