11 New York Record Labels Looking For Talent
Browse 11 New York record labels where you can send your demos. Plus, get tips on what to do (and what not to do) when you're reaching out.
New York is known for being one of the largest artistic hubs in the world. In the city that never sleeps, musical innovation thrives. Its bustling and frenzied cultural landscape has provided a colorful backdrop in the origin stories of many legendary artists. However, the environment of the music industry has changed rapidly over the last few decades. Major labels are no longer the be-all and end-all for musicians. Yet, many artists, both aspiring and seasoned alike, still seek the proper platforms to showcase their music.
With the overwhelming amount of information available online, finding the right label for your music can be stressful. In this article, we will list eleven of the best New York-based record labels looking for talent. Additionally, we will tell you how to contact them and the most effective ways to catch their attention. Covering genres from indie to hip hop, rock to electronic, these labels aren't just curating soundscapes — they're also about helping musicians realize their artistic vision.
1. Fool’s Gold
In the center of the thriving New York music industry, Fool's Gold Records stands out as a trailblazing record company dedicated to constantly pushing the limits of sound. A-Trak and Nick Catchdubs founded Fool's Gold in 2007, and it has an eclectic roster that smoothly fuses several genres, including hip hop, electronic music, and beyond. Fool's Gold has developed a reputation as a launching pad for some of today's most inventive artists because of its propensity for finding up-and-coming talents and turning them into actual stars. This label's vitality resonates not only via headphones but also across stages globally, making it a cornerstone of the city's ever-evolving musical mosaic. Fool’s Gold Records has many impressive dance music and hip hop artists on its roster, including heavy-hitters like Kid Cudi and Run The Jewels.
- GENRE(S): hip hop, electronic
- GET IN TOUCH: firstname.lastname@example.org
2. Ba Da Bing
Since its inception, Ba Da Bing Records has emerged as a distinctive and significant record label, driven by a singular aesthetic vision. Ben Goldberg founded the label in 1996, and it has since come to be known for fostering creative and genre-defying musical talent across a variety of disciplines, largely in experimental rock and pop. Ba Da Bing continually presents listeners with cutting-edge sounds that challenge expectations by keeping a sharp focus on the unusual. Ba Da Bing Records continues to influence local and international music landscapes by emphasizing the importance of artistic inquiry and true originality through its painstakingly curated roster and steadfast dedication to encouraging artistic growth.
- GENRE(S): pop, rock
- GET IN TOUCH: email@example.com
3. Cult Records
Cult Records, which Julian Casablancas founded in 2009, has developed into a sanctuary for innovative artists who transcend genre conventions. Cult Records has assembled a roster of eccentrics that perfectly captures the spirit of independent music with a special focus on encouraging creative freedom and supporting the individual voices of its artists. The label has established itself as a key player in New York's independent music scene by fostering real creative expressions and having an alternative ethos. It also provides a space where creativity and uniqueness can flourish.
- GENRE(S): alternative, indie, punk
- GET IN TOUCH: demo submission page
4. I Surrender Records
I Surrender Records has a long history of being a vibrant, close-knit family of music lovers. The label emanates a sense of solidarity and camaraderie, each member united by a common passion for music. The I Surrender team continuously works to curate extraordinary musical experiences for their audience, driven by an unshakable passion for their craft. Every member of the label's family aspires to bring the same zeal to every project they take on because they have a strong love for what they do. Beyond the studio, a fun-loving attitude permeates their strategy as they inject their passion for music with a healthy dose of humor.
- GENRE(S): alternative, rock
- GET IN TOUCH: firstname.lastname@example.org
5. Frenchkiss Records
As a significant figure in the music industry, Frenchkiss Records has created a captivating history. Syd Butler founded this record company in 1999, and since then, it has worked tirelessly to highlight a wide range of sincere creative voices. Frenchkiss has developed through time into a dynamic platform that supports the development of both established and up-and-coming artists while upholding an unbreakable ethos of artistic integrity. The label has built a reputation for selecting music that has a deep emotional resonance thanks to its collection of artists who cross genre boundaries and challenge expectations. Frenchkiss Records is a tribute to the industry's ongoing strength of invention, diversity, and creativity as well as its part in forming New York's thriving music culture.
