The great 'Unsigned / up and coming bands free music' Hunt



  • Thanks to all posters, there's some really good music referenced here.

    Band/Artist's Name: Uniting The Elements

    Music Style: 'defies simplistic categorisation' - it's a wide church! Everyone I know who's heard them either likes or loves their style.

    What style of music/who is it similar to?: They are totally original - go take a listen and slot it in to a niche if you want.


    They have samples that can be listened to on both sites.

    They are difficult to categorise, so maybe a precis of what's special about Uniting The Elements will help; but there's no substitute for having a listen though!

    Uniting The Elements are unusual for a number of reasons - partly their music, which is entirely original and, bizarrely, it seems to cut across a very wide span of audience profiles (if anything this aspect is the one that will primarily attract a label if they go for one); but mainly it's their attitude to work and their prodigious capacity for it that distinguish them from the majority of musicians - especially the hosts of musical idlers and talentless wannabees.

    They have a commitment to live gigs, and to awesome performance - they really do deliver real high energy stuff. Live they are virtually par-less ... giving a novel, stunning, breathless and captivating performance; added to which they're fronted by the vocal talent and drop-dead 'visual appeal' of the sylph like singer Dawn.

    As time of writing (12th March) it seems Uniting The Elements have already got 117 gigs booked for 2008, including several key festivals - again - including, for the more Rock oriented, The International Custom Bike Show (April 25th - 27th), that seminal biker bash - The FarmYard Party (June 21st) - and virtually every venue for the Isle of Mann TT (May 23rd to June 11th); and even some weird stuff, like the Camera Beerfest (Aug 15th).

    They did well over 100 gigs last year, and 250 (yes 250) the year before!

    Last year they received best audience ratings in the US radio test market.

    Uniting The Elements are; Dawn - Singer, Sarah (Violet) - Drummer, Ola - Guitar. 2/3 German and 1/3 English. Currently living out of their tour-bus in the UK.

    Poster is not a member or an employee of the band!
  • Toto
    Toto Posts: 6,680 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    Ok, as some of you will know I am a professional session musician and although this isn't necessarily what martin was looking for here, I have noticed a few people who are themselves involved with usnigned bands. One of the most common questions I am asked is, how to we get a record deal?

    I have worked for the past 15 years with Sony BMG and EMI but the 'rules' apply to pretty much all labels. To be honest, there is a lot of luck involved, fitting into the box of current trend helps a lot. What I find frustrating (from a musician point of view) is that ability to play well is pretty low in the list (studio engineers and session musicians fill in the gaps), being what will sell is number 1. So, if you need to change style to fit the trend, that's something to think about (sadly). Surprisingly getting the deal isn't the hardest part, keeping it is, so many bands are signed and dropped because they just don't sell enough. Or, the label will work you to death for a year or so, flood the market with you, make their money and drop you like a ton of bricks when they want to move onto the next money making machine. Which is when true passion and ability comes in because if you're able enough you can work as a session muso and not be tied to a particular band and will work a lot more.

    But, my main tip would be, get a decent demo. You can often find recording studios which you can hire at a fairly cheap rate. Only book studio time for actual recording, all rehearsal should be done somewhere cheap like rehearsal rooms or even at home. before you book for recording, hire some mics and monitors, learn how to mic up the instruments yourself, get an idea of what sounds best for you and your band. use monitors, discover what you want to hear, most musicians have their own needs and it's so important to find that out before recording because you will waste so much time if you get into the studio only to find that you can't hear what you need to.

    Decide if you will be playing the track live or much more commonly playing each track individually. Usually drums first then bass, guitars, keys, vocals, bvs. I would certainly invest the money into getting a professional engineer to mix the track. It's false economy to pay the bloke up the road who has a bit of a studio in his bedroom unless he has a good record of getting demos sounding tip top. remember the engineer is a key part of the band. he is the guy who makes you sound good or truly awful, mixing is an artform and it takes experience and a great set of ears to be able to do it well. So, shop around, listen to what he has produced and never use someone because they are cheaper.

    The following text from (a great and informative website) explains it all better than I can. So, I'll leave it to them to go into the ins and outs of it all. Sorry it's a bit long and martin, feel free to delete all of this if I'm talking drivel which isn't needed on the thread.

