The Pursuit Of The Record Deal

There are many great musicians who are not able to build a successful career in music because they do not know what it is these companies want from them.

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Do you want a successful, stable and rewarding career as a professional musician? Would you like to know exactly what record companies, producers, and management companies are looking for when seeking out new artists? There are many great musicians who are not able to build a successful career in music because they do not know what it is these companies want from them. As a result, many struggle and wonder why they are unable to make it even though they may be incredible musicians with great songs. What usually happens is that people start to believe the common myth about luck. They believe that you need to get lucky in order to make it. The result is that most musicians give up on their dreams and get a normal (non music related) day job.

Because you are reading this article, I can imagine that you have probably faced similar challenges. I know how you feel, because I went through the same depressing struggle for years and have seen hundreds of great musicians travel along the same path. But over time, I have discovered that in many cases the lack of success is caused by the musicians (including myself in the past) simply not knowing what it is the music industry companies want from new artists.

You probably already know that record labels, producers, entertainment lawyers, and managers seek artists who have a lot more to offer than talent alone. What they want from you is a total package which includes many things, but the two main factors are: adding more value (in terms of money and/or opportunity), and reducing potential downside risks to the music company. I am going to tell you more about these two elements of value and risk in this article.

Prior to signing my first record deal and doing my first real tour, I read dozens of books about the music business. Although some of these books were helpful, I quickly discovered that the reality of the music business was very different from what the books described. In most cases these books weren't necessarily 'wrong', just very incomplete.

Entering the industry as a professional opened my eyes to many things I had never heard of or thought about before. Eventually I came to know and understand many important details about the companies I worked with: their needs, challenges, problems and mindsets. I paid very close attention to things that others around me often overlooked. I did this for two reasons:

01. I wanted to advance my own career to the maximum extent possible while remaining in control of the ways in which that growth occurred.

02. I was already mentoring other musicians, so going deeper into my understanding of the music business was something I needed to do for their benefit as well.

The central theme which kept coming up in my earliest conversations with the record label executives I worked with was partnership. Today, it seems perfectly normal for me to think that record companies might see their artists as business partners, but at the time, I didn't think that the term had a genuine meaning. Over the years that followed, the concept of 'partnerships' began to show up everywhere, but I probably would not have paid much attention to it if my first meetings with the record label and management hadn't been so focused on this fundamental idea.

Record labels, managers, and successful bands, are looking for artists who think in terms of mutual benefit. You must think in this way before any company in the music industry will want to work with you and invest their money and resources into your career. Imagine you are in a band, trying to get a record contract. Obviously you know what YOU want from this deal (access to the record company's resources that will be used to propel your career forward, attract new fans, sell more records, make more money, go on tours, etc.) But have you thought about what THE COMPANY wants (besides the obvious)?

Now imagine for a moment that you are the president of a record label. Would you take $250,000 of your money and invest it into a band which is good and has marketable songs??? I don't know about you, but I certainly wouldn't do this, UNTIL AND UNLESS it was clear to me that my investment into the band will not be a waste of money, and will bring back substantial returns. It's highly unlikely that a $250,000 record label budget will be enough to take a band anywhere significant if that band is 'only' a good band with marketable songs. It's going to take a lot more than good talent and good marketable songs to get the type of serious commitment and investment from a label which is needed to advance your band's future over the long term. It takes a partnership (not merely a contract and a budget) to make this happen.

What about you?

Do you think you have what it takes to become a successful business partner of any company in the music industry? Take this 5 minute survey and find out.

Here are a few things you need to think about when approaching any company in the music industry:

Key mindsets you need to acquire:

  • Don't seek to be merely an employee of a company, instead, think in terms of a win/win partnership.

  • Do not feel like you are entitled to receive money or opportunities simply because you are talented. It is not the company's job to reward you for your music. It's their job to reward you for the value you bring to them (beyond the music).

  • You must become a partner in what they want to achieve. And you want them to be a partner in what you want to achieve. Note that I am not talking about selling out. Selling out would involve giving up your musical integrity for money (or other benefits). What I am describing is simply one of the most basic and universal practices of business. You must give the other side what they want in order to receive what you want from them. If you follow this principle, success in business (and life) becomes so much easier!

