DO YOU NEED A RECORD DEAL?
As always, I want to thank my readers for the support they have been showing for each and everyone of the blog post. To those who keep up with the "What you need to know about the music industry series", thank you for your questions. I hope the blogs are of use to you. I'm currently working on a series of blog post that will be for upcoming producers that will consist of several know producers, with the legendary "Billy Hume" being one of them.
The inspiration of today's blog came from question that was recently asked by one of our readers. The question was "am I wasting my time attempting to get a record deal". First lets take a look at what revolves around this question. On one end its people that say a record deal in this day and time is a waste. That its no need to have a record deal being that they will rape you for your commissions. Others are killing themselves to get a record deal. My opinion is this. Its no such thing as a good or bad record deal. A record deal is nothing more than sheets of paper. What matters is what's written on these sheets. And how do you determine what's written on the sheets...by negotiating. Contracts are contracts, its the negotiating that's either good or bad.
Lets take buying a car for example. You walk into the car dealer ship and there is a clean 2009 Lex going for 25k. The car dealer says to you "the car has every feature you asked for, the only problem is the transmission is shot". You decide to buy the Lex for all the features but get upset with the amount you have to spend on maintenance being that you just spent 25k to purchase this vehicle. Who's fault is this, yours or the car dealer? Exactly. You can't be upset with the car dealer. He did his job. He made profit off a car that no one else in the lot could sell. He waited for you. He knew that someone would come along and buy this car because it was a Lexus, regardless of the problems they may have with you. You can't blame anyone but yourself. Does that make sense?
Don't follow others. Its several things that you should be doing on your own before you even consider having a record deal. Most likely you can't achieve global or national exposure. If you could then this blog would not be of interest to you. The fact that you can't gain that exposure isn't a bad thing. This is what I'm saying. Allow yourself a 10 mile radius. Do everything in your power to control and lock down that 10 mile radius. Let that be your national or global market. Operate the same way that a record label would only on a smaller scale. Promote, network, do everything. Use the Internet to go outside of that radius, but that 10 miles should be where your profit comes from. As your profit increases, so should your radius. Follow me, its a method to my madness.
Now a record label is nothing more than a loan. Once you receive this deal you go in debit that day! The label is going to do less than a third of what they can do to make profit. They will spend 2 dollars to make 20, which makes perfect sense. What matters is what you walk in the door with. What can you offer the label other than talent? Talent is good, but keep in mind that its only a small portion of your product. There still has be a team to develop your image. Its another team that has to promote you. Along with that team is a team that has to figure out which market will be the most profitable for your product. Its the production of the product which accumulates another expense. So if you walk in the door with nothing, your asking this label to do everything. To make you a huge star and give you all the profits in return. Tell me one business that operates that way.
Its about what you walk in that door with. You have to exhaust every possible avenue before even getting a deal. I mean, you can get one before that but just know the outcome. So back to the question "do you need a record deal". If you can't gain national or global exposure to sell your product, then hell yes you need a deal. But labels are like any other corporate company. They want to put money in, not do work, and wait for the return. Back to the 10 mile radius. Now once you make enough noise trust me the labels will find you. By then your radius may have increased to 100 miles, if so then your profit has increased. You have proven to the labels that you can make profit off your product. You can negotiate now. You don't need them to create you. You have a fan base, your simply asking them to allow you the opportunity to use their tools and resources to increase your market...or radius. In return your willing to give them a percentage of the profits. How small or how large that percentage is depends on you.
So in closing, a record deal isn't bad. You just have to ask yourself a one thing before getting a record deal. Other than talent, what can you offer a label? You shouldn't be looking for a label to get you the success that you deserve. You shouldn't be searching for a record deal. Instead you should be looking for a business partner. That's what the label should be. Nothing more than a business partner who is providing you with the proper resources and tools to increase the profit or fan base that you already have. If you haven't conquered, or begin to conquer your 10 mile radius, then you have no power for negotiation. None!! And if you sign a record deal at this point you can only expect to get what they are willing to give, which is close to nothing. You just brought a beautiful Lexus with a horrible transmission.
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