#1
right, these questions are really amatuer and maybe that means we are not ready but id like your guys help
right lets say "x records" a new recording company is interested in 'signing' our band, because they think we are good.
please tell me what this does for the band, and how the band and the record company work together?

for example as a band we want : write original songs, tour and play those original songs, have people by a cd with those songs on them, getting us more supposrt and money.

how does the record label help us atain these goals, if at all? and what does the record label get out of 'signing' our band.

sorry if this is vague
#2
well teh record lable basically works as your consiurge and advertiser. They get a chunk of your profits. But they will porduce the cd's set -up the tours clotehs merchandise./ etc.
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#3
well, the music business is all ****ed right now, so it's hard to give an accurate answer.

traditionally, the record label would sign you guys to a contract that allows them to take profit from your CD sales and radio royalties. The label will usually finance the recording, production, marketing and merchandising of your album too. sometimes they sponsor your tour, and they get a cut of that money too, but many bands tour independently.

most successful bands make all their money from touring and barely any from record labels, unless they are selling millions upon millions of albums.

so what it boils down to is that the label will try and negotiate with you to obtain the highest percentage of ownership of whatever they help you out with. business is business, and they want to make some bucks. the band's duty is to find the balance between allowing the label to take a cut, but still retaining enough ownership and artistic control that they can act as their own entity, not as a pawn of the label.
#4
Quote by frigginjerk
well, the music business is all ****ed right now, so it's hard to give an accurate answer.

traditionally, the record label would sign you guys to a contract that allows them to take profit from your CD sales and radio royalties. The label will usually finance the recording, production, marketing and merchandising of your album too. sometimes they sponsor your tour, and they get a cut of that money too, but many bands tour independently.

most successful bands make all their money from touring and barely any from record labels, unless they are selling millions upon millions of albums.

so what it boils down to is that the label will try and negotiate with you to obtain the highest percentage of ownership of whatever they help you out with. business is business, and they want to make some bucks. the band's duty is to find the balance between allowing the label to take a cut, but still retaining enough ownership and artistic control that they can act as their own entity, not as a pawn of the label.



TS, you aren't gonna find better advice than this. Spot on.
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#6
Quote by frigginjerk
well, the music business is all ****ed right now, so it's hard to give an accurate answer.

traditionally, the record label would sign you guys to a contract that allows them to take profit from your CD sales and radio royalties. The label will usually finance the recording, production, marketing and merchandising of your album too. sometimes they sponsor your tour, and they get a cut of that money too, but many bands tour independently.

most successful bands make all their money from touring and barely any from record labels, unless they are selling millions upon millions of albums.

so what it boils down to is that the label will try and negotiate with you to obtain the highest percentage of ownership of whatever they help you out with. business is business, and they want to make some bucks. the band's duty is to find the balance between allowing the label to take a cut, but still retaining enough ownership and artistic control that they can act as their own entity, not as a pawn of the label.


This is well put. These days it's essential not to give away too much artistic control.

Most major recording contracts will take full control of everything from artistic direction (cover art etc) to the lyrics and music itself. For example, if the label doesn't like the album you record, they can refuse to release it...but still retain the copyright of all the material on it sov you can't use these songs again.
Even if they choose to 'shelve' the album in this way, you'll probably still be expected to pay back the advance fee out of your own pockets...


Further reading:
Wikipedia
"How Recording Contracts Work"
#7
I worked for an independant record label (www.anticulture.co.uk) for a few months, so I think I can clarifiry some of the rumours of the industry.

The difference between the independents and the majors are huge, and completely different arrangements occur.

Sometimes a band will only be signed to a liscencing deal, what this means is the band will pay for most of their own stuff (the recording itself, merch, etc.) the label will then produce, advertise (see all those ads in the music magazines? most of them are done by labels) and distribute your music. it's then up to you to tour and sell as much stuff as you can. If all goes well, everyone makes money. The label will take profit on pretty much anything they themselves are involved with.