    Too often artists and companies are at odds with each other because each is out to reach its own objectives even if those objectives are in direct conflict with the other side's goals. When either side feels entitled to something without a win-win strategy, everything breaks down between them. And sooner or later both sides lose (and so do the fans!).

    Until you begin to think and work with the win-win partnership concept, the people and companies with the greatest power to help you will typically not be interested in you And the bad people (sharks) in the industry might seek to take advantage of you, if you are talented but ignorant to how the music business world works.

    Here is How These Mindsets Help You:

    The good music business people expect you to know how the music industry functions BEFORE they begin to work with you. They get tired of answering basic questions about how things work. While the companies could teach you these fundamentals, they would prefer for you to learn them yourself. The reason they want this is because it saves THEM time (and resources).

    Remember, when it comes to getting other people to associate with you, think in terms of what they stand to gain or lose by signing you to a record deal or putting your band on tour (or anything else).

    These music companies prefer not to waste their time teaching you about the music industry, general business, mental attitudes, image, stage presence, logistics, etc. At first glance, this may seem like an inconvenience for you, but it isn't. It is in YOUR interest to see these resources spent on promoting your career, helping you sell records, tour the world, attract more fans, make more money etc. If instead, a big chunk of money and time was spent on teaching you what you should already know, who do you think loses the most? YOU do! This is because the company's resources SHOULD be spent on helping you achieve what you could not do on your own (and learning the fundamentals of the business is not one of them).

    Also, remember that since music companies are directly investing money into your career, they will expect their investment back, with interest. Therefore, it is (again) to your advantage to minimize any waste in that investment. Here is an example.

    Let's say that your band was put on tour by a record company, but the management believes that your band does not know how to conduct yourselves on and off stage. They will require you to be coached in these areas (and believe me, they WILL). If rehearsals take an additional week (at the rate of thousands of dollars per day), then money will be spent on this new expense instead of being invested into other aspects of your tour, record and career. Remember, this extra money will need to be paid back to the company FIRST before your band sees any profits from the tour OR your record (yes your label will require to be recouped for all expenses).

    Many new bands feel a sense of 'entitlement' and think it is the tour manager's job to coach the band how to conduct themselves on and off stage. This, as already discussed, costs the band and the label a lot of money. However, when you see yourself in a win-win partnership with the label, then you know that it is in everyone's best interest to take the initiative to prepare yourself in all possible ways before money is spent. If you are not prepared beforehand, you are creating a higher investment risk for the company you work with!

    Here are the most important things to remember from this article:

    01. Find out as much as you can about the companies you want to work with before approaching them. This will help you in many ways. First, you will familiarize yourself with their goals, business desires and challenges. This will help you to anticipate and come up with win/win solutions to business negotiations. Also, the people in these organizations will be impressed that you took the time to learn about their needs before approaching them. They will remember you.

    02. Always try to see all business situations and proposals from the point of view of the other side. This will allow you to better anticipate their needs, challenges and possible objections toward working with you. Then you need to demonstrate this understanding in both words and actions.

    03. Think in terms of win/win partnerships. If you develop a reputation for coming up with business ideas that meet your needs as well as the needs of the other side, you will find many more attractive opportunities coming your way.

    04. Seek ways you can add value while reducing risk. In all of business, (music industry or otherwise), your success will be greatly affected by your ability to deliver high value with low risk. Before approaching any company with a business proposal, consider all of the ways you are planning to add value to the project. Can you expand this list? Do the same analysis of all of the potential risks of a particular business partnership (whether it comes from you or other people in the project). What can you do to minimize or eliminate these risks? If you do this, you will definitely have a great advantage over most musicians who are more concerned about how much their paycheck is going to be, rather than trying to enhance the value for all parties involved.