    I'm always happy to answer PMs with questions about the music industry and to offer guidance to musicians and bands so do ask if you'd like to know anything.

    A record deal, also known as a recording contract, is a legally binding document between an artist and a production or record company. Usually prepared by the record companies solicitors, it is then negotiated between them and the Artists Management and the artists Solicitor.

    The main purpose of a deal is to give the record/production company rights to use or sell recordings of the artists performances which would then be licensed to the record company by the artist. A recording of a song and the song itself are both handled seperately. A songwriter signs to a Publishing Company who would deal with the sale of their songs and not the recordings, whereas the record company licences the right to record the song from the songwriter or publisher.

    Contracts are inevitably biased in favour of the Record Companies, who control the master recordings and charge the full amount of production to the artists 'possible' royalty account leaving them with an outstanding cost unless the recordings are hugely successful. Many stars of yesteryear whose songs are still covered by major artists today are still paid on the basis of their original contracts and receive pennies rather than pounds in royalties. In addition artists are not paid on the actual number of records sold, instead royalties are calculated on only 90% of sales! This dates back to the age of 78 vinyl records when an average 10% would break in transit.

    The Record Label may pay for the manufacturing costs of CD's, Audio Cassettes etc., but beware! a 'packaging deduction' is taken from the artists royalty, these expenses cover the cost of CD/Cassette Covers, Artwork etc., are hugely overcharged and rarely bear any relation to the actual cost..........Essentially anything that is paid for by the record company on behalf of the artist is re-coupable from their royalties, in effect they act like a Bank who LOANS you money to record your works - the artist has to repay all expenditure.

    Even after the costs have been recouped the Company still owns the copyright to the album and if the sales are low then all possible future royalties are taken to pay off the artists debt!

    So how does the Recording Industry qualify this practice? Other than the fact that artists often sign long unrealistic contracts for huge advances in the hope of fame, their view is that they spend huge sums developing and signing artists that may never sell commercial quantities of songs, marketing and promoting their current successful artists and re-investing in new talent.

    Another sting in the tail is the practice of shelving or ditching an act/band if the A&R person leaves the company or failing to develop or promote the artist or their recordings. This has left many talented musicians out of pocket with no control of their recordings, tied into a contract with a company who no longer has an interest in their material but retains all the copyrights until the artists debt is repaid.
    Approaching Record Companies

    Hundreds of unsolicited demo's are sent in every week to record companies, many of which are never listened to. Even the most conscientious A&R person will only listen to the first 20/30 seconds of a song before sending out a rejection letter, so how does an artist/band get their masterpiece heard?

    First of all its important to understand that it takes several factors to create a 'buzz' and gain enough interest from an A&R person for them to listen to a demo or make the effort to see the artist live. Performing in venues frequented by A&R personnel, TV and Radio appearances, Reviews in Music and National Press and Recommendations from respected managers, DJ's, promoters, producers, venues, studios, lawyers, journalists are more likely to help an artist/band succeed!

    Research the company to ascertain the style and genres of music favoured prior to contacting anyone, read music press to discover which A&R personnel frequent showcase venues and then speak to the A&R Departments Secretary to get the name of the person to send your publicity pack.

    Call A&R departments a week before a gig in well known Showcase Venue in their area of operation (Mainly London but Manchester, Liverpool, Glasgow and Birmingham also have record label talent scouts.) Don't be depressed if you don't hear anything for a while or receive a rejection letter, the companies deal with so many demos it could take over a month before you hear anything and many well known artists/bands were rejected many times before getting a deal!

    There are several companies who operate as a 'go-between' between the artist and A&R, offering appraisal of your music, showcases and compilation albums for distrubution to A&R. Do check them out before parting with any cash, most will provide a free service with small admin costs (like Taxi and Talent Scouts). Musicians Union members are occasionally given recommendations as are Band Register (UK) users who are accepted for promotion on their compilation.

    If an A&R person likes your demo they will ring you or write requesting more new material. Mark the outside of the package "requested material" with the band/artist name, send it quickly, telephone to confirm its in the post and always put any A&R person who has shown an interest in your material on the guest list for every gig you do (include a gig list with the demo).

