Posted in : Forum : The Music Business
Discuss anything related to the business side of things. getting signed, starting your own label, contracts, distributing your music, licensing tracks, getting paid for gigs etc
Just thought I have not really seen a post like this on here for a while so thought I would start one.
The basic idea behind this is to bring together people who are actually performing, releasing and generally making headway in the music industry.
Telling us where they currently are in the buisness and in there experience how they got to the point they are at.
What worked for them, what hasn't and what are there Do's and dont's.
Simple things that you may take for granted like, Attitude when submitting Demo's for consideration. What labels gave the best feedback? and what ones are ar$eholes to deal with.
It could literally be anything from a work ethic to get tracks done to how to deal with A&R men to.... whatever really..
Although I would really love it if the posts are kept to people who have had the experience's themselves as a forum post full of things regurgitated from S0S magazine, future music and online tutorials are no real help to anyone without having lived it or experienced it.
It would be fantastic if we could make this a in-valuable resource for people wanting to make there way out of the bedroom and onto beatport/iTunes/Traxsource etc..
Who would like to go first?
Most of the artist on here are either amateurs, hobbyist, people who are working on getting signed or people who just do it out of boredom. I would put myself in the boredom/hobbyist category. Most people here hate record labels and i'm one of them.
Even though i make music when i'm bored and for a hobby i still know a lot about the industry because i have close relatives and friends who worked in there for many years.
From family experience i can tell you record companies are probably the worst thing that will happen to you.
Record labels are only interested in making money off of your work. Signing with one, is like signing your own legal death certificate. If you still want to sign with them i can tell you that its not going to be easy. Most record labels won't even look at you, if you don't have some sort of fan base to back you up.
By fan base i mean, 20,000 people and up. They want artist who will attract fans. Fans buy albums, t-shirts, sneakers and all the other accessories that will make the sales and make YOU rich and famous! Being like-able doesn't seem like a lot in the real world but in the entertainment business that's what pays the bills!
No fans = No sales No sales = No record deals!
>> Fans = Sales Sales = Record deals!
Before you can start big, you have to start small. In order to reach the top, its best you start out by getting your music to a place where you are comfortable with. As an artist i know getting to a comfortable place is very hard because you will always want to improve your sound. The best way to see if your music is as comfortable as you want it, is to put yourself in the consumer/fan shoes..... Ask your self the following questions....
- Are my songs money worthy?
- Do my songs sound good on most of my sound playing device?
- Am i fan of my music?
If you answered yes to the following questions, you're ready to move on to the next step. If not, you have some things you need to work out!
Remember you are your biggest fan. If you don't like your music don't expect others to.
Start a youtube channel and a soundcloud to attract the fans, promote yourself everywhere you can until you got what you think is a substantial amount of fans! If the amount of plays is less than fans/subscribers then you have a problem.
Your fans are probably either spam bots or only following you because they want you to follow them. Record labels pay attention to that so make sure you get that in order.
I said quite a lot but this is so much to say, i'm going to end it by saying good luck and hope you get far no matter what kind of artist you are :)
Although I cant say that I really agree with the points you have made I still value your input on the matter.
I think it predominantly breaks down like this.
If you are a recording artist and by that I mean someone who sits with there guitar or piano and writes music/songs or are in a band then some of the above statements will be rite for you.
The reason they are rite for you is because when you sign a record deal, it is just that. You will be contractualy obliged to write and perform for x amount of time and give them x amount of material. So yes, you do have to be carefull what you sign, you do need to make sure the record label is going to look after you. You need to make sure of this because writing and making songs is going to potentially be your prominent source of income.
Thats just common sense though isnt it? If you went for a job interview dont you ask what the wages are? You need to pay bills rite?
If your music is good enough then you will get offers. They wont be the best but its called the music business because it is that, a business and you need to fight for what you think you deserve otherwise you wont get it. The old saying "if you dont ask you dont get" applys I think.
Thank you for your Input though, I know it will be useful to people on here.
Sorry had to cut the last reply short, Im at work lol.
The other reasons why I think the above may not apply is because I have a veeery small following in terms of public networks. A few hundred on facebook and less then 400 on soundcloud.com.
Even with these small number's I have still managed to get 11'ish singles signed and released (or about to be) thats why being a producer differs to being an artist. As a producer I work on a per track basis.
I complete work and I send it to labels. If theyvlike it they sign that one track (or ask for an ep if they really like it) we are not bound by a long standing commitment to a label and are free to carry on working to provide music for other people.
On the financial side of things, being a producer is not really a lucrative job. I dont get paid alot for my work and if the lavels pretty big I wont get paid for the track at all. But I do understand that im always getting better and the next track I make will surpass the last. If I dont think this way then what really is the point in doing what I do?