    05. After you have done all that you can to add value and reduce risk, you again need to demonstrate this in both words and actions. Think of how most bands try to get signed, they play local shows, try to increase their following, send their promo kits to labels, management, entertainment lawyers, etc. In this way, you compete with all the other unknown bands. Here is a huge tip, why not focus directly on showing and proving to these companies/people how your value is higher and your risk is lower than the thousands of other bands who are sending their press kits every year. Although there is much more to the story, this is the basis for how I landed my own first record deal . This approach helped to further separate myself from literally thousands of other excellent guitar players who pursued the same opportunities I received. And I've used this strategy to land several other fulfilling and lucrative music business related deals.

    06. Lose the feeling of entitlement. As I alluded to in the article, no music company in the world will want you, unless you have something to offer them which they find valuable. Nobody is entitled to a record deal or more money simply because they may be a great musician. Feeling this way is a mistake that a lot of musicians make and one that I hope you will avoid, now that you are aware of it after reading this article. What you need to do instead is prove to the other party how they would be passing up a great opportunity if they didn't work with you. When you can do this, you will find that the other things will fall into place much easier.

    You should think deeply about the issues that I brought up and consider the ways some or all of them can apply to your current (or future) music career. I have given you some good starting points to begin thinking and planning for success. Use them to take the actions you know you must take to reach your goals!

    If you missed the survey mentioned at the beginning of this article, I encourage you to test yourself here.

    About the author: Tom Hess is a professional touring guitarist and recording artist. He teaches, trains and mentors musicians from around the world. Visit tomhess.net to discover highly effective music learning resources, lessons and tools including free online assessments, surveys, mini courses and more.

