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Indie Record Labels Accepting Demos in 2021

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Independent Record Labels

You’ve recorded your best music yet.

Your current fans are eating it up and you’re wanting the rest of the world to hear your songs too!!

To reach a larger audience, you are planning to submit your demo to a few record labels, but you aren’t sure exactly who’s willing to accept yours.

Don’t worry, we got you covered!

Here at the Indie Music Academy, our goal is to help you win as an artist.

We want to keep you prepared with the most up to date information and resources to help propel your music career forward.

We did the research for you on what record labels would be open to you accepting your demo submission.

By the way, if you feel that you’re not ready to submit, click this button to jump down to our "How To Get Ready" Section.

Without further adieu, here are 10 Indie Record Labels Accepting Demos in 2021:

Carpark Records

Notable Artists: Young Magic, Safety Scissors, Beach House

Carpark Records planted its roots as a small record label in 1999 in New York City, relocating to Washington DC in 2005. They’re best known for their experimental psychedelic electronic, as well as their alternative rock. They’ve since expanded with subsidiary labels, Acute Records and Paw Tracks.

Carpark Records
P.O. Box 42374
Washington, D.C. 20015
U.S.A.

Email: [email protected]

Website: Contact Page

Fat Possum Records

Notable Artists: The Black Keys, Ann Peebles, Courtney Marie Andrews, Hoops

Fat Possum Records is a local giant in Oxford, Mississippi, with a long history of signing blues artists since 1992. Most recently, the record label has sought out younger talent for music promotion, signing on well-known names like The Black Keys and Hoops, to name a few.

Fat Possum Records
P.O. Box 1923
Oxford, MS 38655

Phone: 662-234-2828

Website: Contact Page

Lion Bold Records

Lion Bold Records is a unique alternative to traditional record labels. Lion Bold Records is classified as a "farm label," meaning that they discover some dynamite talent from across the country and focus on artist development rather than signing already established acts. Just as a farmer plants seeds and waters them so they can grow, Lion Bold Records only works with a small lineup of artists who are 100% dedicated to finding success in the music industry.

The best part is, they invest in you 1:1 just like an artist manager so that you learn the skills you need for a lifetime of music success. If you are an artist looking for a way to develop your career, don’t hesitate to reach out to our friends at Lion Bold Records.

Until then, keep growing your audience every day here with training at the Indie Music Academy!

Website: Lionbold.com

Rough Trade Records

Notable Artists: The Strokes, Arcade Fire, Alabama Shakes, Sufjan Stevens

Rough Trade Records hails from London, UK, and was founded in 1978 in the backrooms of a record store. Specializing in punk rock and early-post punk, they’ve carried big names like The Strokes, Warpaint, and Arcade Fire.

Rough Trade Records
66 Golborne Rd
London
W10 5PS

Email: [email protected]

Website: Contact Page (Bottom In The Footer)

Island Records

Notable Artists: Demi Lovato, Florence + The Machine, Jessie J, AlunaGeorge, Annie Lennox

Just one look at their roster and you might think that Island Records is the best indie record label out there. But in spite of their famous catalog of artists, their roots are purely indie. Island is an offshoot of Universal Music Group, founded in Jamaica in 1959 and later merging with Def Jam Records. While their roots may have been Jamaican, they’ve since morphed into a powerhouse of multi-genre talent with big and small names alike.

Check out their FAQ for demo submission instructions.

They also have a self-serve music release service called Spinup now which is really cool.

Check it out here: https://spinnup.com/uc/

Glassnote Records

Notable Artists: Childish Gambino, CHVRCHES, Mumford & Sons, Secondhand Serenade

With a fiery roster of young talent, it’s no wonder that Glassnote Records has been hitting it out of the park with artist selection. Though it’s a relatively young label, having started in 2007, it’s turned new artists like Mumford & Sons and Childish Gambino into household names. All the same, they have stayed primarily as a hub for indie rock and alternative hip-hop.

Glassnote Records
Attn: Demo Submissions
770 Lexington Ave
16th Fl
New York, NY 10065

Email: [email protected]

See their FAQ on mailing instructions for your demo submission.

XL Recordings

Notable Artists: Adele, Radiohead, M.I.A., Vampire Weekend, Tyler the Creator, Azealia Banks

XL is an independent British label that also has fingers in nearly every genre of music when it comes to their choice of artists. They started in 1989 as a hub for rave and dance music and later chose to broaden their horizons and develop more original artists. They catapulted into fame in the 2000s with successful artists and hot debut albums like The White Stripes, M.I.A., Jack White, and Adele. They’re still going strong to this day.

Their submissions open and close: Check to see if they are currently accepting.

Domino Recording Company

Notable Artists: Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand, Dev Hynes, The Kills, Julia Holter

Art Pop and folk music are Domino Recording Company’s strongest suits, with such names as the ones listed above. Founded in London in 1993, Domino has grown into a high profile label that isn’t afraid to try experimental artists.

Submit Via Soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/dominorecordco

Read their demo submission policy here.

Young Turks

Notable Artists: Jamie xx, Koreless, Sampha, Jessie Ware, NOLIFE

Young Turks was founded in 2003 as an offshoot of XL Recordings (sound familiar?), but has since grown into a fully-fledged independent label. They’re also unique in that they dabble in hosting radio shows, aside from music.