A full blown recording deal is slightly different, usually a band is given an advance (i.e. a loan of cash) to spend on recording the album and all other costs, the label will then usually do the same advertising/promotion and sometimes helped to book a tour. The band will then do the same thing, tour and sell as much as possible to try and make money for everyone.

Usually the first album makes no money whatsoever, it's all spent on promoting the band and getting the name out there. The second album, now the band are established, will usually draw in the cash. This is why no-one get's signed to a one-album deal unless they're already hugely successful.

The main difference between the independents and majors is down to money, a major will be able to offer a bigger advance (but remember this is a loan anyway), better promotion and better tours (if you want to support a large touring band, prepeare to reach for your wallet, this is known as a 'buy-on') but the downside is they'll offer you less of the profits.

An indepenent will offer between 20-50% of the profits, a major? 5-10% if you're lucky.
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#8
A lot of this is generally correct, but a few corrections need to be made.

Quote by frigginjerk

traditionally, the record label would sign you guys to a contract that allows them to take profit from your CD sales and radio royalties.


Wait a sec... depends on what you have signed over. Typically, you sign over 50% of your publishing to the record company, which means that the label has half of the creative control over your material, and collects half of all publishing income. Publishing is roughly defined as 'the placement of your material into any fixed media' such as print/paper materials, or CD recordings. This is extended to digital downloads as well.

Radio (called performance royalties) royalties go to the writer, and this part is not usually assigned to or shared with the record company. That would be yours.

Quote by frigginjerk

The label will usually finance the recording, production, marketing and merchandising of your album too. sometimes they sponsor your tour, and they get a cut of that money too, but many bands tour independently.


To say they finance your recording, production, marketing and merchandising of your album is a bit misleading. The recording costs usually have a fancy word - "recoupable" - attached to them, which means that they are fronting you the money for it, but the costs will be reclaimed by the record company from profits from sales. They will pay for the marketing of your album, though. Tour support is rare, and if you get it, you can pretty much bet that it will be recoupable against your tour income. Generally, otherwise, the money you make touring is yours.

Quote by frigginjerk

most successful bands make all their money from touring and barely any from record labels, unless they are selling millions upon millions of albums.


The going rate at the end of it all is that the artist gets about $1 per album sold. Even if you 'only' sell 50 000 copies... that's still $50 000. It might not be a ton of album sales, but it is surely significant.

Quote by frigginjerk

so what it boils down to is that the label will try and negotiate with you to obtain the highest percentage of ownership of whatever they help you out with. business is business, and they want to make some bucks. the band's duty is to find the balance between allowing the label to take a cut, but still retaining enough ownership and artistic control that they can act as their own entity, not as a pawn of the label.


Well put.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#9
Most of this is good. I have a couple of problems/questions, though....

Quote by Forcemaster

Sometimes a band will only be signed to a liscencing deal, what this means is the band will pay for most of their own stuff (the recording itself, merch, etc.) the label will then produce, advertise (see all those ads in the music magazines? most of them are done by labels) and distribute your music. it's then up to you to tour and sell as much stuff as you can. If all goes well, everyone makes money. The label will take profit on pretty much anything they themselves are involved with.


I think you branched off into two different planes of thought here. A traditional licencing deal says that the record company (or whoever else wants to licence your material) will pay you a set fee for the right to reproduce your work as they see fit. That set fee may be a lump sum, (ex. $10 000) or may be a percentage of what they are able to sell (say 10%), or a fee based on a per-unit basis. (ex. $1.00 per CD sold). The licensor (in this case, the label) has no ownership of the publishing or anything... they just have the right to duplicate and re-sell as they see fit, subject to the agreed upon terms.

Quote by Forcemaster

Usually the first album makes no money whatsoever, it's all spent on promoting the band and getting the name out there. The second album, now the band are established, will usually draw in the cash. This is why no-one get's signed to a one-album deal unless they're already hugely successful.