    2008 Tom Hess Music Corporation All Rights Reserved. Used by Permission

  • 93 comments sorted by best / new / date

      Palpatine MD
      duexe wrote: Caveat Emptor Latin for "Let the buyer beware." The idea that buyers take responsibility for the condition of the items they purchase and should examine them before purchase.
      Haha yeah but most people in Europe were speaking Latin back when that was an accepted defense for a dodgy trader. Not saying that Tom Hess is a dodgy trader or anything. Just that he claims he can turn his students into amazing musicians, charges a fee for this service and that every one of his students sounds like a zombie that has become proficient on lead guitar. Oh wait...
      Squabblism
      Very good article!! I would suggest maybe giving some specific techniques ^. But other than that veryy well written. Thank you
      Submerged
      The music industry is one aspect of a much larger picture if you are a musical artist, and Hess isn't even covering any specific techiniques involved with achieving success from a business standpoint. He is simply stating it is a business and gives a description of a good mindset. Well guess what? A good mindset is STEP ONE!!!!! WHERE'S STEP TWO HESS!? YOU'VE BEEN WRITING THESE THINGS FOR AGES!!!!! I'm not sending you money you tease because it seems you're perpeptually stuck teaching retards step god damn obvious one. Look... if you want to learn maths you study it. You learn the concepts of different areas within mathematics and you practice within these areas. You don't need to read advice on how it's really about numbers and you should think in this way, etc. You're going to need to know the equations and rules coupled with practice. Hess certainly gives a summary of what maths is but never gets into how to do it. And it absolutely annoys the hell out of me. It comes across as targeting the naive and gives promises for more useful (ie, SPECIFIC) advice once money is in hand. Does anybody here want to invest in my company? I can certainly summise it so it sounds like you won't get screwed.
      Seizure
      corrda00 wrote: I as a 14 year old starting out musician find all this business stuff out of reach but i can see where your getting at and its all common sense. All i want to learn is how to get to be a well respected musician.
      Fuck the RIAA?
      corrda00
      I as a 14 year old starting out musician find all this business stuff out of reach but i can see where your getting at and its all common sense. All i want to learn is how to get to be a well respected musician.
      jimRH7
      I don't Know, maybe I'm reading "low risk" as implying "you have to be derivative and a copycat band to gaurantee sucess?" I think this Is probably why the record industry is ~alegedly~ in decline - they keep signing artists they know will be sucessful because the guys they're copying were/are sucessful. Instead They should be taking risks and signing people who sound/look different and original. For example, have any of you ever flicked through a issue of "metal Hammer"? If you went though a copy and scored out all the photos of bands in Kiss make up posing with fake blood there'd be no magazine left! I'm not critising the article - It's just stating the facts ie: you can probably get somewhere if you just copy sucessful bands. Personally, I think there's nothing wrong with having influences - Even strong influences or One major influence, but you can't be scared of doing something that's never been done before.
      classrocker
      umm its not very helpfull its not specific enough aobut what ur supposed to be giving the record companies in terms of value and "the whole package",
      duexe
      Caveat Emptor Latin for "Let the buyer beware." The idea that buyers take responsibility for the condition of the items they purchase and should examine them before purchase.
      bellerophon
      Can't believe I'm actually going to defend Tom Hess but... He's a musician (no idea how good, don't care) who makes (some of) his money teaching. He needs a constant influx of students to guarantee an income (and therefore can afford to eat). To get more students he needs to advertise. He advertises on UG. I don't like his adverts or 'guest columns'. I don't like his quasi-mystical rhetoric. I don't get anything from his articles. None of the above lead me to dislike the guy or want to prevent him from earning some cash teaching other people. If you don't like his 'product' don't buy it. Caveat Emptor!!!
      dragonofdis
      Badass coloum man! I learned a lot. Never thought about looking at my band as an investment for the label, now it seems lke a no brainer
      duexe
      j-e-f-f-e-r-s wrote: And I'm sure they're also all athletic blue eyed Aryians who look down on smoking, never touch alcohol and start every day with a rousing sing-song of the National Anthem. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
      Cumbaya in Am probably
      Acidshred
      Lol. this would make any music lawyer laugh out loud. He hasn't mentioned ANY bussiness aspects at all, besides an instrumental guitarist would be better going idependent or an artist owned talent focused one. (Steve Vai favored nations)
      j-e-f-f-e-r-s
      duexe wrote: Flamin' Mania wrote: UG needs to have ads, because unlike Mr Tom Hess, they don't make you pay to read article, lessons or of course, tabs. How much money did you pay to read this article? Hess didnt make any money for you to read it. The article, like the click ad, are one and the same. However, you get more from the article then the click ad because it is more relevant. I realize that there are many that dislike his ads. I target Fusion and others whom are FREQUENT and dedicated retardant flamers because they are being other peoples thought police. They have never invested a dime in the program themselves, they insult his students as mindless robots and accuse Hess for not providing fair value for what he is being paid. Not a single student has complained about his lessons, there are not any class action lawsuits or BBB queries on record, and many of his student laud Hess. Stangely enough, some of his student have contacted me requesting that I NOT defend Hess or counter point Fusion, Robam and Palpatine. For the record, the reason why I post is because the Hessters will not defend themselves in the same manner as their naysayers (as they are polite to the extrema and the childish crap being slung around is quite frankly below them).