- GENRE(S): indie rock
- GET IN TOUCH: demo submission page
6. Mexican Summer
Mexican Summer is a record company that has created a distinctive story for itself within the business. The label was created with a deep appreciation for sound exploration in mind, and it has now evolved into a blank canvas on which artists can paint their musical visions beyond genres and boundaries. Mexican Summer has been dedicated to providing an environment that fosters creativity, enabling artists to thrive and develop since it opened its doors in 2009. This label has established itself as a conduit for auditory innovation, leaving a lasting impact on the always changing musical fabric of New York and beyond.
- GENRE(S): indie, rock, pop, punk, metal, experimental
- GET IN TOUCH: email@example.com
7. Coalmine Records
Matt Diamond started his hip hop label Coalmine Records in 2005, and it has made a significant impact on the New York musical landscape. This label has grown from its humble beginnings in the heart of Brooklyn to become a haven for followers of the Golden Era and True School Rap. Coalmine rose to prominence through a string of digital successes featuring musicians like Royce Da 5'9", Pharoahe Monch, and Kool G Rap. This led to significant partnerships with artists like Blu & Nottz, Sean Price, and M-Phazes, among others. Coalmine Records' ever-expanding collection, which reflects the genre's authenticity and inspiration, is a tribute to the company's unwavering commitment to the art.
- GENRE(S): hip hop
- GET IN TOUCH: firstname.lastname@example.org
Since its founding in 1986, Earache Records has been at the forefront of extreme music. Digby Pearson established the label in Nottingham, England, and it immediately gained notoriety by embracing and promoting the nascent death metal and grindcore subgenres. Innovating bands found refuge at Earache, which helped legendary acts like Napalm Death, Morbid Angel, and Carcass gain recognition on a global scale. The label weathered the changing musical scene with an unwavering dedication to creativity, expanding its influence beyond metal into several spheres. Earache Records is a trailblazing institution that has eternally been inscribed in the annals of musical history, having influenced the grindcore revolution and creating new creative frontiers. The label has now expanded its physical presence, with its US offices based in New York. It is also one of very few larger labels accepting unsolicited demos.
- GENRE(S): metal, rock
- GET IN TOUCH: demo submission page
Daniel Miller established Mute Records in 1978, and the company has a fascinating history in the music business. The London-based label quickly established itself as a trailblazer in the field of experimental and electronic music. By introducing the world to legendary artists like Depeche Mode, Yazoo, and Erasure, Miller's vision and commitment to innovation significantly influenced the development of the electronic music scene. As the years went, Mute's broad roster expanded to include a variety of genres, demonstrating its dedication to pushing the frontiers of creativity. Mute Records has a history of ground-breaking albums and is still a major player today, giving musicians a stage to push boundaries and make music that transcends time and space. The label has now established its North American branch in New York.
- GENRE(S): alternative, rock, electronic, experimental
- GET IN TOUCH: email@example.com
10. Pack Records
Pack Records is an independent record label and artist partnership company rooted in the heart of New York City. It is fairly new to the scene, having been founded in 2020. Pack draws inspiration from the colorful cultural diversity of the city with a desire to provide immersive experiences for every creative. This concept is reflected in the label's wide roster, which includes a range of sounds, narratives, and artistic approaches. The exceptional music is what binds the Pack community together and resonates with the label's vision, even though each project promises a novel and distinctive viewpoint. Since the label is new, now is likely a good time to submit music for consideration.
- GENRE(S): indie, alternative, rock, pop, electronic, experimental
- GET IN TOUCH: firstname.lastname@example.org
11. Captured Tracks
Since the beginning, acclaimed record label Captured Tracks has left an imprint on the music industry. The Brooklyn-based company, which provides a stage for budding musicians to succeed, has grown to be a haven for fans of independent music. Captured Tracks has assembled an eclectic roster that includes artists from a variety of genres, such as dream pop and post-punk, as part of its dedication to creative honesty. The label's unwavering commitment to nurturing singular musical narratives has established it as a leader in the indie music market, adding a variety of unique and alluring voices to the always-evolving music industry.
