As a producer weekly I receive about 4 or 5 serious demos from independent artistes and bands who want to get signed or they ask for tips for improving their music career. But there is one common problem in most demos. “they all sound the same”. These days a lot of songwriters hear something on the radio or online play lists and think “oh this song is like this and that and became a mainstream, so I must do the same” but the reality is different, if you make the same song, it won’t be at mainstream anymore because that song already exists!
The first thing you should understand is that you are not the first or only songwriter who sends out his/her demo for labels but you are the only songwriter who has YOUR SOUND! But the important -and forgotten- point is that you first must find your sound. You must find what is original about you.
If Michael Jackson, Eminem, Jay-Z, Pink Floyd, John Lennon, etc. had became such legends, it is simply because they invented something new and different than the others. Even sometimes (particular example of Eminem’s Slim Shady character) they feel they’re not unique enough, so they make a new musical character which is new. They spend that character in their music. They made something that different that -for example- today when you hear a song from another artiste, you can say “oh it sounds like blah blah band”. That is because that blah blah band had found their uniqueness and they boosted it. You can do that or you can just be a commercial artiste who repeat the same old stuff over and over and in the best case scenario you can be like Britney Spears or Justin Bieber (which had to leave the industry after a few years because they’re just following a routine in pop music and there nothing really special or original and after a certain amount of time, they have nothing new to provide to fans).
Learn about the market, learn about the music business, be creative and do NOT make “out of shape” music.
So, as an artiste or songwriter, before sending out your demo, take a few minutes, put yourself in the producer’s shoes and see if you would sign yourself or not. If the answer is positive, then try sending it out.
But REMEMBER, signing the contract doesn't mean you're already an star or whatever! It only means now you have the chance to begin your journey in music industry. Just don't blow the chance as you never know if there will be any second chance.