      And I'm sure they're also all athletic blue eyed Aryians who look down on smoking, never touch alcohol and start every day with a rousing sing-song of the National Anthem. Sorry, couldn't help myself.
      robam
      Taken from above... edited for realism. Key mindsets you need to acquire before taking my lessons: # Dont seek to be merely a student of my holiness, instead, think in terms of a pay-me partnership. # Do not feel like you are entitled to pay money simply because you are not talented. It is not my job to reward you for your music. Its my job to reward you for the value you bring to me (besides the music). # You must become a partner in what I want you to achieve. And you wanted to be a partner in what you wanted to achieve! # Note that I am not talking about selling out. Selling out would involve giving up your musical dreams for lessons by me (with no benefits). What I am describing to you numbskull, is simply one of the most basic and universal practices of business DUH! You must give me what I want in order to not sell out. If you follow this principle, success in my business (and my life) becomes so much easier! Too often students and I are at odds with each other because some students are out to reach their own objectives even if those objectives are in direct conflict with my goals. If you feel entitled to something without a pay-me strategy, everything will break down between us. Until you begin to think and work with the pay-me partnership concept, I simply cannot be interested in you And the bad people (friends, jam mates) in the world might seek to take snap sense back into you. If you are talented but ignorant to how the music business world works... just send me your credit card number. Well I can think of one way for people to find out if they are ignorant to MUSIC which is what the MUSIC business is about. That would be to take anything this guy says with any merit. I would make a 5 minute survey to tell you how stupid half of you are, but thats giving this guy to much credit. At least he finally logged back onto his account, 4 days before this article was posted... this guy has a got an article on the front page every time. RIDICULOUS Don't believe in your musical dreams! Get money as fast as possible! If your company tells you to change do it! ANYTHING FOR MONEY
      duexe
      A lot of rhetoric going on here is VERY similar to the kind of reception Lars Ulrich (drummer of Metallica) had when he lobbied congress and essentially had Napster shut down. Every one HATED Lars because music should be free. How dare he make people PAY for his music. What was said then about Lars is what is now being said about Hess. Dont buy Metallica albums, they (Metallica) are a bunch of greedy corporate scammers, they have enough money, etc, etc. The same can be said for music instruction and articles. This is what all the flaming is about. I know without a doubt that Fusion and Palpatine mean well. After all the flames and the backtalk, we are all brothers here. Fusion is looking out for his fellow musician because his belief is that music instruction should be free. I do admire him for his conviction, but I strongly disagree with his belief. I just ask you too look at the person whom puts the time and effort into the articles. There are many contributers here. Some of the instructor/contributors no longer post material for what ever reason. For those contributors whom even have there own websites, they dont even have a paypal button for donations. This is a shame because I am willing to pay someone for their time and effort. I guess thats why I am so different. If you work hard, I feel you should be paid for it.
      duexe
      Flamin' Mania wrote: I find it funny that you brought up how much UG seems to be scamming us with their ads that support them, yet you still decide to post frequently on it. Tom Hess, if you're so talented and you've achieved so much and you're such a superstar who has profitted from your music, why do you need our money for what others are saying for free?
      I never said that the Ad's were a scam. I belong to the American Federation of Music Professionals. This organization has many high level professionals on their roster (www.afm.org). Part of their bylaws covers NOT working for free. Basically, if you put effort into it, you must get paid in some manner shape or form. Those whom post articles here without the mindset of furthering their musical careers are shooting themselves in the foot. All that time and effort put into an article to not get anything but a 'thanks for the free info' will not feed your family. The free lunch mentality is what is wrong with the music business. Back when everything was in vinyl, this wasnt a problem. However, the record companies has way too much control then (a whole 'nother topic).
      postmortem2006
      Extremely helpful, I know my fair share of msuic business but even i didn't knwo some of the stuff mentioend in here. Nice article, 10/10 haha
      Shadowsinbronze
      I love these Tom Hess articles just for the comments I personally don't find his articles helpful - they are both vague and trite. I think that constructive criticism of the article such as musciology's post right at the top about the "meat" of the article is both fair and helpful to Mr Hess as a writer. The pro-Hess camp seems a little defensive, and even I can spot a generic-sounding similarity to a lot of the pro-Hess comments. But then again, if Mr Hess is as successful as we are led to believe, why would he bother getting people to rage at doubters on online forums? I have to admit from the vagueness of these articles I do tend to view them as a big advert for his site, but in all honesty the real culprit here is probably just the defensiveness and volatility of posters on internet forums. Sorry if my post is a bit rambly by the way.
