Chris Cue: How to approach a record label.

Chris Cue breaks down how to approach a record label and the three questions you should ask before signing a contract.

In the first Socially Sound webinar, DJ Breakthrough Academy and Tough Luck Records owner, Chris Cue spoke about how to approach a record label and identified the three questions you should ask labels before you sign a contract.

Chris also talks about how he got started in the industry, identifying how two seasons in Ibiza in 2009 and 2012 helped him build his network outside of the north-east.

How to approach a record label

Dont’s 🚫

  • Don’t tell the label how long you have been producing – it could instantly make them assume the music you are sending is not that good.
  • Don’t tell the label that you have sent this music to a number of DJs – this will put the label off as they want exclusivity. By offering the music to other DJs, you are telling the label that this is already out there for free.
  • Don’t send your music as a download – let the labels stream it with the option as a download.
  • Don’t send your music as an MP3. Send the highest quality so the label owner/artist could play the music at an event.
  • Don’t just send one track.

Do’s ✅

  • Support the label on social media before you send them music. This will plant your name into their head and build a personal relationship with the label.
  • Research the label and make sure you know your sound is what they are looking for.
  • Let the label owner know you are playing regularly.
  • Offer exclusivity – make music, especially for that label.
  • Ask for feedback – don’t be pushy.
  • Send the professionally mastered music as a wav file.
  • Attach a private Soundcloud link with 3 or more tracks for the label owner to listen too.

3 questions to ask a record label

Before you sign a contract with a record label, it’s important to ask the right questions. This allows you to make the right choice when it comes to signing to the right label.

1️⃣ What is the label’s release schedule?

Asking this question allows you to understand how long it will take before your music comes out. The top labels have a backlog of around 6-12 months.

In the video, Chris explains one of his biggest learning curves was signing to a label too early and didn’t ask the right questions. By the time the release came out 14 months later, Chris hated the release as he had learned a lot more about production and was making much better music than what he signed.

2️⃣ Is the label investing in PR?

If the label is paying for PR on the release, this can open a lot of doors for you. A record label with a good relationship with a PR company can lead to press interviews, radio support and getting your music to the bigger artists via the PRs mailing list.

If the label isn’t willing to invest in PR, this could be a red flag to look out for.

“Mainland PR knew when Loco Dice was having his sugar puffs.”

3️⃣ Is the label funding the remix?

If the label is willing to fund the remix, this allows you the opportunity to gain exposure by working with a bigger artist. This will result in the bigger artist supporting your music and talking about YOU on THEIR social media.


  • Offer to fund some of the remix fees yourself could ensure the label can land a remix from a bigger or more suitable artist. This might benefit you in the long-run by getting the attention of similar artists or promoters.

How to get the attention of artists and record labels


  • Send personalised vinyl sleeve artwork to each artist.

Tough Luck co-founder Johnny personalised each vinyl sleeve with a permanent marker so each artist on their label hitlist received a unique vinyl sleeve. These sleeves were not available anywhere else and were unique to each different artist. 

This got the attention of Adam Shelton, Subb-an and Bloody Mary, leading to a thank you on social media share and support in clubs.

Tough Luck Records took these artists on their hitlist through their own marketing funnel to generate attention, interestdesire and action

ARTIST: Jonny Lawrence (Tough Luck label partner)

“Social media is going to be our superpower”

– Tough Luck Records

Quick Links:

Chris Cue on Instagram | DJ Breakthrough Academy on Instagram

DJ Breakthrough Academy on YouTube | Jonny Lawrence Art on Instagram

Join the Socially Sound Membership to gain full access to the Socially Sound Hub.

The Socially Sound Membership is a product dedicated to helping you:

  • Market your music
  • Build your audience
  • Execute strategies

Take your first step to becoming a Socially Sound DJ.

Each week I share a new case study in my Socially Sound Blueprint newsletter.

The blueprint to becoming a successful artist is right in front of you. You just have to look in the right places…

The Blueprint #001: Bicep flex their marketing muscle – Part 1

The Blueprint #001: Bicep flex their marketing muscle – Part 2

The Blueprint #002: Tommy Farrow – Zero to 1 million streams

The Blueprint #003: Josh Hvaal: Signing music to Hot Creations

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