Dear Record Label: Making Friends with Your Competition, and How to Get the Most Out of Touring

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 blog 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.

Q: Should fellow up-and-comers be considered friends or foes?

MONTE CONNER (VP of A&R): A big part of success in the music business is about who you know and the connections you make along the way. It's always good to bond with fellow bands as you may need those bands one day, whether to open for them or have them open for you and help your tour. That doesn't mean you can't aspire to blow them off the stage every night. And that's just touring. What about all the other facets of being a working musician.

For the same reasons you need friends in life, you also need friends in your career as a musician. A little competition, not to mention confidence in your own band, is never a bad thing. While it's a small business (and one you don't want to burn any bridges in) it's also big enough to support many successful bands.

Q: The costs associated with touring these days can be prohibitive for new bands, especially since the chances of earning a decent return are small. How can I achieve widespread attention without travelling all over the country/world?

HARLAN FREY (VP Touring/Artist Development): Put every ounce of blood, sweat, and tears into the creation of your music. Take chances, and perfect your craft. You'd be amazed at how much easier touring becomes when the emphasis placed on creating the most impactful tracks possible is put at a premium. Word of mouth travels faster than ever, and if you engage online directly with your fans, they will show up and support your touring endeavors whenever that happens.

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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