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The Single Deal Vs. The Album Deal

June 4, 2009

You already know how we feel about albums, but I wanted to bring this up.

What if you are an act who is generating some hype, but a record label is too nervous to sign you to an album deal. You aren’t going to sign any 360 deal and they know most of your fans are going to just download your album for free. Let’s also say you had some hit potential in whatever is left of commercial radio.

What about considering a single deal?

What if the record label was interested in signing you to a single deal where they would promote one of your already recorded songs to radio and other appropriate outlets. You wouldn’t get the album deal you wanted and you might have to give up the publishing to the song, but it might be really worth it if you think of the big picture.


1. You’re only giving up the rights to one of your songs. You still own the rest of your songs.

2. If the label does its job and the song starts to take off, people will want to hear more. They may even buy other songs you have. Who owns 100% of those other songs?

3. The promotion of the song could lead to an increase in merch sales, ticket sales, and bigger touring opportunities. These other revenue streams you still own 100% of too.

The label isn’t outlaying a ton of cash since it’s just one song you already made a quality recording of. They’re leveraging the relationships they have in radio and in the publishing world to help make money off the one song. It’s a cautious and potentially profitable deal for them and opens up bigger opportunities for you without tying you up to a 6 album deal contract.

Remember: For the most part, you don’t get into a band because of an album. You get interested in a band because of a song.

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2 Comments leave one →
  1. June 4, 2009 5:38 pm

    It makes sense in theory but I doubt any label would invest in a single without an option on follows up that somehow is similar to signing the album.Still there’s some truth in the concept.

  2. June 5, 2009 4:48 am

    Yeah, I’d bet they’d want options on follow-up material, but I could see the above deal happen more and more as the majors get more desperate for money.


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