There was a time in the music business, and we are going back a bit, when the ultimate goal for musicians, artists, or unsigned bands was to obtain a record deal or recording contract. Back then, we were talking major record label, there were little or few Independent Record labels to speak of. This was the standard focus and quest. It was my band’s quest at the time and we were lucky enough to get signed by Warner Bros. and they did a decent job on the marketing end. But if you are an independent artist today, a lot of you know that this obsession of getting a record deal may not be as prevalent as it was many years ago, and it probably should not be.
Most independent musicians today understand that the glamour of getting signed to a major record label or even a strong independent label may not be all it is cracked up to be. First of all, with the state of the music industry and record labels today, it is even harder to obtain a decent record deal then it was years ago and many Indies today realize that it may not be worth the effort -- there is a good reason for this.
With the onset of the Internet and the way musicians market their music today, the playing field has been leveled. Artists and bands have an equal opportunity for exposure, record sales, and awareness. With the ability to start your own record label and publishing company, there is just not much of a need or desire for that matter, to get tied into an unfair record deal; provided of course you have the financial means, contacts, knowledge, and guidance to get all the necessary music marketing, promotion, publicity, and distribution.
However, if you are one of those unsigned artists or Indie musician that still believes that getting a good recording contract is the way to go please allow me to point out just a few of the many things you may be facing and getting yourself into:
When you commit to a record label you are essentially setting yourself up and locking yourself in for what inevitably can be years.
You lose the freedom of choice regarding some creativity, song selection, arrangement, releases, and live performance.
You are giving up the lion’s share of profits on CD sales and in some cases, depending upon what kind of deal it is, your merchandise.
You may have to give up all or most of your music-publishing rights which is where a lot of, if not most of, the income comes from other than touring.
You may sign a record deal with certain options and find that your recordings may never even get released at all.
Don’t expect the record label to put much money into artist development. They just don’t do that
written by Ken Cavalier | TheIndieMusic