How to get a record deal

12 December 2017

Entertainment Insiders on What Gets You Signed! “While working at universal/ISRC, my ex boss used to say, the easiest thing Is, getting signed” -Unique Beanies The phone rings and on the other end is a voice, that can’t quite express himself, at least not intelligently. The typical random caller to the label that wants to “sign” his artist usually says something like “Uh… My name is blah blah..

.. And uh, I got an artist, You know… He real big out here, and mum I want send you his stuff, and sit down with the CEO. ” Yeah, right.

Having a sit-down with the CEO of a well known record label should be the last thing on your mind. You should be working on what’s going to get your artist recognized by fans and A&Rs, among other things. When I got such calls working at the label, I provided what I thought was the best advice and direction I could give the caller In the few minutes we had on the phone together, As an executive assistant to the CEO, I never had the time to provide any more than that.I made a mental note to put everything I’d learned by observing and speaking to colleagues about how artists could Increase their chances of being heard ND/or signed Into writing, one day. Eve quit the label since then, and now have plenty of time to share. Times have changed drastically, and with them, the Entertainment Industry as a whole. I’m convinced the formula for success In this Industry changes by an “nth” of a degree every day.

Demands from fans are forever changing, but we all know that fans will always love undeniably good music.To keep up with these demands, record companies usually offer a ‘single’, digital distribution, Remington/ring-tune, PEP, LAP, or multiple album deal. Typically, ‘single’ or digital distribution deals are given to artists hat already have a buzz of some kind. They’re more experimental for a label, to gather statistics on the artist’s potential sales. This would help the label determine whether or not to enter a full album deal with them. If a song already has a buzz, it’s likely a record company will plan to promote the record to a larger market, enabling profit from digital sales. An only share what Eve observed over the course of 6 years working at a label.

The majority of the artists signed to this label already had a buzz or a production team behind them. It’s extremely hard to break into the recording industry, so I’m going to share what Eve learned from what industry insiders believe will help get you your deal. Now that Eve provided some background Information, while reading the rest of this article, keep in mind that I worked at a small, but well known Hip-Hop/R/Pop record company that was backed by one of the Majors, universal Records.The information I provide may not apply to every act, but definitely applies to many. Also as an artist myself, I’m currently using what Eve learned to further my own musical career. 1 OFF promotions representatives, here’s what Eve compiled after asking this question: From your experience working in the industry or being an observer of it, give me the single most important thing you feel an artist needs, or needs to do to sign with a major. ” Note: Eve removed titles and names so readers can observe the consistency in the feedback provided.

No matter the title or experience, they all pretty much converge at the following 10 pointers. . Hard work En working at the label, my ex boss, Gabby Achieved used to tell me, “The easiest thing IS getting signed” First and foremost, anyone with common sense should know this, but we are not talking about Just hard work, we are talking about slaving and lea sacrifice. DC VIAL, an associate of mine, recounted to me many times the days and NIGHTS he went from station to station, and club to club promoting his mix-tape; As a Russian / Jewish D], he struggled through adversities in an industry where he Nas considered a minority. No one was trying to hear anything from him.He had to grind more than the average DC in his game, losing sleep and money to get where he IS today. If you listen to any “nobody’ turned successful individual’s story, they tend to share common themes.

They’ll all evoke the same feelings of struggle, passion, and sacrifice, but they will also say that each experience lends to who they are as a successful person today. Today Vial runs a successful online hip-hop site and has invested in numerous endeavors. Working day and night, consistently, will get you noticed. Labels appreciate hard workers. Like the quote above says, the easiest thing is getting signed.The hard work starts with proving your sales potential to avoid being ‘shelved’ essentially keeping your Job. 2.

Be independent This label rep says: “They need to be able to be independent, once they can do everything on their own and not need a major; that’s when they get signed to one. If {o can get your song on the radio, great; You’ve accomplished something without the help of a major. But most likely as a new artist, it will be extremely tough as some radio stations wont even look at your record unless you are already signed to a major or sub-major.It may also depend on the market you are trying to break into; like NY, LA, or TTL. Smaller markets may be easier. It varies across the board, with marketing, and sales. If you can’t sell a certain amount as an independent artist, then don’t expect for a label to step in and want to help you.

A label should only be there to signify you; Take what you’ve already done, and make it greater, better, bigger. Get Nat I mean? An A says: “they need to prove what they were able to accomplish on their own (I. E. Stats sales, tour, Merck, social networking, marketing, etc. I feel this gives the label confidence about what is possible for that artist. A label might say ‘If the artist was capable of getting all the fans and exposure on their own, imagine “hat good we can do for them. ‘ But what the artist needs to understand before we sign them is that they need to follow the rules, and do what we tell them to do.

Signing to a major is giving the reigns to your project to someone else and saying ‘l need more help selling my music,’ and by saying that, you need to be completely open and cooperative to what we do, and let us do our Jobs”. . Be Polished A marketing rep says: “Be polished before u get to them [label] I. E. : your look/image, performance, voice, etc should be on point. Make labels come to you. Basically, labels know how hard it is to break and develop an artist, so they want the artist to do it on {o might have better luck with a smaller label, or sub-label.

But sign to the major erectly, and you can bet that most likely, you’ll be shelved or delayed. At a small label, there are fewer artists for the team to focus on, so the focus will be on you.If [o are going to sign to a label, large or small, it also works in your favor to have had already developed a fan base, because you’ll get a bigger deal, and you are in the forefront. A prime example is Drake. Years ago, the buzz on Drake in the industry was fierce. Everyone wanted to sign him. I know Drake had big goals for himself; He didn’t Ant to sign to any label right away, avoiding small start up budgets, and any chance hat he wouldn’t be priority.

