How To Send A Demo To Shady Records (Step-By-Step 2024 Guide)

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

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

Prominent Artists:

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.

Method 1

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.

This would be through someone like a manager, agent, producer, radio DJ, or some other kind of industry professional. (Universal Music Group)

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.

Method 2

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?

Spinnup ❌


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:

Tip 1: Preparing Your Demo

•Before submitting a demo to a record label, ensure the music is of high quality and sounds polished.

If your demo sounds like it was recorded in a bedroom on a laptop, it's not going to make a good impression. Likewise, you might have a certain, marketable look – but if the music is trash, it won't be enough.

• Ask for feedback from experienced people in the industry to get an idea of whether your tracks are ready for release.

• Make sure you export your tracks in the correct format and that they are properly tagged with clear file names and ID3 tags.

• Do not send demos with copyrighted material or remixes/mashups as these will likely be rejected by labels.

Tip 2: Do Your Research

• Shady Records has a specific sound, so it's important to do your research on a record label before sending them your demo, to make sure that your music aligns with the type of music they release.

• You should also check out other artists signed to the label and see if your style of music is similar to theirs.

• Familiarize yourself with the labels you want to get signed to by looking at their website, SoundCloud, Facebook Page, Twitter account, etc.

Find names and contact information such as the A&R manager’s email address, and look up their demo policy.

• The more you know about a label before submitting your demo, the better chance you have of getting signed.

Tip 3: Read The Submission Guidelines

•Most labels have a demo policy that is displayed on their website. This policy outlines the guidelines they require for demo submissions.

• Unsolicited material is often rejected by labels for legal reasons.

• Most labels ask for original, full-length tracks and reject remixes, mashups, previews, unfinished tracks, etc.

• Some acceptable demo formats include private SoundCloud or Dropbox links and MP3 or WAV attachments.

• Mastering and mixdown preferences may be specific (i.e., mixed down track with -6db of headroom).

• Email format should include artist name, track names, and contact info but some labels prefer an EPK (Electronic Press Kit), bio, music career achievements, photos, etc.

• Contact instructions could include email or submission form guidelines and other contact information.

Many label policies explain that they will only contact those whose music has been accepted and offer follow-up instructions if necessary

Tip 4: Build Relationships

• It is always beneficial to build relationships and network in the music industry. The music industry can be a very tough business to crack, and it is important to have as many connections as possible.
• By getting out and connecting with people, you never know what opportunities may arise. It is important to meet other artists, producers, DJ's, publicists, booking agents, label staff, fans, and anyone else involved in the music industry.
• These connections could one day lead to your big break. However, it is important to approach these potential connections in a professional manner so that you do not come across as a stalker.
• Establishing and maintaining healthy relationships in the music industry is essential for success.

What Next?

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.

You also want to get clued up on the different types of record deals out there and be prepared to consult with an entertainment lawyer.

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.

📧 Email Arielle