My information says that pretty much the opposite is true. If you get signed, you have one shot to go big or go home. If you don't come up with a full house, or at least a three of a kind on your first album.... they ain't gonna give you a nickel more to try again. You're dropped. These things used to be called 'development deals' where a label would let a band go out, put out a first album to get some experience under their belt and to get the name out there, but development deals disappeared ages ago. Now, if you are hugely successful... THEN you have some leverage for negotiating multi-album deals.

Quote by Forcemaster

An indepenent will offer between 20-50% of the profits, a major? 5-10% if you're lucky.


What profits, and as defined as how?

If you look at a CD costing $20 and the artist in the end getting $1.00, then yes, there is your 5%, but that is really misleading. It suggests that the label gets the other 95%, which is entirely untrue. The retail store bought that CD for $10 and marked it up 100%. So, the store gets half of that $20. Of the remaining $10, the label will see maybe $4. Of that, $1.00 will be the publishing royalties. You will also get $1.00 worth of publishing royalties. The rest of the money is partly distribution costs, packaging costs, marketing costs, etc.

You can't tell me that you, as an indie label, will have a CD sell in a store for $20, and have the artist get even close to $10. When you say between 20%-50%... your 50% sounds really far-fetched for the more traditional sales routes. I'd put a retail sale in the neighbourhood of 20%.

I would suggest that the artist probably gets closer to 50% if your label sells a CD from their own website where there is no other parties involved to want a cut or to mark it up further for their own purposes.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#10
Quote by axemanchris

The going rate at the end of it all is that the artist gets about $1 per album sold. Even if you 'only' sell 50 000 copies... that's still $50 000. It might not be a ton of album sales, but it is surely significant.CT


While I have to say this is maybe the most informative, intelligent thread I've ever seen on this forum, pound for pound, I have to disagree slightly with this statement.

Even if a band does make $50,000 off their record, that's not significant, because divided four ways it comes out to $12,500--if we say it's a four person band. That is a pathetic amount of income, even if you get really lucky somehow and all your other fees for production/release/touring are paid for separately by tickets, promoters, or whatever. However, hotel managers, gas stations, roadies, drivers, tour managers, wardrobe, hospitality workers and stagehands do not wait for your record to become a hit to get paid. (You do not need all these people on a tour, but any pro tour will accumulate these people very quickly.)

No one could live on $12,500 a year on their own, much less support a family down the road on it, much less cover all these tour costs. There's an article by Steve Albini somewhere on the net that breaks down how a band gets f*%ked on a major label deal into earning less a year than they would working at a McDonald's.

The truth is that a successful band nowadays needs to tour, pack houses, and get people to buy their merch, which gives them the highest rate of profit per item, and that IS where most of their money comes from. "Huge" records nowadays sell one or two million copies, "big" albums go gold or silver, and the amount of records that sell less than 100,000 units is too horrible to think about. Relying on record sales to get by is a one-way ticket to the poorhouse.
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#11
The Albini article aside, your post is correct. I chose the number 50 000 because that represents a gold record in Canada. (1/10th the population of USA) I Canada, if you go gold, you're almost a hero, and if you don't your album loses money and you get dumped from your label. (sure, overgeneralizing, but it's more or less true....)

Granted, if every member of your band has an equal writing share, which is rare (check the liner notes of your CDs... most songs are written by one or two people) then this is not a ton of money. However, if MY pay was cut by $12 000, I'd sure as hell feel it pretty hard.

If you go gold in the US, then everything here multiplies by 10.... which is potentially a half a million dollars for a single writer. Platinum... double that again.

Yes, touring and merch are important, but people often like to justify their filesharing by saying that record sales don't count for much, when clearly, they are significant.

My problem with the Albini article is that it seems really cynical. If you have a bad deal where the numbers work out like that, you clearly didn't have an entertainment lawyer to go over the contract with you. It is because of examples like his that we use those people. And if an entertainment lawyer looked over it with you, and you still chose to sign it.... then you have nothing to complain about. You made an informed choice. (or you just learned that your uncle the real estate lawyer was ill-equipped to navigate a record deal contract....)

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
Last edited by axemanchris at Oct 27, 2008,
#12
Quote by axemanchris
Most of this is good. I have a couple of problems/questions, though....


