Dear Record Label: How Do You Find New Bands to Sign?

In a band? Have no idea how to go about getting a label to take you seriously? We've got the answers you're looking for.

In our new series, "Dear Record Label," we went to Roadrunner Records -- home of Slipknot, Rob Zombie, Opeth, Megadeth, Kenny Wayne Shepherd, Trivium and more -- and asked them the tough questions young bands should know the answers to. Each week, we'll be bringing you advice from members of the Roadrunner staff to try and get you on track to get noticed.

This week, the advice comes from Roadrunner Records Vice President of A&R, Monte Conner.

How do you go about finding new talent these days?

MONTE CONNER: Although it is much easier to find new music online these days via Facebook, YouTube, Myspace, music blogs and you can get lucky just by spending time online searching, the sheer volume of it all makes finding high-quality like trying to find a needle in a haystack. So, I still very much rely on my network of contacts to filter all the worthwhile bands up to me.

All successful A&R guys have a network of contacts all over the country who are the first ones to know about new bands. These people are our eyes and ears, and can be local promoters and booking agents, journalists, college radio DJs, attorneys, scouts, blog writers, webmasters or, of course, our own bands and employees. I have signed quite a few bands due to tips from other Roadrunner bands. As an example, I first heard about Fear Factory from Max Cavalera of Sepultura, and later on Dino Cazares from Fear Factory led me to Coal Chamber. As for Slipknot, I didn't wake up one day knowing about them. It doesn't work that way. Roadrunner's local Chicago radio regional saw them live in Iowa and called to rave about them.

And if you're an unsigned band, be sure to check out Roadrunner's Sign Me To website, which allows unsigned bands to display their music, move up charts based on fan ratings, get reviewed by Roadrunner staff and maybe even get signed!

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