What We Look for in an AWAL Artist

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With a selective, curated roster, we’re able to give our artists a higher quality of service that goes far beyond just distribution.

Every artist is at a different stage in developing their career, so we focus on helping where it’s needed most — whether that’s pitching for playlists, access to data and insights, funding, or full-service a&r, creative and marketing support when the time is right.

Our AWAL A&R team works to find those artists who best fit the AWAL mold. You may be wondering — well, who fits that mold?

Below are a few key things that we look for from artists looking to partner with AWAL. We definitely don’t expect artists to hit all of these points before applying — these are just a few of the essential elements that typically encourage us to work with an artist.

1. Quality

Creative quality plays a crucial role in our A&R process. We fully acknowledge that this point, in particular, is quite subjective and difficult to define; however, our seasoned A&R team searches for originality and potential in an artist's music.

While quality audio is essential, other creative collateral, such as videos or artwork, also play an important part in our decision making. Although creative quality is a key factor that every AWAL artist should possess, it is certainly not enough on its own.

2. Fan engagement

The ideal AWAL candidate should already have an engaged fan base. Our A&R team quantifies this by checking the number of streams or views an artist has on popular platforms like SoundCloud, Spotify, and YouTube, and the level of engagement the artist has on these platforms in terms of followers and subscribers.

IMG_5075We also look into an artist’s social following. How many followers do they have on Twitter, TikTok, and Instagram? What does their engagement on Facebook look like? These are all essential questions when reviewing an artist's online presence. While follower count is important, we also look at the level of engagement on socials vs. the total follower count alone.

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Stepping out of the digital world, we also look for artists who are successful with live performance and touring. The ideal candidate will have a track record of bringing in crowds to venues and may already be touring.

Related: Why Every Independent Artist Needs to Be on Facebook, Instagram, AND Twitter

3. Breaking through the noise

With Spotify adding thousands of new recordings per day, it can be challenging for artists to "break through the noise." The artists we look to partner with aren't deterred by this fact and are pro-active about developing an audience.

Platforms like TikTok, YouTube and Instagram can be important in building an engaged audience for your music and artist story. Are you creating interesting visual content to tell your story and help you to cut through?

Another way to break through the noise is through press attention. We love artists who are proactive about getting press coverage. Are you able to capture the attention of press and music blogs? What kind of buzz are you able to generate?

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Other forms of exposure that can help pique our interest are having radio play or music featured in film or TV soundtracks or in ads. If you are achieving success in any of these areas then tell us about it when you apply.

Regardless of whether your music has earned a review on the smallest of blogs or exposure on a worldwide stage, however, we’re just looking to see that you’re working hard to get your name out there — that’s the key.

4. A supportive team

Being an independent artist doesn't mean you have to do it alone... and the ideal AWAL candidate recognizes that. While AWAL will always play a primary role in your development, other relationships which can prove beneficial are with a —

It’s not required for artists to have all these relationships before partnering with AWAL. However, in some instances we use the existence of these partnerships to gauge the potential an artist has to take their career to the highest point possible.

5. A strong brand

We look to align ourselves with artists with a certain level of professionalism. Our A&R team looks for artists who have the foundations of a brand and want to see it grow. For example, we’ll definitely look at your website and your socials to help us evaluate and consider: 

  • Has there been time and effort put into the aesthetic of your project and the visual content you are creating?
  • Does your digital presence (website, social media pages, etc) feel intentional and tell a story about who you are?
  • Do you have press materials and a biography readily available?

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Another aspect we use to determine an artist's level of professionalism is looking at previous releases. We specifically look for clear evidence of a well-thought-out marketing plan. Execution on quality of creative assets such as photos and videos, a clearly thought out timeline, and overall positive reception of release are all signs that you’re ready to jumpstart your career on AWAL.

As stated at the start, we do not expect applicants to have accomplished everything we’ve listed above. Beyond creative talent, we look to partner with the most motivated and passionate artists out there, and those artists who are telling stories that really matter. We believe these are the artists who can fully benefit from all we have to offer.

So, we use many of these key indicators as a means to identify those that are truly driven to achieve success. AWAL is a catalyst, and we are there to support and accelerate all that you work on, but it’s AWAL’s artists who are at the center of driving their own careers.

If you’ve read this and you know that you’re ready to take that next step in your journey… then join us. Join a community who offers artists an alternative to the traditional label deal.

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