Wednesday, December 1, 2010
I had a conversation with an associate yesterday about an artist who had a bad deal with a record company. I had a litany of questions and I guess the biggest question was why did he even sign a record deal? In this day and age it pays to be independent. A record deal is nothing but a high interest loan. With all the access the Internet now offers, an independent artist or company can do just as much as a major. The only thing the majors have is access to large amounts of funding but even with that access they still have to pay to have certain things done. Most artists feel like getting a record deal means they've made it and they can just relax and be a star. That couldn't be farther from the truth. The artist has to always be the driving force behind their career. Record companies have divisions or departments that all specialize in different things. They can consist of A&R, marketing, graphics, radio, publicity...etc. Now as an independent you can do or outsource these same responsibilities without signing your life away. Actually in today's climate, record company's prefer doing partnership's with artists' that have already established a working infrastructure and a fan base. This means that the record company can focus on product and distribution. These kind of deals are called P & D's (Pressing & Distribution). In these situations the record company will cover the cost of pressing copies and getting it into retail chains and nowadays on the Internet. But again this is all stuff you can actually do yourself. My advice is to just stay independent as long as you can. You will know when it is time to go the major route. Most of the time the majors will find YOU when they see that you are selling units and you have a substantial following. This gives you more bargaining and negotiation power so that you won't be one of those people sitting around talking about how they got screwed by a record deal. ALWAYS THINK INDEPENDENTLY. EVEN IF YOU HAVE A DEAL, YOU SHOULD STILL OPERATE AS IF YOU ARE INDEPENDENT. NEVER TAKE ANYTHING FOR GRANTED. Now go and continue to build your fan base and infrastructure. You are on your way.
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