#Musicians: Ready for the Major Labels?

Not sure if you’ve noticed yet, but the majors have been in survival mode the past few years.  Astronomical budget cuts and executive shuffling have become a standard annual process for the big four (EMI, Sony, Universal, WB). Artists are being dropped like flies due to weak opening sales; but this is only due to lack of budget support. It has become a vicious circle. Although it has its obvious drawbacks, there are rewards if you play the game right.  Think you’re ready? Read on…

What’s harder — getting signed or staying signed? You may be surprised…

Becoming an artist with major label support isn’t the hardest thing to do. The tricky part is staying signed. One of the biggest mistakes an artist can make is signing before they have a solid fan base established. This process aptly named “artist development”, includes everything from playing live shows, social media growth (now you have a good reason to tweet) and establishing your “sound”.  For some reason, labels still think they can break certain artists just because the music is amazing.  Don’t fall for the pitch…it isn’t happening anymore.  And it’s a guaranteed career ender to be placed on the back-burner of any record label.  As painful as it is to walk away from a major deal as a new artist, you will love yourself in the future for it.  When you return with more artist development under your belt, you will also notice the label offering a larger budget and more support. Interesting…

I’ve decided to sign my major label deal. Now what?

So you’ve made it through artist development and finally sign that major deal. Isn’t this the part where you can sit back and let the record label do the work?  Sure…take a seat, and enjoy the ride… lol, you’ll quickly notice the label taking you in a wrong direction or maybe it stops working on your project all together.  Did you enjoy the ride? Because it’s over.

Here’s the deal.

The moment you sign you need to stay in control of your project.  Keep in mind that the label is only there to support your career; not manage it or steer it.  Other then major distribution and radio support, you really need to consider what else their team will bring to the table. Maybe it’s a budget? Or maybe it’s tour support? Make sure you consider everything about your project when prepping to sign over.  Again, this is a vicious circle to be apart of, but if you are prepared to play the game smart, it can be a successful and fun ride.

What do you think about signing to a major label? Does anyone have any experiences they’d like to share with our readers here? We’d love to see your thoughts!

-LAMA Staff

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One response to “#Musicians: Ready for the Major Labels?”

  1. The.Music.Intern says :

    I guess I never considered the fact that it would be harder to keep a deal than get a deal. If an album is critically acclaimed but commercially unsuccessful then it would seem that the label is to be blame, but as this post pointed out the label is there for support, not management; artists should be “prepared to play the game smart” and avoid the vicicious cycle.

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