How would an ambitious young band garner the attention of your keen, highly-trained ears?
Ok, we're going to be perfectly honest here and ask you, the submitter of demos, to PAY ATTENTION to the following caveats and suggestions. Some of what's written below may be hard to take. Probably, just like your demo. Zing! Hey now, we'll be here all week.
I mean, we go to a LOT of shows, and sometimes our favorite words are "this is our last song."
Before sending us anything, look around the web site, listen to tracks, and get familiar with whom we work. Do your research!! Our love of death metal, hardcore, emo, folk, and techno varies from person to person in the office, but IT IS NOTHING THAT FITS INTO OUR ROSTER. You are wasting your time (and likely money) by sending it and trying to convince us that "but I can be the exception." We've even received a demo CD from a ventriloquist. A CD! Ventriloquist! Think about it!!!!
We absolutely DO NOT accept demos from third party lawyers or promotion companies shopping stuff for clients. They are bad people and we would rather not have to deal with them. They waste your money and they waste our time.
We never "request" anything. There's no quicker way to get your package recycled than to write "requested material" on the package. Just because we were polite and told you our address so you could send something doesn't mean we "requested" it.
Also, if you are a band or artist who has a dream day job and no vacation time we probably can't work with you. These days in the cruel world of the music business if you don't have time to commit yourself to working your ass off, neither do we. If you're looking for a bit of tough-love advice on the realities of clawing yourself up in the music industry, take a look at this essay by our fearless leader, Rob.
While we don't require a polished album and fancy press kit, someone sending us a "developing project" with just a guitar recorded on a four track should head back to the drawing board. We cannot/ will not help finish your band for you. Here's a nifty example of go-getter we're not much inclined to invest our time and passion in: "I don't have a studio to record in and I suck at mixing. Attached are (sic) some stuff I recorded on my phone and some songs that still need work." Let's start planning the signing ceremony, shall we?!!!
And don't tell us that you've got 300 good songs ready to go. Well, we've got 300 naughty haikus and limericks ready to go. You know who else had 300 good songs? NO ONE. EVER.
Also, here's a helpful hint: Respect yourselves! We don't claim to be perfect, but a lot of English majors have served their time here and we get SUPER annoyed by sloppily written demo pitches. While unintentionally hilarious, they also make us think "jeez, if they or their team can't spend the time to spellcheck..."
Here are some of our favorites. Names have been changed to protect the guilty.
"I want to get singed quickly"
"Music has been a hugh influence on my life"
"Joe Lunchpail is a genuis"
"We didn't want to right a long bio..."
And don't even get us started on misuse of the possessive...
We do not shop songs to our artists, ergo we do not accept songwriter submissions. If you are convinced that a song of yours is absolutely perfect for somebody, we suggest tracking down the artist at a show and giving them the song.
To our European friends, there are certain practical realities that a label our size has to face. One of them is this: there really isn't any way we can work with bands that are based overseas. It just isn't practical.
If you feel that you meet all the above criteria, then send us something you are proud of. Direct us to a website where we can learn more if we're interested.
If you MUST send MP3s, send them to demo [at] bloodshotrecords.com ONLY.
Finally, we are inundated with demos and, while we eventually listen to them all, do not expect a timely response-or possibly any response. If we think your music is something that would fit well with our idiosyncratic and whimsical taste, we will contact you.
We keep a "wall of shame" in our bathroom. Do you really want to be on it?
P.S. If your promo photo contains more than ZERO dudes wearing sandals, re-shoot it. Or join a different band. No man-feet please.
P.P.S. While we're rather fastidious recyclers around here, we HATE it when people send us loads of lyrics, press clippings, and other such landfiller, and we REALLY hate vellum folders that make your package look "more professional." Don't send us a list of who you've "shared the stage with." Shared the stage with? We all know what that means: you opened for them. There was no sharing...Follow the time-honored adage of KISS: Keep It Simple, Stupid.
What do you think of MP3s and file sharing?
Well, when this whole digital download thing started to show up, we, being a small label with limited means, had no strong objections to it. If people were curious about an artist of ours, it seemed quite good that people could download a song and listen to it. If they liked it, they could then go out and buy the album---a simple and free way to get our music publicized, so what if U2 or the Eagles lose a few thousand sales, right?
Sadly, as the number of people availing themselves to this technology has grown, the number of people who have no connection or loyalty to the independent music they are downloading has also grown---they are just looking for some free music, they feel entitled to every song by every artist at any time for free.
No harm, right? WRONG. Each time someone does this, they are depriving the artist of income for their creative efforts. We're not talking about Miley Cyrus, Justin Bieber or Jay-Z here. We're talking about struggling musicians who drive around in crappy vans, who keep crappy day jobs, and spend long periods of time away from their families and friends, all to bring you interesting, fun, and un-crappy music. A couple of hundred lost sales to these bands represents a significant dent in their ability to tour. Recording studios aren't free, you know. Neither are vans, hotels, gear, gas, etc.
So, if you love independent music and want to support it, you are harming that which you profess to love by swiping music for free and passing it around to all your friends. Sure, if you're a moral person and do it to evangelize the cause and continue to buy their albums or legally download their music, we have no problem with that. We even offer lots of MP3s on this site for you to sample, but only in the hope you'll download the song, enjoy it, tell your friends and come back to hear more from that band. But if you think that full scale swiping does not have ramifications for the independent artists you want to support, you are quite wrong.
Besides, vinyl sounds better. No question.
What do we think of streaming services like Spotify?
