I have seen the cassette come and go, vinyl get pushed from everybody to only deejays, and the birth and near death of the cd. I’ve also seen the growth of many independent record labels and fewer and fewer artists getting signed by record labels.
I have seen artists get signed and blow up and I have seen them go independent and blow up. So which is better: Moving independent or getting signed? Both have their pros and cons.
The benefits of getting signed could be huge. . .if you got the right things in place. Generally for signed, you want a marketable demo, an 8×10 head shot, a bio, and a good deal of patience and hustle. This is typically not an overnight procedure. Depending upon your budget, it may take months to finish your demo package. With today’s technology, lets say it takes you two months.
You’re going to need somewhere to produce your Squirrel Poop and if you do not have your own studio you either have to build one or find one to document. In addition, you need to find a good photographer for your 8×10 glossys. The final major step is writing a persuasive bio about your group. This is just the beginning!
As soon as you’ve got that done, you will need to be able to reproduce it and tap it to different labels and A&R’s. I recall sending out countless demos. An artist could easily get discouraged at this point. But if and when you get a record deal there is still more work to do. Now you’ve got to actually negotiate your deal, promote your record, and hopefully earn some money at the end of the day. Its a simple process but not a simple one.
A fantastic label will offer marketing and promotions bucks for your job (s), supply and reasonable accounting so that you can keep up with your earnings, expenses, and true profit. You might even get tour support for your album. Sometimes artists get improvements for the costs and they frequently have to be repaid or recouped. These fees have to be paid back to the tag before you as the artist view your profit.
Just how will independent differ from getting signed?
Well, normally as an independent you don’t have the major budget that a big label has but you should definitely have more creative control over your career and business. That’s not to say its simple. Its not. Once more, simple but not easy. To me the individual route is better for many reasons though:
More creative control of your music
Easier to build a market following
You can sell your independent label for profit in the future
You can create powerful strategic alliances
You keep more of the profits
Different tax advantages, etc..
The list could go on.
But and being real, it’s a very rough road. It helps to have some written goals so you
Know where you are going. The music business is a small business. You need to study businesses in the music industry in addition to other industries to help make your business better.
Nevertheless, this knowledge will not guarantee success but it can help you get closer to being successful in the future than someone who does not know.
And some of the measures for being an independent are just like the steps for getting a deal.
Recording 10 to 15 good tunes, pressing them up on a cd or downloadable mp3, and marketing your work are the very same things that will need to be done when shopping for a deal.
With today’s technology its not tough to do those things. Why don’t you press some up to sell and still shop for a deal? This is the best way to create income and still search for other opportunities? Once again its not a simple road but the lessons learned will be invaluable to your career.
And even though you’re handling business, you still need to make sure you’re creating songs. Do not stray away from being creative.
Whether you are going the independent route or buying a record deal, the best way to success is to research the business. It has the potential to bring you many benefits. Much success!