It does lead to other things though. I am constantly being asked to remix other artists for a nominal fee. It takes maybe 4 hourse to complete a track and once you work out the fee to an hourly rate its definitely beyter paid than my day job. Also it leads to djing work and from that point of view if you give a good performance and interact with people who are there in a decent mannor it leads to a larger fan base and more gigs.
So yeah I kinda agree with some of the above statements but I think you need to be carefull in all you do in life not just when it comes to contract signing.
If you just skim the contract in yourums kitchin with a group of mates and you end up getting stung you can't really go blaming the record company. If its that important (and it should be if thats what you want to do) it costs roughly about £60 to get documentation looked over and deciphered into plain english . Money well spent if you ask me :)
I would just like to add a little bit of my experience into the melting pot. I would class myself as an amature musician with a semi pro past. I have played session drums in the studio and bass guitar for several bands. I have friends that earn a living from the music industry playing with pro bands such as the Cure...
My opinion of sound cloud / any of the free upload sites as a launch pad for your work is that they serve no purpose other than to make a usefull online library of your music. I have about 350 follows on Soundcloud, i wouldn't class any of them as a fan. Most follwers on Soundclound are people that click your profile to get something back.. Sorry if people dont want to hear that.
Playing live to gain a following is incredibly important for many genres. Being a good live act willing to put the effort and sacrifice in is actually very rare. For dance music / EDM genres i think being a talented DJ with active pro venues is probably the best way to get your own music played. Clever You Tube videos and web promotions will help..
Siting in your bedroom writing and recording music with very little else other than free upload sites, you have more chance of playing tiddly winks with the Pope..
In my opinion a record company deal should consist of a cash advance, promotion services, marketing professionals and legal assistance and most importantly a dedicated team of individuals working with you.. In reality most are tiny organisations that want to release your music make a few $$ then move quickly onto the next hopefull.. You are better gaining your own following, spending money on your own promotions, playing live and releasing your own material.. If you make an impact, and its a massive if.. You may take the interest of a pro lable, management company.
I don't want to sound negative i just hate to see people constantly posting tracks on Soundcloud with a 1000 followers thinking they are making waves.. Remember a fan is someone who is inspired by what you are doing, is willing to get off there butts and pay money to go and see you play live or pay real money to listen to your music.. On that basis how many fans do we really have and that will be an indicator of your potential to move on in music, nothing else..
Its so much more pleasurable to record and write your music for your own satisfaction, alot less complicated.. LOL
MavStudio is right for the most part. I only use sites to refer others to my work. The loop is cool because people actually comment on the material. Bottom line if your not a real hustler, then you don't need to be trying to become a star. If you need me to elaborate more on that comment, then your most likely never going to be signed anyways!
Haha I was kinda hoping this would turn into a helpful resource for people with questions about how to maybe get ahead in music. Not say how $h1te it is. Lol.
Then again if you have had bad experiences. Tell us who with, how they shafted you and what you wish you had done differently.
Its a helping post and a how to post. Not a "the music business is rubbish, dont quit your day job" post haha
Im really glad people have taken part in this so far but im very conscious that this could just turn into a collection of opinions and it may end up not helping at all.
I'm going to be honest..... I don't think you will be finding anyone who is already ahead in the music biz on this website, not because no one here is not good enough, trust me i'v seen and heard lots of talent who is capable of being on the very top.
Anyways like mavstudio said people who upload their work on websites like this one, usually are doing it just for the fun of it. Signed artist who has been as far as getting signed not song wise but as an artist cannot even upload their music on websites like these because the record label is responsible for that.
They will get in big trouble if they tried because like i was explaining in my previous post, the label pretty much owns you and your music once you sign that contract.
my journey started when i joined this site 4 years ago or something with 0 musical experience iv not got far yet and i still dont have much experience but what i have accomplished over the years is all through hard work and dedication it took a while for things to kick in but the past few months iv done things i never thought would happen like support well established and famous djs and djed at some epic raves and partys all because i kept pushing towards my goals
if your dedicated to music save up some cash buy the gear you need and start hosting your own gigs and/or send away demos to people who set up events like club nights, charity events or even a friend who needs music for a birthday party offer your services for free the first few times then if your good other people will hear you n ask you to do their birthdays then you do that one and someone else asks you again
i might no be best person to take advice from but i must be doing something right if im here where i am now :)
I first thought I would get some good information on producing music. Instead this whole thread is about experiences dealing with the music business. A well known artist once said, nobody has ever made it big from just making music in their garage. You gotta get out in the world and make a splash. So, sitting behind a computer monitor thinking your going to get rich and famous is dumb. The Loop is a great place to because there are people from all around the world on this site. I advise anyone who dreams of making it big to start networking. A closed mouth doesn't get fed.
just butting my nose in to say amen to the point MAVstudio makes about playing live...if you dont do it, your chances of being signed are slim to none...However, there are other options if you do it well and produce quality there are several companies that catalogue music for soundtracks, ads, videos etc...One deal with a major advertizer can pay the bills for a long time...There are some small ones like YouLicense etc where you can list for free & deal direct but even if you hit a deal the fees are next to nothing....There are larger companies like Gettys Images/Pump Audio & others who require full quality submissions...Maybe someone else can provide a bit mor info on this...The couple of deals I have done in recent years were just direct licensing & happened by chance rather that and particular knowledge or action on my part....Ed
Great thread and awesome responses so far.
