#1
What are the advantages of signing with a major label besides getting a loan to record it in the studio? Do I hit all these people with greatness on my own or do I let the majors come to me for a contract? Which is better and why?
#3
Record labels have better cocaine and hookers than you do.

There's nothing else important.
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#5
Up to TS whether that's a point in favour, though.
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#6
Let's look at what a major label offers. (I'll use the US as an example)

A label can offer:
1. Upfront advance money for studio time and to pay a real producer with a track record.

2. Marketing/distribution. Getting it into stores, keeping track of sales, paying any taxes or fees, linking distribution with foreign labels.

3. Securing proper copywrites on original songs and helping secure any publishing deal.

4. Collecting mechanical fees and other fees from performance rights organizations like BMI, ASCAP, SESAC, Harry Fox Agency (mechanical rights).

5. Tour support in the form of money and advertising.

6. Getting your band an opening spot on another more popular acts tour, usually a band on the same label.

7. Getting your songs airplay on major radio stations, MTV, VH1 etc..

That's just a few things an established label can offer. If you have the knowledge and energy to do these things yourself and still have time to create music, you don't need a label. One last thought: the labels won't come to you, you will need to have product, a sizeable established audience and beg them to even talk to you. That's just reality.
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Last edited by Rickholly74 at May 9, 2016,
#7
The only thing missing from the above post is that the record labels/producers/pr guys simply have access contacts that you just won't. My band is fairly sizable and we have a strong local reputation but the major venues in the city wouldn't even return our calls or emails, and we went in person they just said 'we might have something a few months from now...' which was pretty much a low key way of telling us to leave.

A month later we'd searched out a bunch of local promoters and got into talking with them and what do you know, suddenly the venue was really interested in having us. Sometimes you can have the following, the music, and a professional front, and it'll still get you nowhere - sometimes the game is all about who you know. And the labels know everybody because they control the market.

My main point is there's no such thing these days as 'contacting the label' or anything like that, they either approach you or they send out their freelance talent scouts, often who are people that have set up their own local PR company in their spare time. Heck, they even have producers as talent scouts these days. All of these people are seeking to profit from you as well, I would imagine they're either working on commission or are working to be taken onto a more permanent position/higher rank.

For example take Rob Chapman and his band. Rob has over 400,000 subscribers on YouTube and has an endless amount of sponsorship deals with all the big music manufacturing companies (Orange, Shure, d'Addario, Ibanez and so on). When he was trying to book a tour venues wouldn't even take the band on because 'they didn't know who he was'. Long story short they just rented the venues out for that night and sold tickets online, it was only after the show was packed and all the tickets were sold (and more) that venues really started to sit up and go 'who the fuck is this guy?'. It was only after his band hit a high iTunes ranking spot that companies/labels/venues were absolutely frothing to get the band.

Also, a label - whilst they can be demanding - can really take the hassle out of everything. Suddenly you're not chasing shows, you're not pushing tickets, you're not paying for merch, and most importantly, you're not booking tours (which is a nightmare). You're just free to be in the band, with the only caveat being don't be shit, don't be a wanker to interview, and make money for the label. Simple, no?
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#9
Quote by tateandlyle
better to be broke on independent than broke on a label innir


Better not to be broke at all
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#10
the days of being "discovered" playing in some bar by a big label are long gone. at this point you pretty much have to start with the DIY thing and hope that you have some success. if you do have some success then maybe if you are really lucky an actual label will take notice and sign you.

steve vai went this route and did very well for himself. his 1st album was self produced and he made the money from it. when he got bigger and that album was released by a real label he still retained all the rights and made even more money. not that this happens all that much these days.

if you are thinking of just sending in a tape to a big label and figure someone will actually listen then you are just kidding yourself.
#11
For touring it's probably useful, as for pr I just shove my music towards people who are popular/create popular content so much someone eventually uses it and gets it out to like a million people. I'm fine at marketing myself, I know where to get proper copyright and how much it'd cost, I'm alright on the legal end too.

For tour planning for a band? I'd be absolutely clueless, I wouldn't know where to start.
#12
Quote by stratkat
For touring it's probably useful, as for pr I just shove my music towards people who are popular/create popular content so much someone eventually uses it and gets it out to like a million people. I'm fine at marketing myself, I know where to get proper copyright and how much it'd cost, I'm alright on the legal end too.

For tour planning for a band? I'd be absolutely clueless, I wouldn't know where to start.