I think you branched off into two different planes of thought here. A traditional licencing deal says that the record company (or whoever else wants to licence your material) will pay you a set fee for the right to reproduce your work as they see fit. That set fee may be a lump sum, (ex. $10 000) or may be a percentage of what they are able to sell (say 10%), or a fee based on a per-unit basis. (ex. $1.00 per CD sold). The licensor (in this case, the label) has no ownership of the publishing or anything... they just have the right to duplicate and re-sell as they see fit, subject to the agreed upon terms.


A band signed to the label I worked for had a similair situation to the one I described, I suppose technically it's more of a distrubuting deal. But there's a grey area in between, it's all nomeclature anyway.


My information says that pretty much the opposite is true. If you get signed, you have one shot to go big or go home. If you don't come up with a full house, or at least a three of a kind on your first album.... they ain't gonna give you a nickel more to try again. You're dropped. These things used to be called 'development deals' where a label would let a band go out, put out a first album to get some experience under their belt and to get the name out there, but development deals disappeared ages ago. Now, if you are hugely successful... THEN you have some leverage for negotiating multi-album deals.


Indeed if a band doesn't do well they can be dropped by the label, the point of signing a band to a multi-album deal is that if they do do well with the first album, they're now tied into a contract so they have to make more money for the label.
I obviously can't state for your own experience, but many musicians i've worked with have always stated that a multi-album deal is way more common.
As far as i'm aware, no-one gets single album deals anymore.



What profits, and as defined as how?

If you look at a CD costing $20 and the artist in the end getting $1.00, then yes, there is your 5%, but that is really misleading. It suggests that the label gets the other 95%, which is entirely untrue. The retail store bought that CD for $10 and marked it up 100%. So, the store gets half of that $20. Of the remaining $10, the label will see maybe $4. Of that, $1.00 will be the publishing royalties. You will also get $1.00 worth of publishing royalties. The rest of the money is partly distribution costs, packaging costs, marketing costs, etc.

You can't tell me that you, as an indie label, will have a CD sell in a store for $20, and have the artist get even close to $10. When you say between 20%-50%... your 50% sounds really far-fetched for the more traditional sales routes. I'd put a retail sale in the neighbourhood of 20%.

I would suggest that the artist probably gets closer to 50% if your label sells a CD from their own website where there is no other parties involved to want a cut or to mark it up further for their own purposes.


I (as well as most people) define profits as income less expenses. The store markup is irrelevent in this case, as the money doesn't come to the label anyway.
I didn't claim the artists were getting 50% of the instore price.
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#13
I feel you do not need a label to accomplish any of your stated goals.

1. write songs
2. tour
3. release a cd
4. reinvesting your profits into the band

you may need assistance
1. booking the tour
2. distributing your cd to retail stores (not necessary at this point. You should focus on selling your cd while on tour.)
3. raising money to get this started
4. raising awareness about your band (advertising and promotion)

A label will essentially give you some starting money (or assistance) in exchange for a financial and/or controlling interest in the band's product (i.e. your music and image), hence their desire for ownership and control over the product. It is the label's primary means to get a return on their investment.

However, if your goals are more than you stated, for example to be as commercially successful as [insert your favorite band here], then a dedicated, well financed label is essential to your success. All of your competitors will have that backing.

It's true, the business side of music is challenging and time consuming, which is why there are only a few sucessful DIY bands. Each task required to move you closer to your goals can be done by you. Eventually it comes down to hard work, either done by your or whomever is willing to support you, and money. Like any other contract, all of the details, percentages, etc., can be negotiated, but both parties need to bring something of value to the table and trade it.
#14
Quote by Forcemaster

Indeed if a band doesn't do well they can be dropped by the label, the point of signing a band to a multi-album deal is that if they do do well with the first album, they're now tied into a contract so they have to make more money for the label.
I obviously can't state for your own experience, but many musicians i've worked with have always stated that a multi-album deal is way more common.
As far as i'm aware, no-one gets single album deals anymore..