    Congratulations may be in order if you manage to get a meeting with an A&R person, but don't start getting your hopes up! At this stage all they require is a chat to get to know you or arrangement to see the band/act live. Be prepared to take criticism of the songs, recordings and performance (if relevant), be prepared to discuss your goals, career progression and influences or to perform a 'Showcase', which can either be a specially arranged gig in a proper venue or a rehearsal room. Using a venue are prone to the usual technical hitches, lack of audience and other hassles, although a huge appreciative crowd raises the energy & interest. Using a rehearsal studio allows you to get the sound right, grab a few mates for encouragement and run through the songs before anyone arrives!

    A&R people are notoriously elusive and known not to turn up, but if there is a lot of interest in a particular act/band a Showcase can start a bidding war between several different labels/publishers.

    If you have sufficiently impressed them they may offer to put up a demo budget to record further tracks or fund a private showcase.

    Luck often plays a large part with artists 'spotted' in the most unlikely places but anyone who is serious about getting a record deal should concentrate on creating their own 'Luck' by Self Promotion, good demo's, image and live work. Artists/Bands may have to do this themselves unless signed to Management and EVERYONE involved in creating/performing in the act/band should participate in the marketing/promotion.

    When a label or publisher makes an offer it is standard practice for an artists manager/lawyer to tell rival record companies in the hope of starting a bidding war, be careful not to sign a deal just for the extra money.......look at the long term picture and aim for a company/A&R person/producer who are easy to get on with and creatively in tune with you.

    Several companies advertise for acts/bands to appear on Compilation Cd's which will (allegedly) be sent to A&R personnel or distributed to shops. Take care before signing up to one of these companies and research them before parting with any cash! Whilst some are reputable and actually play a part in bringing together artists with record/publishing A&R like The Band Register and Taxi, other more unscrupulous companies charge large fees to appear on compilations that are never sold or listened to by Record Companies!
    "Everyone is a genius. But if you judge a fish on its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid" - Albert Einstein
  • aynz
    aynz Posts: 9 Forumite
    First Anniversary Combo Breaker
    I am glad this thread has been created, I actually run an online radio station dedicated to promoting unsigned bands and independent artists. It is a totally free site and I only rely on google ad clicks for revenue (it is more an elaborate hobby).

    Please check out the site at, there are a load of great unsigned bands waiting to be discovered, the playlist has direct links to their websites. I also have free podcasts of DJ shows available.

    You can listen to the low quality stream at and if you want to hear it in a high quality stream all you have to do is register on the site (again its free).

    Any artists wanting to get on the playlist fill in the 'consent' form at (did I mention that it is all free?)

    I hope you don't see this as a spam post, I thought it would be the right thread to bring to your attention the great unsigned music that we are playing.
  • These bands provide free music to dowload:Enjoy unsigned. Got played on BBC radio 2/Xfm/ Unsigned 2 really good albums for free.
    • Band/Artist's Name: Freeway
    • Music Style: Classic Rock
    • What style of music/who is it similar to?: AC/DC ZZ Top
    • Website:
    Videos and Music downloads from the website. Based in Staffordshire

  • Give this guy a go! You can Download all of his tracks from this site for FREE!
    Band/Artist's Name: Tom Mulchinock
    Music Style: Acoustic/Indie/Touch of Tasteful Pop

    What style of music/who is it similar to?: Not entirely sure!

  • Band/Artist' name - 10 EASY WISHES
    Music Style - Indie Pop
    Similar to - The Beach Boys throwing a barbeque for The Who
    Website -

    You're definitely going to like it. :j
  • Band Name: The Smash Hits
    Music Style: Rock/Pop
    What style of music/who is it similar to?: Mixed - they're a covers band

    They're all pro musicians - check out the demos to hear how good they sound... if you're up for booking or want to find out more, contact: [EMAIL=""][/EMAIL]
  • Band Name: The Precious Egos
    Music Style: Indie Pop
    What style of music/who is it similar to?: All original songs

    All songs on myspace are freely downloadable.
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