Record labels use promotional CDs to promote new artists or new music from established artists. The CDs are distributed free of charge and are not counted as part of an artist's calculation of sales or royalties, which means they are an expense to the label and are not distributed to just anyone who asks. Make it worth a record label's while to send you promotional CDs.
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Consider who is in a position to help a record label promote a new artist or release. Typically music retailers, radio stations, online media and print media are the established means of advertising for record labels.
Claim an association with any of the above sources of advertising, if you can honestly do so, to demonstrate to the label that you can use their promotional CDs to promote the artist and music.
Start a music, entertainment or current events website, an online newsletter or a blog where you can post audio tracks from promotional CDs and turn yourself into a viable means of advertising for new music. Select the target audience for your online effort carefully so the content on the promotional CDs you want to receive fits realistically into the online presence you establish.
Write to the record label whose promotional CDs you want to receive. Explain your association with a music retailer, radio station, media outlet or your own online effort. Ask the label to send you any promotional CDs they have.
Commit to using the promotional CDs they send you to help them promote their new music. This also makes it more likely that the record label will keep sending you promotional CDs.