Email: [email protected]

Website: https://theyoungturks.co.uk/

Read more about Young Turks, or see where to submit your demo.

Stones Throw

Notable Artists: Madlib, J Dilla, Mndsgn, Aloe Blacc, Savath & Savalas

Hailing from Los Angeles, Stones Throw has morphed into a hip-hop, psych rock amalgamation, but thrives on the experimental. They first began with names such as Peanut Butter Wolf and Charizma, but have grown into the names you see above.

Stones Throw Records
2658 Griffith Park Blvd #504
Los Angeles CA 90039-2520

Email: [email protected]

Website: Contact Page

Check out their demo submission policy.

Humble Beast Records

Notable Artists: Propaganda, Jackie Hill-Perry, Alert312, Citizens

Now here’s something different: our penultimate label on this list is a faith-based label that signs Christian music talent. They gather together talent across the spectrum, from pastors to writers to bedroom musicians, and have created a legacy of inspirational music. Even better, all their music is free for your listening pleasure, which is even more unique in this industry.

They are currently making changes to their website but you can still check out their About Page to learn about joining Humble Beast.

Epitaph Records:

Notable Artists: Social Distortion, Alkaline Trio

Epitaph Records has been around since the early 90's and is one of the most popular indie-rock record labels in the world. Their talent roster extends far beyond indie-rock nowadays and they have created a name as one of the most influential labels in Los Angeles today. Check them out below.

2798 Sunset Blvd., Los Angeles CA, 90026

E-mail: [email protected]

Website: www.epitaph.com

Once again, we want to make sure you are fully prepared before you submit your demo to a record label. Now that you have 10 labels you can reach out to, let’s make sure you’re ready.

Below, I offer some helpful insight, to help you be 100% confident that a record label will see that you have been focusing on the right things in your music career, and you offer them more than just some songs.

 

How to Get Ready for a Demo Submission

If a label wanted your demo, would your music career be irresistible or forgettable?

The answer is obvious!

You need to make their mouths water at the A&R office when they hear about you!

Labels are looking for so much more than a song ... they are looking for the full package.

A money maker.

An artist with a career they would bet on.

When labels receive a demo, they will also take a look at every other aspect of the artist’s career.

If they like what they HEAR, they also need to like what they SEE.

From the fancy suit and tie record label execs to the boutique indie record label owners, these music industry players will be taking a look at you as an artist as a potential “investment” for their company.

They want to spend money on you so that they can make MORE money in return as business profits.

(You become famous in the process, pretty awesome right?)

Beyond the songs they hear, they want to see that you have all aspects of a promising career in place — more than just great music.

To get a bird’s eye view of your music career they will be combing through your:

  • Social Media Engagement
  • Spotify Streams & Monthly Listeners
  • Fan Engagement (Comments and Email Subscribers)
  • Past and Future Concert Schedule
  • Product Creation / Merchandise
  • Website Branding
  • Your Artist Image

If a label senses you focus more on IG captions and selfies than building long-term fan loyalty, they are most likely going to pass.

Remember: “Actions speak louder than words”

That’s what you need to hold to if you want to succeed, but ACTION is only as good as what you FOCUS on.

I know we’ve kept things friendly and informative up until this point, but my goal is to push you to be the best you can be.

If you’re willing to go a little deeper with me, I have some tough questions that all of us have to ask ourselves as artists.

Brace yourself, are you ready?

Would a label be impressed with you as an artist, if they judge you based off of everything EXCEPT your music?

Would they like what they SEE and not just what they HEAR?

If you lack confidence when answering these questions, this doesn’t mean you make bad music. It could just mean that you need to shift your focus.

Perhaps the truth is that we’ve focused too much on creating music, but not tending to the rest of the picture.

Sometimes the truth is not as fun to face.

We prefer to lie to ourselves to avoid the pain of reality.

But since you’re here I know you CAN handle the truth.

The hard truth is that if your music career is not appealing to labels, it’s because you've been focused on the wrong things.

But don’t fret, there is hope!

If your music career isn’t where it needs to be, what’s the solution?

I can teach you EXACTLY what to focus on and build a career that will leave no room for doubt.

In order to shift your focus as an artist to what truly matters when building your career, I have found that there is no better approach than the 80/20 principle. If you haven’t heard of this before, it basically goes like this:

The 80/20 principle states that in life 80% of your success comes from only 20% of your efforts.

That means if we don’t focus, MOST of what we “work on” is a total waste of time.

What does that mean for us as artists?

We need to identify the most valuable things to focus on.

Find the 20% that gets you the 80% of your results.
That 20% needs to be your focus.

If your focus is on actions that actually build a successful music career, then in time you will have a winning career record labels won’t immediately pass on.

But how do you identify what to focus on as an artist?

I’ve managed the careers of dozens of artists and have explained this process hundreds of times, and now I want to help even more artists win in their careers. I’ve distilled everything I’ve been teaching to my artists and private consulting clients into an easy and affordable course called the 80/20 Music Business Crash Course.

This course will give you 100% confidence in how the music industry works and how to move forward in your career, by knowing EXACTLY what to focus on.

Using the 80/20 Principle I've focused on only the areas of the music industry that truly matter.

All you have to do now is hit the “Learn More” button below and I have a page set-up to explain this course in further detail, and an easy to follow the video you can watch first.

Learn More About the 80/20 Music Business Crash Course