If a label signs a band to a multi-album deal and the band chokes at the release of their first album, then the label has pre-committed themselves to releasing two more (or how ever many else) albums by that artist. The label is then forced to do what they call 'burying' the album - essentially allowing the album to be released, but not going through the effort and expense of promoting and marketing it. Better to lose $25K on the production of an album instead of $1M promoting and marketing an album that won't sell.

It is safer, then, for the label to sign them to a single release to see how it does. If sales meet or exceed expectations, then they'll talk further.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#15
Quote by axemanchris
The Albini article aside, your post is correct. I chose the number 50 000 because that represents a gold record in Canada. (1/10th the population of USA) I Canada, if you go gold, you're almost a hero, and if you don't your album loses money and you get dumped from your label. (sure, overgeneralizing, but it's more or less true....)

Granted, if every member of your band has an equal writing share, which is rare (check the liner notes of your CDs... most songs are written by one or two people) then this is not a ton of money. However, if MY pay was cut by $12 000, I'd sure as hell feel it pretty hard.

If you go gold in the US, then everything here multiplies by 10.... which is potentially a half a million dollars for a single writer. Platinum... double that again.

Yes, touring and merch are important, but people often like to justify their filesharing by saying that record sales don't count for much, when clearly, they are significant.

My problem with the Albini article is that it seems really cynical. If you have a bad deal where the numbers work out like that, you clearly didn't have an entertainment lawyer to go over the contract with you. It is because of examples like his that we use those people. And if an entertainment lawyer looked over it with you, and you still chose to sign it.... then you have nothing to complain about. You made an informed choice. (or you just learned that your uncle the real estate lawyer was ill-equipped to navigate a record deal contract....)CT


Okay, your clarification on Canada and all that clears things up for me. And I agree about how much a songwriter can make off of a hit record, and that rarely does a whole band have credit. Although, no fee or royalty of any kind pays musicians for chemistry with a songwriter so they can write great material and get rich off of the publishing....something that kind of bugs me, but I can't think of any way to get around that.

And I do agree about how people make that claim to defend illegal dwnloads.....theft is still theft, no matter how you slice it. The thing (well, one of them) that bothers me about illegal downloads is that people don't consider the actual cost of recording and mastering a good-sounding, sonically strong record before it can even be put out "for free", and that if you told any kind of worker that they wouldn't be paid for what they put time into, they would instantly be up in arms. But that's a whole different moral thing....(not really, but I digress......) Besides the fact I've never paid more than $12 for any CD for as long as I can remember, and that's often cheaper than three beers at the bar on a Friday night.

I do also agree that the Albini article is cynical.....but that's kind of the point. Too many people think that signing a major label deal makes you a millionaire, when the opposite is often true, and the amount of hidden costs is rarely considered by musicians upfront. Did he go over the line? I think so. But did he make too many valid points to ignore or not reconsider? I think he did.

And, yes, entertainment lawyers are a prerequisite for ANY contract in show business of any kind. I'm still amazed by people who think that a divorce lawyer could pore over a record contract on a Sunday afternoon and have the knowhow to give a band proper advice, or, like you said, someone's uncle who brokers land deals.
'Cause I have done it before and I will do it some more....
#16
Quote by BHowell
Although, no fee or royalty of any kind pays musicians for chemistry with a songwriter so they can write great material and get rich off of the publishing....something that kind of bugs me, but I can't think of any way to get around that.


Yeah, this is a tough one. Even performance royalties from radio/TV/etc go to the writers of the song. One way of looking at it is that nobody would be making anything if nobody created, but because somebody created, there is more money being made than just publishing and performance royalties. Of course, the other way of looking at it, and I mention this whenever I can (especially when doing any kind of press for the band... radio interviews or whatever) is that even though I am the principle songwriter for the band, I am nothing without them. I worked for years on writing songs that nobody ever heard because I had no way of getting them out of my basement and onto the stage.

Quote by BHowell

And I do agree about how people make that claim to defend illegal dwnloads.....theft is still theft, no matter how you slice it.


