Hopefully this thread hasn't been started too many times. I apologise if there is a thread on this already but I couldn't find anything that matches the question I want ask exactly. I've been producing music for a while. I wrote a full album about 1 1/2 years ago. It was a kind of experiment. I quite liked it so I kept producing. 6 months later I put together an EP that I felt was of much higher quality. The mix was decent and I got it professionally mastered, bought album artwork and printed a bunch of CDs. I gave away a lot of CDs and put the EP (along with my first album) on my website for download. I mostly did this for the purpose of getting my name out there and getting people in to my music. After this, I kept releasing tracks for download on my website and Sound Cloud. The basic idea was to create as much good will for my artist name as possible so as to develop a following. I think that my music is pretty inoffensive and to many people - probably a bit on the boring side. So, my Sound Cloud following as not really taken off. Over the last 6 months I've been building up tracks to release as another full-length album. I feel that this album will be better in quality again, and plan to spend quite a bit of time on the mix detail and getting it to sound just right. I feel that this album will finally be a truly enjoyable professional album. I plan on finishing it off over the next couple of months. But, I'm a little scared of releasing it because I want people to notice the event, and I want to create some buzz around the release. It's not necessarily about making money, but more about getting the exposure that the album deserves so that I've got a strong body of music that people know so that I can play in front of audiences and have some chance of them knowing my stuff. I feel that I have reached the limit in terms of self-promotion and would now really like to take it up a notch so that I can perhaps notch out some kind of musical career for myself. So, the question is, how should I go about approaching a record company with an album? I see lots of threads about approaching companies with demos . But, I figure that by demo, they mean a single track. This is a different situation. I will basically have a finished product. Should I get the album mastered before I approach the companies? Should I give the album in its entirety, or should I cut off the end of the song so as to not get my songs ripped off? Is there a way to verify that recording companies won't just pass my music on to people to sell as their own? Am I even barking up the right tree? Should I be looking for a record company? Or, should I just find one of those distribution type deals where they merely place the songs on Beat Port or iTunes and I have to do the self-promotion myself? This is new territory for me. Any advice would be much appreciated. PS: The type of label I'd be looking for is something like Warp, or Rephlex, but of I don't expect any labels of that calibre to be interested in my stuff. Would something like this service (http://www.taxi.com) be a good idea? I wouldn't think thank big record companies would really be looking for my obscure brand of ambient electronica.