This is the case for many artists, but Drake pushed himself so well, to a point where he was able to release a record and become #1 on the charts.This didn’t happen overnight, it was years of hard work that eventually got the right people behind him. But even before Drake officially ended up with Young Money, he had passed on many offers. I’m not saying that exactly what worked for Drake will work for you, but this example proves that once you have a worthy buzz, all types of offers can come. Once an artist is label ready, its now safe to present. 4. Mass Appeal A Jar.

Exec says “you have to appeal too mass audience, call it mainstream if you will. (o need to be talented and distinct. Not following what everyone else does. I’d like to add that cookie cutter artists only last a minute, and record labels may find it difficult to develop lasting careers for them, but I believe its K to come out ‘sounding like everyone else” to get your records played and to establish a name with the main stream. After you’ve done that, I’d say it might be safer to come out with {Our complete, distinct sound. 5. Singles/Hits Now we are talking about a record deal here.

A label wants hits. If you don’t have hem, stay independent. You might have an easily identifiable and unique “sound” and that’s great, but your chances for a deal may still be minimal, if any at all.For the purposes of getting your deal, you have to have at least 3 surefire hits. A label focuses more on a single by an artist, rather than the artist with the single; It’s the faster route to making a profit from your music. 6. Hustle & Fool A Radio Promotion rep says “simply, sell units independently and lord get significant beds/immediate spins on the radio, Labels are lazy when it comes to artist development.

You need to do the work yourself and then hope for distribution, once o get the radio interested in your record.. ND you deliver a final’ product – it keeps the label from having to invest too much time in artist development & A&R’ing your records” Aha, I think your beginning to get it. It’s all reverting to doing it yourself, and being ready for a label to approach. I assure you, it’s the truth, and it’s also a grind. It may not always be easy to get a record played, but it is possible, you’ll never know in this Industry. It may help you as an artist, to start with your top 3 records.

Map out a marketing plan. Ask friends and family what they think of your records.Do some research on how to distribute your songs to an online radio station. You can even try satellite or XML stations. Instead of starting with major radio stations, start with the of venues you want to perform in. If it’s a club record, you might want to visit your local club/venue, buy the DC a drink, and ask him or her to play your record. These are all viable ideas.

It’s always easier to start small and local, it builds your confidence as an artist, and builds a track record. Have a spin on the radio? Make sure it’s been encoded in BEDS or Immediate.This will enable you to track where your songs are eyeing played. Endeavor to call a station, or visit a town to do a show. These are good Ideas for free promotion. Try performing for free! Ad’s, promoters, and now-a-days floggers, can do wonders for your career, so always make sure you show them love, and do so genuinely and wholeheartedly. 7.

Dedication and Persistence In addition to #1, pay close attention to these words from a label president. “To me the most important thing is dedication and persistence, they must be willing to do anything and everything, and sacrifice their time.They can’t expect to be made stars overnight; champions aren’t made in gyms. Champions are made from something they have deep down inside them a desire, a dream, and a vision. They have to have last minute stamina, they have to be a little faster, they have to have the skill and the will but the will must be stronger than the skill” 8. Cosign – It can be simply “Who Ho know’ An executive assistant states that an artist “needs a lot of the right influence and clout behind them supporting them. ” saw it with my own eyes, Asher Roth, a White boy from Connecticut, trying to be a rapper.

I heard many make fun of his whole ordeal; How can this skinny white boy think he’s going to move units? In all honesty, it was that exact question that drew me to him as an artist). His situation was like the lottery to me. I used to say, “hey, you never know’. Who am I to knock someone? I thought he was very cool, and yes, he had talent. Another factor in why people believed in his project was the fact that he had someone with influence and clout behind him, someone that believed in him enough to bring him to Steve Riffing.Now, Asher worked his ass off, and was discovered on Namespace. That hard work led him to be discovered by his manager.

Asher continued to work hard, but with an influential force behind him, it was that much easier for IM to get that deal. With his new manager, came financial backing, he was able to get his own promotion/publicity team and so forth. Not all of us are lucky enough to find someone that believes in us on the first try, but if you continue to work hard enough to develop a worthy buzz as #1 states, trust me, that person or persons will come. 9.Swagger ‘Talent means nothing if u don’t have something that makes people care that you’re talented at least, as far as music goes” After reading this several times, I couldn’t decipher exactly what the person actually meant, but what I draw from it is that you just be “likeable”, have charisma, and attitude, or something unique about you. I remember an exec I worked closely with stating he was undecided about signing an act, due to the overwhelming roster of artists currently on his label. He wasn’t sure he’d have the $ and staff to support the artist, but he fell in love with the artist’s personality and later on signed the artist.

To this day, I believe it was that person’s charisma that won the executive over. As an artist myself, I’m always being told things think that’s what works for me. People also say that “mysterious” works for me. Like Asher Roth the thing they thought would work against me, might actually be what Norms for me. Just be who you are and mean to be. However I’m sure the average artist reading this doesn’t need me to preach, because if you are trying to make it in this game, there’s no room for tender egos, only room for the strong.Another executive sums it up with, “one needs: personality, talent and star potential” 10.

Wait, TTS not Just Talent? In addition to having a vision, this digital marketing guru states that “an artist in today’s game needs 360 degrees of Talent not Just great music, which is the most important thing obviously, but strong ideas on how to market themselves, and talent for how they should be perceived out there in the public to make them win” Now, Eve provided a wealth of advice on what “insiders” have deemed as valuable Information on what can get an artist a deal, but remember there are always special cases.You’ll never know what rare incidences may occur in the process. The 10 tips above apply to the mass/majority of artists “trying” to make it in the game. Its time for me to go study, so until next time….

Feel free to leave your feedback, and suggestions on other topics you’d like me to explore.

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