What really bothers me are the people who justify it as 'it's too expensive' and yet you look at some of the other stuff they have, and it is clear that they are simply priortizing differently. I don't even own a stereo. We don't have a big screen TV. We don't even have HDTV. Hell... we don't even have cable or satellite. We don't have a blue-ray player. I have a pay-as-you go cell phone that costs me about $15 a month. (which is about as cheap as you get here in Canada....) - never mind an iPhone or whatever. I could go on. People with $2000+ computers (mine was about half that) who steal software amounts to the same thing.

What also really bothers me is how stealing has really become the cultural norm to the point that music is essentially value-less. If music is perceived as value-less, then what ramifications does that mean for not only the music industry, but for us as consumers... and as musicians?

Quote by BHowell

I do also agree that the Albini article is cynical.....but that's kind of the point. Too many people think that signing a major label deal makes you a millionaire, when the opposite is often true, and the amount of hidden costs is rarely considered by musicians upfront. Did he go over the line? I think so. But did he make too many valid points to ignore or not reconsider? I think he did.


Good point.

Quote by BHowell

And, yes, entertainment lawyers are a prerequisite for ANY contract in show business of any kind. I'm still amazed by people who think that a divorce lawyer could pore over a record contract on a Sunday afternoon and have the knowhow to give a band proper advice, or, like you said, someone's uncle who brokers land deals.


You wouldn't go to a podiatrist for laser eye surgery, now would you? Oh, sure, he/she is a fully qualified doctor, but....

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#17
Quote by axemanchris
If a label signs a band to a multi-album deal and the band chokes at the release of their first album, then the label has pre-committed themselves to releasing two more (or how ever many else) albums by that artist. The label is then forced to do what they call 'burying' the album - essentially allowing the album to be released, but not going through the effort and expense of promoting and marketing it. Better to lose $25K on the production of an album instead of $1M promoting and marketing an album that won't sell.

It is safer, then, for the label to sign them to a single release to see how it does. If sales meet or exceed expectations, then they'll talk further.

CT


Once again, I can't vouch for your experiences. I'm only relating to what i've seen and heard first hand. It may also vary on the genre and 'marketability' of a band. it may be different stateside but in the UK that's what I believe to go down.
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#19
Quote by axemanchris
Yeah, this is a tough one. Even performance royalties from radio/TV/etc go to the writers of the song. One way of looking at it is that nobody would be making anything if nobody created, but because somebody created, there is more money being made than just publishing and performance royalties. Of course, the other way of looking at it, and I mention this whenever I can (especially when doing any kind of press for the band... radio interviews or whatever) is that even though I am the principle songwriter for the band, I am nothing without them. I worked for years on writing songs that nobody ever heard because I had no way of getting them out of my basement and onto the stage.

What really bothers me are the people who justify it as 'it's too expensive' and yet you look at some of the other stuff they have, and it is clear that they are simply priortizing differently. I don't even own a stereo. We don't have a big screen TV. We don't even have HDTV. Hell... we don't even have cable or satellite. We don't have a blue-ray player. I have a pay-as-you go cell phone that costs me about $15 a month. (which is about as cheap as you get here in Canada....) - never mind an iPhone or whatever. I could go on. People with $2000+ computers (mine was about half that) who steal software amounts to the same thing.

What also really bothers me is how stealing has really become the cultural norm to the point that music is essentially value-less. If music is perceived as value-less, then what ramifications does that mean for not only the music industry, but for us as consumers... and as musicians?CT


I agree that it can be problematic for songwriters to get their music out without a good band--I've been there and it can be the most frustrating thing imaginable, and finding good players to back you can be gratifying in a thousand ways. At the same time, being a sideman for a songwriter is only paying the bills so long as you are out playing gigs and selling T-shirts. When the band breaks up, the songs can still be licensed and royalties paid, etc, but a guitar player working for that band for ten years may not see a dime of success for thirty years of longevity after the group dissolved.