It's super convenient. You can have 70 billion songs at your disposal (a pointed word choice, by the way) anytime, anywhere. Like almost everything else in the internets, if people use these tools to experience more music, or discover music they might not have ever come across, then it's a win/win. You find something new to listen to, the artist gets a new fan and some revenue when you carry your streaming love into the world of an actual purchase. But people must do that. As much as we use and support the streaming services (our Bloodshot Radio feature on our website is powered by Spotify, and we have a whole lot of great playlists on there for your aural ingestion and musical discovery), we encourage you to bring it full circle. The use of streaming services needs to be coupled with direct music purchases of vinyl, CDs, MP3s (or FLAC, WAV, and other nerdy file types via Bandcamp), for you to cherish and keep in your collection, in order for all this to keep working. Nothing gold can stay. If the streaming services disappear suddenly...you'll be stuck with what's in your physical library.
The reality is that streaming audio royalties generate micro-pennies per play, which requires exponentially more plays per listener, per song to equate to even a digital MP3 purchase. Streaming on its own is not sustainable for independent artists and independent labels (hey that's us!).
There's been a lot written about this, I suggest essays by David Lowery (of Camper Van Beethoven and Cracker) on the economics and fairness on the matter, but it all comes down to: Do ALL OF US, as a society, value music?
Besides, we like artwork, photos, liner notes and shit. And the whole "cloud" thing seems a little suspicious to us. It has a chilling Orwellian innocuousness to it. Essentially, we like to have our cake and eat it too...that is, a physical cake to eat, and a digitally streamed cake to carry with us and admire wherever we go. Or something.
I want to use Bloodshot music in my Podcast. What's your policy?
We love the fact that you are interested in using Bloodshot bands in your podcast (you obviously have impeccable taste in music), however, this is a very tricky subject, so stay tuned for further developments on our podcast policies.
In the meantime, while we can't give you permission to use just any song from our catalog, you're more than welcome to use any of the songs that are available as MP3s on our website, which you can find by going to any particular release page.
If you have any other podcast questions, contact Mike Sosin (sosin [at] bloodshotrecords.com), and he'll probably tell you "No." Just kidding; he's pretty nice.
Are you hiring? Should I send a resume?
No. Maybe. The path to a rewarding career at Bloodshot begins in our warehouse (or behind the dumpster at the Hideout). Either way, we like to hire fresh, young, corruptible interns and turn them into shriveled pieces of human wreckage. You got what it takes to flush your life down the toilet? Email mike [at] bloodshotrecords.com to inquire about an internship.
What is Bloodshot's connection to the RIAA?
NONE. ZERO. ZILCH. Any mention of Bloodshot as a member of the RIAA is just plain wrong.
Who should lawyers and licensers seek out?
Nan Warshaw can take care of such unseemly matters. Call her at 773-604-5300 or email nan [at] bloodshotrecords.com
Why is it sometimes so hard to find Bloodshot stuff in stores?
Getting thorough distribution for tiny, well-meaning organizations like us is a painful, demeaning uphill battle with sometimes erratic results. Most stores on the planet have access to our distributors. Trouble is they may not know that.
OR, given these troubled times for music retailers, they may only be stocking "the hits".
What can I, the music fan, do to help?
Where else can I find Bloodshot on the Internet?
Everyone's talking about social networking nowadays--web 3.whatever, we are all Time's "Person of the Year", etc etc. Never to be left behind the curve, we here at Bloodshot headquarters have spread our wares across the internet for you to peruse, download, comment upon and add to your little corner of the web.
You can network up with the BSHQ and become a fan on Facebook, follow us on Twitter, and see what we've been eating, drinking, and seeing via Instagram. We've got a ton of videos and live footage up on our YouTube page. We have a bloggy thing too (that sounds kind of gross).
Got some great photos of Bloodshot artists? Email them to mike[at]bloodshotrecords.com and perhaps they'll end up on our site and social networks (with credit to you, the photographer, of course).
What were the first pieces of music purchased by Bloodshot staffers with their own lunch money?
Nan: The Jackson 5: Greatest Hits (on LP – the ONLY format at the time)
Scott: The Go-Go's Beauty and the Beat. A girl I had a crush on liked them. Not much has changed since 7th grade, apparently.
Mike Smith: Puff Daddy & the Family No Way Out (on cassette)
Josh: LL Cool J “Around the Way Girl” cassingle (cassette single, duh). Regular radio edit on the front side, instrumental on the back. Flip it over, repeat.
Pete: Snow's "Informer" (another cassingle). Had to go all the way to Sam Goody for that shit.
Mike Sosin: Weezer (Blue Album) on cassette
Warehouse Justin: "Probably Linkin Park or some shit like that. I dunno we were all just burning CDs back then." Thanks for being part of the problem Justin!!
Rob: A two album ELVIS best-of collection ordered from the TV with paper route money. The wispy thin vinyl waved like a sheet of paper. The cover featured fat, Hawaiian Elvis. I still have it and it sounds pretty good, though it favors late-era Elvis and nothing from the Sun years. First 7" single: "The Streak" by Ray Stevens. Jesus, what's wrong with me?
What are the Bloodshot staff's favorite super-charged power ballads?
Rob: Nazareth, "Love Hurts"
Nan: Elton John, "Someone Save My Life Tonight"
Scott: Night Ranger, "Sister Christian"
Piercy (Pete): Styx, "Lady"
Mike Sosin: Mötley Crüe, "Home Sweet Home"
Josh: Europe, "Final Countdown"
Mike Smith: Queen, "The Show Must Go On"
Warehouse Justin: REO Speedwagon "Can't Fight This Feeling Any More" (ed. OUCH!)