      duexe
      Flamin' Mania wrote: UG needs to have ads, because unlike Mr Tom Hess, they don't make you pay to read article, lessons or of course, tabs.
      How much money did you pay to read this article? Hess didnt make any money for you to read it. The article, like the click ad, are one and the same. However, you get more from the article then the click ad because it is more relevant. I realize that there are many that dislike his ads. I target Fusion and others whom are FREQUENT and dedicated retardant flamers because they are being other peoples thought police. They have never invested a dime in the program themselves, they insult his students as mindless robots and accuse Hess for not providing fair value for what he is being paid. Not a single student has complained about his lessons, there are not any class action lawsuits or BBB queries on record, and many of his student laud Hess. Stangely enough, some of his student have contacted me requesting that I NOT defend Hess or counter point Fusion, Robam and Palpatine. For the record, the reason why I post is because the Hessters will not defend themselves in the same manner as their naysayers (as they are polite to the extrema and the childish crap being slung around is quite frankly below them).
      Lemoninfluence
      SmashThings wrote: Hey Mr. Hess... maybe it's occured to you that some of us don't want a record deal? Maybe it's occured to you that some of us are actually in this for the MUSIC. Live to play live, not to sell your songs to some shitty record company.
      well then why are you reading an article about pursuing a record deal?
      flightless bird
      This is crap. I've been in a few bands, and toured with a small group of musicians. I can give you a list a mile long of promoters and other "music people", and I can also tell you that "having a win-win mindset will NOT get you a record deal. Hard work,perseverance,talent and artistic vision might...if not screw it and go indie.
      lestat1836
      djjiles wrote: Musical Integrity is my number one priority, even if i never get a record deal . I just love to play!
      Why do you think the article is not about musical integrity? He has said nothing of the kind.
      djjiles
      cmon UG, this is nothing but an advertisement for Tom Hess.... I for one don't want to be part of the next Nickelback. Musical Integrity is my number one priority, even if i never get a record deal . I just love to play!
      Michael McGee
      Most of the folks posting hate comments or bashing obviously have no clue as to how massive the amount of knowledge and information is that you will need to posses to be successful in the music industry. If any of you here have some solid proof that you have attained some level of success in the music industry, prove it! Tom Hess has proven much and only wants to help anyone serious about making music their life and not their "dream". Thank you Tom Hess for your excellent article and and above all else for being the success that you are! HolyHell Rocks!
      Chris Martins
      Good article. For all who bash Tom Hess, remember he's been there and done that. Have you ? Music is art. We all agree on that. And like it or not every art has a monetary value. That is why there's a music business. I'm not even talking about labels or anything. I'm saying that no band in their right mind will spend countless hours working on a demo, recording it, designing a packaging will give give it for free just like that. Why should instruction be any different ? I teach guitar. I expect to get paid for that service. I play on a record and artists will make money off that record : I should get paid for that session. I write a book or manual or make a DVD, should I just give it away ? Not happening. I worked hard, I did pay other people to learn to play my instrument. I still pay people to teach me and mentor me on a daily basis because my goals deserve that. guess what ? I believe that if people will bash an article with good info, then their real goals are not as important as they make believe. It's sad that in this day and age accessibility has made everything basically worthless, at least in the minds of the upcoming generation. But believe me, for the good stuff, you still have to pay... It's like free website hosting : it's convenient, but it's nowhere near as good as paid hosting... Even though this article is a "doorway" to a paying service, it's still your choice to pay or not to pay for that service in the end, but the original info is still free to get. And there is information in this article that's well worth a few minutes of your time. You should enjoy that people like Tom choose this way to share part of their wisdom, even if they wisely select what to give away, and keep the advanced and personalized stuff for really motivated and teachable people.
      lestat1836
      It's strange that those who have bad stuff to say here against the article or HESS himself have not shown that they have any idea what they are talking about. Where are YOUR credentials? Oh, yeah, I forgot, you don't have ANY!
      MrReMo
      Lemoninfluence wrote: well then why are you reading an article about pursuing a record deal?
      Because, I think, information is the key. Like drugs, like everything. The minute you do something blind, the next step will be so hard that you'll end on the floor or falling down a cliff into death. If you say yes/no to something is because you KNOW about that, if not, it's just empty statement with no apparently source to rely on. I can hardly comment about Einstein theory E=mc2, i can't even say what I think about it because i do not anything know it. You can't say peanut-butter is tasty if you didn't even taste it! Nobody can hardly comment about music bussiness if he/she does not get involved, read, taste or see it.