On the other side of the coin, the guitar player who hooked up with said band may have gotten to tour and get rich playing gigs for songs that the band's main songwriter spent years writing before the group started. Songwriting can take quite literally years to get to a pro level (or where someone wants to hear it, there can be a big difference there), and years more to write batches of good tunes of the same caliber, a span of time where someone who wants to write songs may not see a dime for all their efforts just to get to that point. So in some ways it evens out. That's the way the hustle goes down for everyone--in some ways it's not fair at all, but in other ways I suppose it's equal.

I agree about the whole "50 inch HDTV vs. $10 CD" thing 100%. And also about how music lacking in consumer value can lack deeper value. Even though I hate music snobs and elitism, there is some valid basis toward people who want to listen only to the best music, and it's even more tantamount in a time where everyone would have to pay to listen. If you can only buy a few albums a month, you would make damn sure to get good music by bands you really liked--not downloading an album of joke cover tunes to nestle in with your favorite band, because it's all free. When you can get 10,000 albums for free, what's stopping you from getting tons of crap, just because it's free? Purchasing albums forces you to choose quality right out of the gate.

But I see light at the end of the tunnel.....vinyl sales. I'm impressed by how many stores are stocking vinyl releases again, and people are buying them. It's a drop in the bucket, but it means there's a consciousness toward listening to music on a level besides just downloading and discarding it--getting the artwork, taking care to have to switch sides and be aware of what is going on with the album, etc. That's good. As a musician, I think it should be our goal to encourage this, both in the way we listen to music, and the way we play it. If we try to play music that can only be fully experienced with undivided attention and an interest beyond being background music, and is built on these values, hopefully others--both players and listeners--will follow.
'Cause I have done it before and I will do it some more....
#20
Quote by Forcemaster
I worked for an independant record label (www.anticulture.co.uk) for a few months, so I think I can clarifiry some of the rumours of the industry.

The difference between the independents and the majors are huge, and completely different arrangements occur.

Sometimes a band will only be signed to a liscencing deal, what this means is the band will pay for most of their own stuff (the recording itself, merch, etc.) the label will then produce, advertise (see all those ads in the music magazines? most of them are done by labels) and distribute your music. it's then up to you to tour and sell as much stuff as you can. If all goes well, everyone makes money. The label will take profit on pretty much anything they themselves are involved with.

A full blown recording deal is slightly different, usually a band is given an advance (i.e. a loan of cash) to spend on recording the album and all other costs, the label will then usually do the same advertising/promotion and sometimes helped to book a tour. The band will then do the same thing, tour and sell as much as possible to try and make money for everyone.

Usually the first album makes no money whatsoever, it's all spent on promoting the band and getting the name out there. The second album, now the band are established, will usually draw in the cash. This is why no-one get's signed to a one-album deal unless they're already hugely successful.

The main difference between the independents and majors is down to money, a major will be able to offer a bigger advance (but remember this is a loan anyway), better promotion and better tours (if you want to support a large touring band, prepeare to reach for your wallet, this is known as a 'buy-on') but the downside is they'll offer you less of the profits.

An indepenent will offer between 20-50% of the profits, a major? 5-10% if you're lucky.

You worked for AntiCulture? How do I go about getting them to listen to our demo, I'm a big fan of Gutworm and have a good opinion of AntiCulture.
#21
ok so this is a really good thread, informitive just have a few questions (dunno if theyre dumb or not).
SO in regards to getting a record deal, if you have a manager or an agent or both they still get money from that? even if they didnt set it up?
Also in regards to a manager/agent they set up the tours, does the label get anything from the money you make from touring?

Thanks i didnt know that labels only loaned you the money to record albums, so this is most informative thread
Boxing Kangaroo Of The Australia FTW! Club. PM Alter-Bridge or The_Random_Hero to join. Australians only.
#22
Compare being a side-man to working in a factory. Sure, you get paid decently to continue to manufacture the product on a day-to-day basis, but the big money is in the design patents and licencing of those patents.