That's kind of the thing. A label can get you a tour manager to sort that shit out/get you on a bigger band's tour.
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#13
Quote by fte85
What are the advantages of signing with a major label besides getting a loan to record it in the studio? Do I hit all these people with greatness on my own or do I let the majors come to me for a contract? Which is better and why?


Just to let you know, it's not a loan. It's an advance. It's essentially a bet made by the record label that X band will succeed. Sometimes it comes in, sometimes it doesn't.
#14
Quote by slapsymcdougal
That's kind of the thing. A label can get you a tour manager to sort that shit out/get you on a bigger band's tour.

I figure, that's where a lot of band's income comes from. I'm a composer however, I can't play live, so I don't worry about touring, ever. A label would benefit me nil.
Some claim I'd make more, but no one's made me an offer I liked, and I haven't heard of anyone who went from releasing 12 independant albums, then making more off a label from solo composing work.

I would work with labels on singles and guest on albums, but one off contracts, if I wanted to work with them again there'd be another contract. New horizon records has sent me like 10 bucks for a 20 person or so compilation album I didn't think would sell at all. But I guess it did enough to pay everyone involved 10 bucks.
Last edited by stratkat at May 9, 2016,
#16
Quote by stratkat
I figure, that's where a lot of band's income comes from. I'm a composer however, I can't play live, so I don't worry about touring, ever. A label would benefit me nil.
Some claim I'd make more, but no one's made me an offer I liked, and I haven't heard of anyone who went from releasing 12 independant albums, then making more off a label from solo composing work.

I would work with labels on singles and guest on albums, but one off contracts, if I wanted to work with them again there'd be another contract. New horizon records has sent me like 10 bucks for a 20 person or so compilation album I didn't think would sell at all. But I guess it did enough to pay everyone involved 10 bucks.


you're totally wrong on this. a label can help you in ways that you can't do yourself. as a song writer you want people to perform your songs right? labels can present your tunes to established artists for consideration. they can also get them placed on movie and tv soundtracks. publishing can be huge money for a hit song even today.
#17
Quote by tateandlyle
don't go on a label then innir


A label won't bankrupt you, that's the last thing they desire. They want you to continually pull in money and grow in popularity and they'll keep paying to do just that. They want return on their investment, if you fuck it up or don't do well, well then that's your problem. The label has likely done everything it can short of writing the songs for you (some labels do this).

Sure some labels have had times where they've been outright dicks but on the whole, just like any business investment, they just want that money back plus profit. It's just economics. It's why they make Katy Perry's and Beyonces, they've spent trillions distilling the ideal personality and ideal music for the masses whilst fine tuning how to push it to the mass market (i.e by controlling pretty much everything they hear in the traditional channels).

If you want my personal approach:

Make and release endless singles. Don't even bother making an album or an EP unless you've released enough singles to turn them into an EP you can sell at shows. Labels want the complete package as this reduces the amount of money they have to devote to you. This means if you pay for professional photography, professional videography, professional recordings (+$1500), professional designs, professional merchandise, a road map, a professional facebook/social media presence, your likelihood of being signed is like x1000.
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#19
Quote by monwobobbo
you're totally wrong on this. a label can help you in ways that you can't do yourself. as a song writer you want people to perform your songs right? labels can present your tunes to established artists for consideration. they can also get them placed on movie and tv soundtracks. publishing can be huge money for a hit song even today.

I've gotten my music in indie videogames and amateur animations. I don't like movies or tv, or know what that would even do for me, I don't see what I write being used for any hit show, or anything that would do more than just look good on a resume. I just make instrumentals.

That said I haven't explored my target audience much outside of what I'm interested in, which is what my target audience would be into. I mean look at my album covers, my project name, if I were targeting mainstream I'd have generic patterns on my covers with a name like Stratter.
Hell I just use youtube for news, videogames, animation, music, and sometimes comedy, outside that I don't know who's popular.
So getting it to a new audience I'd never find on my own is entirely likely/possible.

I've had it used by people with 2 mil+ subs, cry/cryaoticmonki is the most famous person to use/associate with my music, used it 3 times.

I have 2 albums that are nothing but other people's covers and remixes of songs I wrote. A label would open up more session artists, and more powerful/professionial software, but I'm building towards that. I'm maxed out on paid projects, but I can get them done, most 50 usd per track, one 12 per track for 10 tracks upfront. I know big music videogames will pay 1500+ for a license, 2000+ for ownership of a song. Because I've chatted up artists who do it for a living, and are top tier in freelance work in my genre/area of interest. Four of my albums are royalty free/public domain (got paid to put them there,) I still sell them as pay what you want online, but they're free anywhere, and they've spread far and wide this way, mostly to shitty mobile games.