As an artist/performing artist you have a number of choices to make throughout your career and as things usually are in life there are pros and cons to every choice and step you make.
Record labels can a big deal in your career and I never understood why people are so afraid of labels, they really can open doors you never knew existed and can take your career to a whole new level. They can be a bad move or a good move and it all depends on the label, especially nowadays when so called labels are at every street corners.
When it comes to labels it all boils down to the genre of music you are making. Are you an EDM producer/performer, folk performer, rock band or rock artist, opera singer etc. For each of these genres and the many more available there are different choices you could take along your path to stardom but you always have to remember nothing is certain and you could always end up back to where you are right now.
Electronica and Hip-Hop labels in particular are the ones that you should carefully analyze as they are widely spread and many of them might seem legit yet fail to actually provide you with anything in return except providing you with a platform to sell your music. Don't get me wrong I am NOT putting down these labels but due to the vast number it's highly likely you will be signing with a small indie label at first and not all of them can provide something in return except promises, it's highly likely that the reach of such labels is fairly limited so analyze their portfolio and check out how their released artists are doing so far.
The thing goes pretty much the same way for rock and indie rock labels however, depending on the style of music you are performing, you have a slightly better chance of analyzing what the label actually brings to the table.
A manager could also be a great choice and as long as you are a performing artist (Live shows) the manager could be your best bet to start with. Now I don't think I have to say this but you have to be careful who you work with and signing a manager takes away a bit of your decision making power when it comes to time spent on the road and in the rehearsal rooms however that's normal and should come as natural and expected for any artist that wishes to make a few steps forward. Nothing is gonna fall out of the sky and you'll have to work your butt of knowing that there are no guarantees.
Anyways the thing with labels is that the right choice could bring you a lot of connections, money, recognition at a bigger scale, higher quality recording services etc. but you'll also have to know that most such labels will invest in you when they sign with you and they expect that investment back plus a bit more. Most likely the label will have a creative input on your music and will look for a certain style (arrangement, production, delivery and performance) but you have to keep in mind this is an industry and at the end of the day both you and the label will have bills to pay so yes money will be a concern and for this the labels will want to make sure your music has commercial value. This doesn't mean you will lose your music or it will turn into their music it just means they will most likely review your stuff and then drop opinions about what they would like changed (you might not always agree but this doesn't happen with all the songs in an album contrary to popular hearsay).
Now getting down to the nitty gritty stuff
Labels will most likely sign a lot of artists and throw a lot of music out there to see what will catch attention so most likely you will have to compete with other artists for attention, but then again you should be used to that already regardless if you admit it or not. If you don't have a competitive spirit then the music industry is not for you.
You will most likely have deadlines for releases and yes sometimes especially at the start it's quantity over quality (regardless of the genre of your choice).
The label will want a piece of your cake, it shouldn't be a surprise and further down the road you could actually come to realise that when nobody else would the label actually took a bet when it comes to you and invested in something that could've turned into a fiasco. There is nothing stopping you from parting ways with the record company further down the road (of course there is but I won't get into contracts here). Also you'll have to keep in mind that while labels do take a big chunk of money you'll also gain a lot more than you would've as an unsigned act.
Think of the whole music industry this way..if you are starting out the do it yourself way is great and can get you some results but as you'll progress and start promoting your music with shows, tours and what not the more imperative it will become for you to have somebody do the work in the background, as much as you like to think it you can't actually do it all by yourself. Eventually getting a manager, promoter or even signing a label will feel like a huge step forward and a lot of weight will be taken of your shoulders.
A Label will most likely have distribution power you can't even dream of.
A label will most likely (once your music catches and you develop a fan base) deploy a whole army of press, promoters and other marketing techniques to promote your tour/show/performance.
The most important thing, and I can't stress this enough, TAKE CARE WHO YOU SIGN! It's full sharks there, with a bigger predominance in the indie world but they are there in the big label world as well so before putting pen to paper due your homework, talk with other bands and share experiences, talk with your manager and clearly establish what you want and what the label can offer, creative input from the band can also be negotiated (believe it or not).
About A&R's...it has happened before that the A&R that believe in you past away, got fired or quit so there is a "Key-Man clause" or something like that that can be included in the contract so if the above would happen you could part ways with the label.