- GENRE(S): indie, pop, post-punk
- GET IN TOUCH: email@example.com
How To Submit A Demo To Record Labels
Although there are some that might feel the need to discourage artists from seeking a record label, they still serve a purpose. Even in today’s musical landscape, where almost everything can be DIY, having a label’s backing, management, and industry experience can be invaluable. However, getting your music to the ears of a label A&R has become extraordinarily difficult. That is true of almost any record label, independent or not. If you want to submit your demo to labels and ensure that they actually hear it, there are some things that should be kept in mind.
Research the label before submitting
Imagine you work as an A&R for a record label, receiving hundreds or possibly even thousands of demos a day. How would you feel receiving a submission from someone that clearly knows next to nothing about the label, its artists, and its mission? In all likelihood, you would be offended. You might even delete the demo immediately.
Sadly, many artists think it's a good idea to send out mass emails to multiple labels at a time, showing little concern for who they are actually submitting to. Avoid being disregarded by the label. Do your research. Read up on their history, their mission, and their current roster. Try to find a natural way to reference the knowledge you’ve gained when you send in your submission. Let the label know that you know who you are submitting your music to and that you’re doing it because you want to work with that label specifically.
Perfect your presentation
In addition to knowing who you’re submitting to, it’s important to submit only when you know beyond a reasonable doubt that your presentation as an artist is good enough. Obviously, this means making sure that your music sounds professional and polished. However, it goes beyond that. Do you know what your philosophy is as an artist? Is your image distinctive enough to catch the eye of potential fans and listeners? Are you actively playing live and building a fanbase on your own? These are all things that the label is likely to look at. The days of the label doing everything for an artist have long since passed. Most of them prefer to work with artists who show initiative and have at least a small following built through their own effort.
Only send the best of the best
This should likely go without saying, but artists should only send their absolute best material. If you’re unsure what your best song is, try asking people you trust to give you honest opinions. Even if it isn’t your personal favorite, there may be a song that speaks to people more than your others. That should be the song that you send. Luckily, many smaller labels often allow you to send more than one song. Still, make sure that your best song is the first link.
Follow the label’s instructions on demo submission
Not following instructions is a good way to be ignored or even dismissed entirely. If the label does not want physical demo submissions, do not send them. Regardless of the stories you may have heard about artists disregarding the rules in the past, the landscape of the industry has changed entirely. There are far too many submissions for a label to give the time of day to someone who knowingly and purposely ignores their instructions.
Clear contact information
Always be sure to include multiple ways for the label to contact you in your submission. Additionally, make sure that it is clearly listed somewhere that’s easy to spot. Labels receive so many emails with demos — it is likely very easy for them to miss your contact information if it isn’t clearly labeled.
Keep it short and sweet
Of course, it’s a good idea to include some information about you, your band, or your music. Still, always keep in mind that there are many, many demos being submitted every single day. If someone opens your email and is greeted with a wall of text, it will likely lessen your chances of actually being listened to.
Instead of sending a novel, try to keep it concise. Find a simple way to get your artistic philosophy and aesthetic across to the label without overwhelming them. A short paragraph should be more than enough to get the message across.
Oftentimes, labels may take their time getting back to you. It’s anxiety-inducing, but it is unfortunately just a reality of the industry. Rather than sending follow-up emails every day, be patient. If you do send any kind of follow-up, give it two weeks at the very least. Some labels even request that you don’t follow up at all. Use discretion when sending a second email.
As we’ve covered in this article, submitting demos to record labels can be a stressful experience. However, with so many fantastic independent labels in New York, artists have plenty of chances to find the right fit for them. The most important thing to remember is to have patience when submitting your music — not only when you’re waiting for a reply but also in the event that you get rejected. It is all a part of the process.
In the meantime, continue to better your music and your artistry. The better you are, the more difficult it will be for a label to ignore you. If you are looking to record a professional demo without spending your entire savings, our New York recording studios are a good place to do it. Good luck!