      SmashThings
      Hey Mr. Hess... maybe it's occured to you that some of us don't want a record deal? Maybe it's occured to you that some of us are actually in this for the MUSIC. Live to play live, not to sell your songs to some shitty record company.
      Nightfyre
      Too vague. This is exactly why I avoid your articles; you reel us in, but never actually tell us "what" or "why". No way I'm paying you unless you demonstrate that you have GENUINELY USEFUL knowledge first. Vague generalizations don't demonstrate knowledge, just that basic abilities of any salesman. You lack the depth to reel me in though. Give me concrete information and I might be interested...
      Nightfyre
      Dimebag Dave wrote: No more Tom Hess. Please?
      +1 Admittedly, he is in a touring band, and claims to have toured with some impressive names, but "successful" is an adjective I wouldn't apply just yet. Nor do his degrees give him much credence on these topics, and certainly not on the borderline New-Age material he presents most of the time. I don't know of any students of his that are remotely big. His credentials are questionable, his material is vague, and he wants your money. Get him out of here. That said, there are a few bits here that some might not think about, and thus I find this worth the read, unlike most of his material.
      rich420
      broken fusion! wrote: man, he won't give you more meat unless you give him your credit card, seriously. These articles are just to reel in people lacking the self confidence to do anything themselves so he can buy his weather changing machine to rule the world
      Lmao. Only reason I opened this article was to see people bashing The Hess, you did not disappoint.
      ghandioncesaid
      Record labels are becoming more and more irrelevant each day. Record sales are down and declining and as promoters and venues become more rounded younger and younger kids are able to attend concerts and ticket sales are soaring. If you want to make money tour. Make good music, promote it on social netowrking like myspace, sell your record on smartpunk, and tour. If you're good and work hard and believe in yourselves and promote yourself you'll make far more money than by getting like 2 cents every record you would have sold anyway just because you have a Capitol logo and you're sitting on a shelf in Best Buy. It seems pointless to me just sell your CD yourself, promote yourself, a good street team and fan base helps, and once there is enough demand for your music seek out distribution to make your album more readily available. But I am a strong believe that the last thing any rising musician needs to do is think about signing their music away. Keep it real.
      HavokStrife
      Man, every time this dude posts something, it ends up going comment-crazy. And here I am on the fence again. Cuz I mean, honestly, it's true. You can't just go up to a label, and be like, "look, we're awesome, sign us." It just doesn't work that way. And, looking at getting a record label, like looking at getting a relationship (i.e. show her you're interested in more than just sex.), is a pretty good way of going about things. However, a ridiculously long, and even somewhat repetitive post about it, is pretty useless. It's about as correct as it is obvious. And if you're gunna post a lot of stuff I already figured out in almost six years of guitar playing every time you contribute something to UG, I'm not buying anything or taking any survey where I gotta give you some piece of personal information. This might be a great way to rope in some noobs, but players that have been around the block, been in bands, recorded, played huge shows, only to end up with less money and less ideas of how to take their music anywhere and transfer them into any sort of success, are just gunna laugh at you. I'll just be the nice guy and say "no thanks."
      Quinj
      oh, and id much rather take "lessons" from people who have a reputation in the music industry and are relatively big names. (Mike Portnoy, Steve Harris, Bruce Dickinson) would they say you need to keep the record label happy? no, i think not, they have always done what THEY wanted, not what the company wanted, and look at them now. Another good example, Lamb Of God, did their label even remotely help them with Ashes Of The Wake or any of their previous efforts? NO. they got where they are from hard work, dedication and integrity. They also didnt need Tom Hess... ;P
      Quinj
      These articles never interest me, always way too vague. I do like the whole "take this quiz to see how stupid you are" every paragraph or so. Also, loving the flaming comments as usual, and tbh, i totally agree with them all. All i hear is "jibba jabba give me your credit card number NOW! DO IT! DO IT NOW!! OR ELSE YOU -WILL- FAIL AS A MUSICIAN!" Im pretty sure Iron Maiden, Dream Theater, Hammerfall and Blind Guardian were successful in the music business without Tom Hess's help
      duexe
      broken fusion! wrote: I explained this to you already: what I play isn't the problem here. Those of us with integrity will go about it our own way, thanks.
      You are entirely correct, what you play is not the issue. Integrity is. You AGREED to post something and then backed out. Its not what you say, but what you do that counts.
      Dan Weiler
      Like most things in life, there is more than just one way to get something you want. This is the way that Tom knows that works. If you don't like it just find another way and if this isn't one your goals then don't read what he has to say.
      5150)Ed(5150
      It was a pretty good article, but what are the "values" and the "risks", specifically?
      Dan Weiler
      I like the "key Mindsets" section the best in this article. Thinking win/win will always be the best for any type of business deal weather it be getting a record deal or buying a house.