I did all that, and I've signed maybe 4-6 non-exclusive contracts, mostly just licensing out to people for use. All from an internet connection.

I can see how a label would help me, but I don't find it worth limiting my options on licensing it only to things I find cool, and cutting them in on a percentage.

Now if they promised as many pharmasutical amphetamines as I could handle to increase productivity, and my own studio to live in, then you bet I'll sign nearly anything within reason.
Last edited by stratkat at May 9, 2016,
#20
Quote by Anthony1991
stuff

it's not 1991 any more

Labels are bad. Go DIY.
this guy wrote way less and got more right
#21
Quote by tateandlyle
it's not 1991 any more

this guy wrote way less and got more right


And what the fuck do you know? Your argument is not convincing with two lines of text.

If you're doing game/independent composition music as the person above, then absolutely stay DIY - it's a thriving market that is only going to keep growing. Labels in this case - or 'labels' - will absolutely try and take you for a ride. Similar to the youtube community, being a composer/song writer for music/indie films etc is far better doing it yourself and building a network of like minded people and collaborating from time to time. If an indie game or movie really takes off, you could be made.

But if you're a real band? The only way to DIY is to either make a huge single or to slowly build up an audience over time, or even possibly get noticed by people within your genre that are bigger than you. Doing music full time in a do it yourself setting is very, very difficult. You need a very wide skill set and have a good competency in all of those skills, on top of that you're probably working a normal job too. Where do you find the time to just enjoy music, or find time to write songs without the pressure of 'I gotta get this done now because i have to email 50 people about shows that probably won't reply'?

Also, doing things DIY in the music industry, and making it to a decent size, comes at significant cost if you're starting from the ground up. I don't think you fully comprehend what actually goes into making a package that people take seriously let alone getting a labels attention.

Go look up the average amount a small label spends on a bands first professional album then tell if you can afford that. Don't forget, these small labels want to sell it on to a bigger label, or be bought by the bigger label itself, so they're prepared to dump that money into it.
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#22
must actually be so much pain to still be lugging bits of wood in 2016 makes everything harder.

diy as dance producer in the uk:

>make tunes for free on your laptop
>dm tunes to whoever plays your stuff on rinse
>add label execs on facebook and send them a couple tunes once a month
>book a coach and remember your memory stick = a tour
>nobody does albums so repeat all these steps over and over
#23
Quote by tateandlyle
must actually be so much pain to still be lugging bits of wood in 2016 makes everything harder.

diy as dance producer in the uk:

>make tunes for free on your laptop
>dm tunes to whoever plays your stuff on rinse
>add label execs on facebook and send them a couple tunes once a month
>book a coach and remember your memory stick = a tour
>nobody does albums so repeat all these steps over and over


Well at least you proved my point, gg
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#24
Quote by Anthony1991
And what the fuck do you know?


What the fuck do you know? Who are you? I bet you must know all about the music industry. Go on, Mr Expert. Tell us about everything you have done and why we should trust your expert knowledge.
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#26
Quote by tateandlyle
must actually be so much pain to still be lugging bits of wood in 2016 makes everything harder.

diy as dance producer in the uk:

>make tunes for free on your laptop
>dm tunes to whoever plays your stuff on rinse
>add label execs on facebook and send them a couple tunes once a month
>book a coach and remember your memory stick = a tour
>nobody does albums so repeat all these steps over and over



if you're in a diy/hardcore variant band:

- write some music with band
- book a quick nasty studio session to record a short demo in one take, pay for it with savings from day job
- no need to master demo afterwards, just dump it straight on bandcamp for free
- make friends on facebook with random promoters, play some shows, sell your crappy tapes there
- get some recognition, put out an ep, no more than 30 mins long. actually pay someone to do an okay production/master this time (can't sound too professional though or you loose cred)
- put ep on bandcamp for free and limited edition crazy patterned vinyl (send files to vinyl pressing company).
- rinse and repeat last two points until you get fed up making a loss and split up or become a big enough deal to get signed at deathwish or something.
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#27
Quote by theogonia777
What the fuck do you know? Who are you? I bet you must know all about the music industry. Go on, Mr Expert. Tell us about everything you have done and why we should trust your expert knowledge.


