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Is Getting Signed Still Your Dream?

January 19, 2009

There’s a statistic out there that claims 9/10 Major label records fail. Those ‘failures’ may sell  thousands of units, but since the label spent so much money on recording and promoting it, they didn’t turn a profit and therefore the artist doesn’t get paid.

Most people have heard the stories of artists getting screwed by Major labels. Yet for some artists, getting signed to a Major label is still the golden ticket to fame and fortune.

The problem is that major labels used to offer a lot more in terms of launching a career. That was when records sold millions, and the Majors could take a loss on 9 artists they’ve promoted and make a killing on that one record that sells millions. Today the value and money that a Major label can offer is declining as the music industry changes.

Today Major labels can give you:

  • An advance depending on how much they think you’re worth. This advance is a loan, which you will pay back.
  • Marketing power for your album. Another loan.
  • Offer tour support. Another loan.
  • Licensing opportunities in TV/Film/New Media..etc. They’ll do that only if you’ve given them your publishing rights.

If you’ve ever approached an industry person and inquired what they are looking for in an artist, they’ll tell you they invest their money in artists that have a fan-base and are working hard on their own. That means you have to do it all yourself before they’ll look at you. But in today’s world of 360 deals, labels (major and indie) offer you less and less and demand more and more.

The days of signing that Major label contract and having all your problems disappear are nearing an end, especially if you’re in a rock band. Work the angles that you have right now, put out better music, and then when the Majors come knocking on your door you’ll have the leverage to get what you want.

Get on yo’ grind!

Take Control of Your Music,

Voyno

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One Comment leave one →
  1. January 19, 2009 7:17 pm

    I understand the statistic to be closer to 97% of all albums released on major labels fail.
    I like that the author used the term “loan” instead of “advance” although I would like to take it one step further and refer to it as a purchase price. Make no mistakes, the major labels own you when you are under contract and every dollar they spend is one more piece of you they get. The worst of it is that even if you can pay back the initial purchase price, they still own you! Also, there is aspects of you and your career that they will most likely never give back to you. The ownership of the art that you created comes to mind.

    I agree- Get Yo Grind On! Seek help if you need! When you do it yourself you get to choose how much of your money you keep and how much you delegate back to your career. This is an exciting time to be an independent musician, make the most of it!

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