I want a record deal! I want to be famous!

28Apr08

I cannot count the times that artists have contacted me with the mantra, “I know I will go platinum. I just need someone to hear me. We can be rich and famous! You won’t be sorry for working with me.”  The first thing I think of when I hear this is, “amateur.”  It literally screams ignorance to how the music business works.  I think tons of people still think that if you record a demo and mail it off to a bunch of labels and BLING! you are the next superstar.  As many of you know, the industry does not work like it does “in the movies.”

Artists and bands really need to consider what they want to achieve with their music. If you are starting a band just to live the rockstar lifestyle and be famous you are doing it for all the wrong reasons.  I feel that people who make music because they have to, because it is in their blood will find success….success does not always have to equal money.

Let’s look at really what a record label does:

1. Manufactures Products – CD’s, DVD’s, etc.

2.  Distribute the product to stores

3.  Sells the products

There are many levels to those 3 functions, but basically that is what the label does. In order to do those things on a national level, they have to invest hundreds of thousands, if not millions of dollars. In other words, they take on huge risk every time they sign a new act.  That is precisely why most new artists getting signed now are usually well known for another reason….TV Shows, other bands, famous parents or siblings, etc, etc.  It is not very often an artist is found compeletly untouched and developed.  Then the label will take the majority of money the projects generate in order to repay the huge sums they put out to get the project launched. They also have overhead expenses to pay as well….so the labels do not give the artist the short end of the stick just because they feel like it….many times they have to in order to keep the lights on.

Since I have my own indie label, I understand what kinds of thoughts go into signing a new artist.  Do I like them? Do I like their music? Am I willing to spend my own time and money on them?  Will I keep pushing even if it doesn’t catch on right away? Are they willing to invest their time on themselves? Since I do invest my time and money, I always take a larger cut than the artist.  I don’t force them to sign with me….so I feel that if they want to put most of the risk on me, I should get most of the reward.

So now back to my point about artists and signing deals.  Is a deal really what you want? 

I think WAY too many musicians think that if they sign a deal that all they will need to do is sit back and make music and someone will do all of the work for them.  Not so much.  Even with a deal an artist is going to be expected to do press, gigs, appearances, etc…..hard work.  If I sign someone and they do not show they can invest time and effort into themselves, they will not be my artist for very long.

So what do you want from your music?  Money….Fame/Notoriety….Expression…..fans.  I am sure all of those things play into it.  The fact of the matter is that you can gain all of that on your own. The best part is if you do it all on your own, YOU will get to keep the majority of the money generated.

How do you develop your own music career without a label??   GET KNOWLEDGE.  There are literally hundreds of books and websites that can teach you how to be your own label.  The catch is that you will need to invest your time to learn.  Too many people are too lazy to make anything happen for themselves yet they will say, “I will do anything to make it!”  No you won’t…you won’t even take the time to teach yourself how to ‘make it.’

Will you take the time?

– Chad Sharp

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One Response to “I want a record deal! I want to be famous!”

  1. Very, very informative article that I learned a lot from. I myself am an independant artist trying to “make it big” and I think you had a good point that, record deal or not, there will be a lot of work involved. Thanks for your insight!
    Charlotte


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