So you start on me when I've given nothing but detailed experience-based posts, and are giving the guy who has done nothing to contribute other than make snarky comments based on anecdotal evidence?

I've organized tours, been on tour, talked with labels, talked and worked with producers, and I've been on a PR managers books. I've also sourced merchandise, cut EPs, and all that other stuff. I also have made friends with people who have been signed to labels and talked at length with them about their experiences (when you're on a PR management list all of the above is much, much easier). My band has also headlined small to medium festivals and several well known venues around the country.

I've even worked with that typical dick head producer who is nothing but super angry all the time at everything and smashes anything in close vicinity when he's not happy. Those guys tend to be the ones that are contracted to labels and are desperate to be taken on fully, but more often than not the label is just stringing them a long until they get tired of them.

I'm not claiming to be an expert, if I was, would I be fucking posting on here? I think not. I'm here to share the experience I've gained so far, knowledge that would have saved me time and money in the past. If you want it, i've put it down for you. If you don't that's your choice.

The main point is if you're gonna try and do it yourself and try to become big, prepare to spend all of your money and expect to not make it back. Again, it's economies of scale. A label isn't about the music, it's about the business. They can promote, market, record, manufacture, sell, and anything else you can imagine, a lot cheaper than you ever could. More often than not signing to a label involves an agreement that you use only their manufacturer for merchandise... that's because they more often than not own the factory and can make things at cost to effectively sell to themselves for nothing; this makes their cut larger when everything tallies up.
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#28
Quote by Anthony1991
But if you're a real band?


"real bands" aren't automatically the bands who want to make it big. Plenty of serious bands stay underground and stay DIY and that's perfectly acceptable.

Where do you find the time to just enjoy music, or find time to write songs without the pressure of 'I gotta get this done now because i have to email 50 people about shows that probably won't reply'?


lol this is not actually an issue for me and probably never will be.

I don't think you fully comprehend what actually goes into making a package that people take seriously let alone getting a labels attention.


I'm not saying that my band's album is "good" because that's subjective, but listen to a clip of it if you want. We did that DIY for pretty cheap, with absolutely no outside help. No engineers or producers involved, just me and my band (mostly my drummer who is a wiz with production). Also, getting a label's attention defeats the entire idea behind DIY lol.

Also fuck labels.
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#29
Quote by tateandlyle
must actually be so much pain to still be lugging bits of wood in 2016 makes everything harder.

diy as dance producer in the uk:

>make tunes for free on your laptop
>dm tunes to whoever plays your stuff on rinse
>add label execs on facebook and send them a couple tunes once a month
>book a coach and remember your memory stick = a tour
>nobody does albums so repeat all these steps over and over


Lol no offense man im glad you make ends meet being a dance producer. But thats what a pussy does. You wanna know my list? I will give it to you.

-buy a drum set
-buy a guitar
-buy a bass
-buy some mics
-buy a mixer
-record for free with your laptop

I guess im on the right track because I nailed one of Anthony's steps. Spend all the money you have towards making music. Im broke. Unfortunately I don't have time to work on anything outside of music. Im too busy being creative. I probably should set the bar a little bit low just to at least make something off of my art. Since I did sacrifice 18 years of my life towards this. The album really means more to me than trying to blend in with a edm producer who makes money through licensing deals. Maybe in a digital age it's just about giving people something they would feel is worth paying for. I think im good enough that I have a fair shot once I release the material.
#30
Quote by fte85
Lol no offense man im glad you make ends meet being a dance producer. But thats what a pussy does.


-buy a drum set
-buy a guitar
-buy a bass
-buy some mics
-buy a mixer
poor sod

Unfortunately I don't have time to work on anything outside of music. Im too busy being creative. I probably should set the bar a little bit low just to at least make something off of my art.
barf
Maybe in a digital age it's just about giving people something they would feel is worth paying for.
I don't think you've put any real thought into what being in a digital age means. Not having done that is what makes people still talk about labels and begging for exposure off people one rung up the ladder from them and "you've gotta look professional to be treated as a professional" etc etc
I think im good enough that I have a fair shot once I release the material.
I hope so
#31
Quote by fte85
thats what a pussy does.


Can't believe people still genuinely use this insult. It feels like looking back into the stone age!
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#32
Quote by fte85
I guess im on the right track because I nailed one of Anthony's steps.


And where is Anthony? Doing nothing significant. Just another guy in another local band that records EPs with a "real" producer and goes on a "tour" (ie books shows at different places).
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