Getting recognized by mailing your demo to record labels isn’t impossible, however, 99.9% of the time your material will not get listened to. Even if you have the best song on the planet, it will not be listened to. Record labels want to limit their liability, so they do not listen to unsolicited music. Record labels don’t want to listen to numerous songs and then be held liable if someone claims their material was copied.
If you do decide to mail your CD to record label, send solicited material. First get a contact, preferably an individual in the Artists & Repertoire (A&R) department. Call and first speak to someone. After sending your CD follow up to determine if the targeted individual received your material and another follow up call to determine if it was listened to. Submit 3 to 6 songs and send a bio and picture of yourself. Again this isn’t the preferred way to submit your material to major record labels.
Until you have music business advisors in your corner trying to promote you and there is a buzz going around about you, your demo will not reach the decision makers at the record labels. Record companies on a daily basis receive thousands of unsolicited CDs. Most likely your CD will be tossed into a bin located in a remote room filled with overflowing bins of CDs.
Record labels like to deal with artists who have a history of record sales. These are artist that may have produced and sold their own CDs locally or regionally. Record labels like to deal with artists who have performed their material and have a buzz going on about them. Lil Wayne, before he became famous, performed his own materials and sold his own records until a major record label signed him. Lil Wayne had a lot of leverage in negotiating a good contract because he already proved on a local basis he could sell records.
Record companies want to limit their liability. If you are signed, you are considered an investment that will require some money and they want to see a premium return on their money invested in you. The more you can prove that you can sell record, the better chance you can get signed.
If you get signed to a record company, you the artist will go into the studio and record songs for the record company. The record company makes copies of the master recording and ships it to a distributor. The distributor is a wholesaler who then sells the CDs to retail outlets like Best Buy, Sam Goody and Tower Records. The record company then pumps money into marketing by advertising and promoting your music with hopes of selling records, thus making you a superstar and becoming rich!
It is not as easy as it sounds. It takes a lot of hard work by a talented group of people. Everyone has to work together to make this happen. There are usually many people behind the scenes working to make an artist a superstar.