Managers and agents get paid when you get paid. You don't really get paid for signing a record deal. Even if you get an advance, that is just that... an advance. This is money that you will pay back once you get out there, but will get you through until then. It will allow you to quit your job, for instance, and still have an income so that you can focus on finishing writing the album, etc. A manager or agent will love you to get signed though because it increases the value of their portfolio, and any additional income you potentially make as a result of a record deal means by extension, more money for them.

An entertainment lawyer will have some nice fees you'll have to pay... and unless you're really keen on getting screwed over, is not an optional expense.

The label generally does not get anything you make on your tours.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#24
Managers get you shows, they network and get you on bills
they probably also go to all sorts of ends to get your band signed.
They get a percentage, generally ranges from 10% to 20%, this is on everything you earn, if your not well known then the percentage may be larger.

Ok so i get the advance, but labels also pay you to sign to them right? A million dollar record deal is that when you get a million dollars then you get the advance or the million dollars is the advance?
Boxing Kangaroo Of The Australia FTW! Club. PM Alter-Bridge or The_Random_Hero to join. Australians only.
#25
Yes, a manager will have an agreement with you that they get roughly 15% of your earnings, give or take. If you can negotiate with them that they will get 15% of your net earnings, you've done yourself smartly.

So, given that they make money when you make money, then their success is contingent upon your success. They will arrange opportunities for you to make money whether that be shows, helping you sell discs (getting them to retail, etc.), helping you promote (arranging interviews, etc.), making sure you have merch to sell, etc.

Now, when you get a 'million dollar record deal' that could mean a lot of things. If they give you an advance of a million dollars, then you probably just fell asleep. That offer will disappear at 6:30 in the morning when the alarm goes off. Nonetheless... an advance is a loan. It is a portion of YOUR money that they give you up front in anticipation that that money will be recouped later through sales. If they can give you an advance of, say, $50 000, that could allow you to quit your day job and tour to promote the album once it is ready for retail. You're not making any money yet, so you can't afford to quit your job, but you expect that you will be, so they can give you that advance up front. You pay them back once the product starts to sell. (note: if sales don't go well, you could find yourself playing arenas as an opening band, and finishing the tour and still being in debt... ouch!)

More typical than a million dollar record deal of any kind is that you might get a $50 000 advance. You'll be given a budget for recording, and a budget for video, merch, etc. The likelihood of that adding up to a million is slim at best. The millions of dollars it can cost to put out an album is more in the promotion and marketing than in the product itself. Mind you, if you can get Mutt Lange to produce your album, that's probably the better part of a million just for his fees.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#26
Ok sweet i get ya know.
With all this being said is there a lot of money to be made in this industry for artists? I mean personally i'd do it cause its a dream but would it be more than enough or just enough to scrape through?
Boxing Kangaroo Of The Australia FTW! Club. PM Alter-Bridge or The_Random_Hero to join. Australians only.
#27
Yes, there is a ton of money out there to be made by artists. The problem is becoming one of those artists. Most of the artists out there... not the super huge ones, but the ones out there like 311 or Puddle of Mud, or Papa Roach or whatever.... make a decent amount of money and that lasts for a while, and then the income stops.

I heard an interview with Art Alexaikis of Everclear, and he was talking about how he had an electrician over to do some work on his house. Conversation got to what it was like to be a semi-rock star and that sort of thing, and the end result of the conversation amounted basically to the fact that the electrician made the same as or more than him, but the electrician's job and income were far more secure... and this was while Everclear was still pretty much a household name.

These days, fewer and fewer bands are able to maintain long careers. This is partly (largely) due to the flavour of the week nature of the consumers and the culture, and partly because the labels are more apt to jump onto a brand new band with a lot of hype hoping that they're going to be the next Beatles, rather than continue to invest in a middling kind of band.

CT
Could I get some more talent in the monitors, please?

I know it sounds crazy, but try to learn to inhale your voice. www.thebelcantotechnique.com

Chris is the king of relating music things to other objects in real life.
#28
^ ahh ok thanks man
Boxing Kangaroo Of The Australia FTW! Club. PM Alter-Bridge or The_Random_Hero to join. Australians only.