Originally Answered: How do I get noticed in the hip hop music industry?
Don't wait on a record company or a manager or a booking agent- that's a recipe for failure. They are looking for people who self start so go pretend there is no help coming and build your business on your own. Also- if music is your life then maybe you would be happy just making a living playing music rather than "making it big" - just a thought. Try these:
1) LEARN MUSIC It is ALWAYS about the music - practice, learn everything you can about music theory and writing and reading music- this will make you much more employable than the dozens of hobbyists out there. Never ever stop learning and finding people to learn from...Vocal coach is a GREAT idea!
2) NETWORK - seek out and befriend people who make a living making music be they session players, band members, music executives (at labels, publishers, management companies or booking agents) or producer / engineers... The music business is all about your talent and who you know. In many cases people can get away with less talent if they know the right people and can convince them to participate in their projects.
3) PLAY and RECORD often. Play live, get basic home recording gear so you can preserve your ideas and share them with other people. Join a band or two - co-write with anyone and everyone who will let you. Start simple with open mic nights and work your way up. Meet and keep in contact with everyone you meet who is doing what you want to do (making a living making music I'm assuming)...
4) BE PROFESSIONAL. The music business if full of flakes. Don't be a dude (chick), there's a million dudes out there. Be a man (woman).
5) LEARN BUSINESS. Look at and learn all of the ways that money is made in the music business. A good starting point is Donald Passman's "all you need to know about the music business" - if you understand where the money comes from in the music business it will be much harder for people to take advantage of you...and they will try.
If you insist on submitting material to record labels just be aware it is a long shot but do your homework. Read up on the artists you like and that have careers that resemble the one you want (and have music stylistically similar to yours) and what labels they are signed to and who gets the A&R credit for signing them. Before you send anything call- make sure that A&R person is still at that company or Google them to see if you can find out on your own where they may be now. Present your materials professionally and in a manner that highlights your successes (local radio play, show attendance figures, film and tv placements etc)...
Call the A&R executive, or the A&R person's executive and ask permission to send material and write on the envelope - "requested material".
Check the links below - lots of good information on that site.
Best of luck to you,