When you send your demo to a record label, what is the next step? Of course it would be nice if the phone started ringing right away, chances are that you are going to need to follow up on your demo. The approach you take when you follow up makes all the difference in the world. You don't want to burn any bridges before your music even gets a spin. Here is what you need to know about label-friendly music demo follow up practices.
Most record labels have a demo policy, and sometimes the policy explains how you can follow up on your demo. You really, really must stick to the policy, even if it states that follow ups are NOT welcome. Being that person to send the "I know you said not to get in touch, BUT.." email is not going to do you any favors. Frustrating though it may be, if the label doesn't accept follow ups, you're going to need to take a deep breath and patiently wait for them to contact you.
Assuming follow ups are welcome or the demo policy doesn't specify, send an email asking for feedback. The label's site will likely list the email address for the person who deals with demos - if it doesn't, use the A&R address. If there isn't one of those, try the general "info" address.
Your email should be brief and to the point. State who you are, when you sent your demo and ask if anyone has had a chance to listen to it yet. Request some feedback and offer to send more information if necessary.
DO NOT follow up by phone, unless the demo policy says phone calls are OK.
Space Out Your Follow Ups
Even small labels get tons and tons of demos, and so trying to follow up on yours every day will not win you any friends. Asking for some feedback on your demo is not unreasonable, but try to keep in mind that the person on the other end of the email is likely to be dealing with lots of emails like yours. Try sending an email once a month - it is the right balance of reminding labels that your demo is waiting to be listened to and not being a pest.
Post Follow Up Follow Up
OK, let's say you sent an email asking about your demo, and the response you got was that it wasn't a good fit for the label. This is your chance to pick up a little free advice. Send an email thanking them for taking the time to check out your music, and then ask if they might recommend any other labels. You might get some insight into how other people hear your music, and you might end up finding your perfect label.