How to get in contact with an A&R during Amsterdam Dance Event
With Amsterdam Dance Event (ADE) fast approaching, it is important to consider the steps you must take in order to get your music into the hands of key A&R reps at the conference. After all, becoming a successful artist relies on getting your music into the right hands, without getting your music heard, you stand little chance of moving your career to the next level. ADE is the ideal event for reaching the right A&Rs who have the potential to help you move your career to the next level, as it is the one event on the calendar when everyone from the electronic music industry gathers to network, learn and celebrate. This year’s ADE is right around the corner, so we’ve taken a look at some of the key methods for getting your music into the hands of A&Rs.
Founded in 1995, the annual conference has been running for almost 23 years, continuing to expand with each edition. It started as a three-day conference and now spans five days, offering a vast number of diverse events. From talks with industry leaders to studio sessions, from sold-out arena shows to intimate label showcases, Amsterdam Dance Event really does have it all. The diversity of the conference has undoubtedly aided its growth and is one of the many reasons that leading artists return year after year. It is important to note that while Amsterdam Dance Event has already announced a huge number of shows and events, many of the biggest opportunities for artists are the spontaneous events that may only be announced on the day, or not at all.
At Amsterdam Dance Event there are always demo drops available to artists, sometimes hosted by labels, sometimes by artists themselves. These demo drops are usually low-key if announced, and may even not be announced at all until the last minute. In the past, artists like Dannic have hosted demo drops on the street, offering budding artists the chance to get their music heard by key individuals and pass on their information. In Dannic’s case, he celebrated the launch of his Fonk Recordings label by offering artists the chance to meet him and share their demos. Situations like this are extremely valuable, as getting your music heard in person is much more reliable than via email, where often your attempts to reach out will fall on deaf ears and your email may never even be opened. By turning up to a demo drop and watching established artists and key A&R contacts listen to your work, you can be sure that they do actually listen to the track. Be warned, it is important to be ready for criticism. Most importantly, remember that any negative comments you receive are given simply to help you to improve. Even the world’s leading artists face criticism, it is how you react to this criticism that dictates whether you grow as an artist or stay at the same level.
On the Friday of Amsterdam Dance Event this year, there is a Demopitch event available that enables producers to have ten minutes with an industry professional and get quality feedback and advice on demos. The event is completely free of charge, all you must do is prepare your demos and be ready to accept feedback, good and bad. The full list of professionals available to listen to demos at this year’s event is yet to be announced, but will undoubtedly contain an array of industry leaders that can provide extremely useful feedback. As part of the event, you will be able to choose which professional listens to your demos, it could be anyone from an artist to a manager, an agent, an A&R rep or a sound engineer. This event provides an incredible opportunity to attain real honest feedback from those at the top of their field. Achieving such valuable feedback can be difficult by email, as often your demo will not be heard by those at the top.
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Calling all aspiring DJs, producers and music lovers! The Festival Hangout, located at De Brakke Grond, will once again be the place to ‘immerse in sound’, as ADE Sound Lab returns with Studio Sessions, Demolition XXIII and more! The first involved artists and gear partners have been announced, visit a-d-e.nl/news for more info. ADE Sound Lab is accessible for ADE Card (€15-), ADE Pass & ADE Conference Pass holders. #ADE18 📸: @maxkneefel
Aside from scheduled demo-based events, there are also plenty of other opportunities to meet with A&R reps. On the Amsterdam Dance Event schedule, there are already plenty of talks planned with major A&Rs set to take to the stage and discuss a variety of subjects, though these opportunities are not ideal, they do provide a small chance of making a connection. If meeting an A&R this way it is important to be careful not to come across as pushy, especially if the individual in question is in a hurry and does not want to listen to your track straight away. In situations like this, it is important to remain courteous and hand over your track in the form of a USB with your contact details included. This will come across in a much more professional manner than harassing the individual and asking them to listen to your demo then and there. Making a bad impression when meeting an A&R can be much more damaging to your career than never meeting them at all.
With each of these methods, there is one factor that can determine whether or not you have a positive experience at Amsterdam Dance Event. The factor in question is your ability to connect with industry professionals in a positive manner. A great demo is one thing, but in order to really make an impact on those you are meeting with, it is imperative to give the right impression. This includes always remaining courteous, even when faced with criticism that may often be difficult to hear. It is vital to always conduct yourself in the right manner and remain professional in order to avoid giving A&Rs the wrong impression. In order to avoid being put on the spot with brutal criticism, prepare yourself mentally in advance. Think about all of the negative comments that may come from sharing your demo and think about the benefits of receiving these comments, including your ability to improve as a result.
A&Rs deal with a huge volume of producers every year, making standing out for the right reasons absolutely necessary. By dealing with so many producers, A&Rs will have experienced behaviour across the spectrum, from respectful polite artists to pushy aggressive individuals showing sheer desperation to land a label deal. For this reason, their tolerance for any kind of forceful behaviour will be absolutely minimal and they are likely to avoid dealing with you if you pressure them. There is a distinct difference between being passionate and hungry for success and trying to force success. The latter will negatively impact the way you are viewed by those you come into contact with and could hold you back from moving forward in your career. Always think about how you are coming across and don’t let emotion rule your judgement.
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🤳🏽📝Aspiring young music professional? Visit the 2018 ADE University program for a selection of talks, keynotes and workshops with representatives from the worlds most important music labels, artist agencies, management offices and festival promoters. On top of that you’ll get the chance to visit parts of the ADE Pro and ADE Beats program! Tickets (€15,- | students only) are available via the ADE site, the full program will be announced in September. #ADE18 📸: @maxkneefel
When sharing your demo and networking at Amsterdam Dance Event, always remember the long-term impact of your actions. Don’t let the pressure of the situation overwhelm you, but always be aware that what you achieve during that one week could affect the coming year of your career. Although a negative interaction may not stop you from becoming a successful artist in the future, it may hinder you from the speed of growth that you have the potential to achieve. As an artist, it is not simply about producing quality music, much of your success rests on your ability to make meaningful connections with the right contacts, people who have the potential to aid you in expanding your influence.
Don’t be dishearted by the potential negative outcome, although it is important to be aware of your behaviour, use it as a reason to show A&Rs the best version of yourself. Getting in contact with A&R reps at Amsterdam Dance Event is the perfect opportunity to make a positive impression and build a long-lasting great relationship with someone who could help change your career for the better. Always be yourself when networking, this will give you the best chance of building a real relationship. The positives outweigh the negatives, so don’t be afraid to reach out and make a connection.
The potential positive impact that could come from getting your demo into the hands of the right A&R is immeasurable. There is truly no limit to the benefits you can gain from making a connection with an A&R who believes in the quality of your music and wants to continue the relationship further. Even if the A&R in question does not think that you are the right fit for the label they work for right now, simply putting yourself on their radar for a potential future relationship is vital. You may find that your next release is exactly the right fit for the label of your dreams and that making that original connection with the A&R means that they are much easier to reach. Like all relationships, your relationships with A&R reps must be built over time, not overnight. Getting signed to the label of your dreams is a marathon, not a sprint, by taking the long-term approach and consistently building on your relationship with the A&R, you give yourself the best chance of reaching your goal.