There can also be a release commitment in the contract so if the labels fails to promote and release your album then you could part ways with them.
About the rights...he label will own the rights to your music but on rare occasions there is a "reversion of copyright" clause that can be included in the contract (highly unlikely).
Most labels will sign for a 12 month period and afterwards they can extend the period the period should they and you wish so.
Also keep in mind the label will invest some money in you and you will get paid after they will recoup that investment so don't get shocked, it's fairly logical and appropriate from my point of view.
Most likely you won't be able to sign with a different label while being under agreement with a label already. In electronica there are clause that enable DJ's to release work with other labels under a different pseudonyms.
For the "money doesn't count, it's all passion" people out there. This thread is not for you, obviously you are a hobbyist (nothing wrong with that) and you've got a main source of income other than music. Once you sign the passion doesn't just dissapear.
Anyways many of the above apply to bigger labels and not smaller indie labels but some points are common and apply to both worlds. As with anything there are no guarantees and I'm not an expert on the subject but over the years I've had plenty of chats with groups, bands, promoters and managers, label representatives and the subject is definitely a delicate one.
Can you make it on your own?...to a certain extent yes however leaving the obvious drawbacks of a signed deal with a label there are obvious reasons for which to sign a manager, label or promoter. Those that will reach a certain level will come to realize that they can't do it all themselves, or they can but not at the full potential.
So now that I've wrote a freaking book in the loop can I get the longest post ever award...pretty please.
And the longest post award goes to...... Maloo13 :D
I have no interest in becoming a performing artist, but doing this for films would be ok :D I do music all out of fun for the love of it. That and horror :D Back in the day artists were discovered through demo tape sharing, in this new age we have these great resources like Looperman!
if you cant get a label but you are really confident in your music you should become an "independent artist" check out these websites...
you just need to google "online music distribution" and then once you do this you basically become your own label and could start signing artists if you wanted and also doing something like this would be really good for your CV if your serious about music il be doing my own distribution and promotion next month been planning this for about a year and feel now is the time to put things into action :)
Lol just a little side note I thought i'd put in that doesn't really have much relevance at all: I was watching this Linkin Park video and Mike (rapper and keys) was talking about the actual money Albums make under record labels.
The band works for Warner Bros and they pay the band roughly 15c for every album sold. This 15c then is divided buy each member and there's 6 members which means they all get 2.5c per album. Now sure that is big money when you consider they've sold millions of albums, but chances are your not gonna make it anywhere near as big as them if you're reading this right now.
So even though I have zero experience in the music industry, I've done the math and i'd say it's probably smart to start of independently. There is a lot more work involved in that as some people may think, but that is WHY you get a label, coz they do the hard stuff for you.
All fantastic points so far guys. thank you for taking the time out to let us know your do's and dont's.
I know it will all be of use to other people here on the Loop :)
Someone might have mentioned this already.. I'm too impatient to read every post.
But if you're looking to get a break, my best advice is to NETWORK, NETWORK, NETWORK!
I'm lucky enough to have gotten to know a couple of people in the industry.. and to date, they have been my biggest source of inspiration and best chance of actually securing a genuine release.. (two of whom have posted here :p ) ... I've also been approached by a couple of labels because of the work I have done with other people. One of whom had a fairly reputable artist on their books.. (I'll tell ya for a laugh.. Gina G if any one remembers? lol) but I turned the offers down because I'm obviously wrong in the head.
Another thing I would say... avoid vanity labels. Labels that will charge you upfront fees to release your work. Waste of time and money..
My two pence :)
Can anyone explain ISRC and ISWC Codes?
For example: I make a beat to someones vocals and "they" get the ISRC code, if I put their code on the song I incorporated with their vocals does that mean they own my beat? Anyone know if you can get screwed with adding these codes unless you purchase your own code? I just incorporate sounds with vocals, not sure about legalities.
No one knows?
As far as info on streaming codes and what each does, this simple breakdown should help:
If you're counting on streaming revenue then working out a deal with the vocalist/songwriter beforehand is crucial.
Most vocalists/songwriters will specify if their work is for non-commercial use or that you must contact them to work out terms for commercial use.
As long as you adhere to their business request, then putting your music on a vocal doesn't mean they own your music, or vice-versa.
Songwriters can file a copyright for added protection and so can musicians.
If this work is a collaboration, then both your names would go in any business forms.
*As long as you adhere to their business request, then putting your music on a vocal doesn't mean they own your music, or vice-versa.
This should read "Putting your music on a vocal doesn't mean they own your music, or vice versa. It's important to adhere to their terms on how their vocals/song can be used - commercial or non-commercial"
You have rights also. A vocalist can't just take your music and claim it as their own, unless you list it as royalty/rights free.
Ty, very much. Your wikkid!! :)LAm
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Looper Time : 2020-05-30 19:19:53 | Version l-3110