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How to Get a Record Deal
Posted on July 13, 2010 by admin
10 Tips from Entertainment Insiders on What Gets You Signed! “While working at Universal/SRC, my ex boss used to say, the easiest thing is, getting signed” -Monique Baines 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 “Uuh…my name is blah blah….and uh, I got an artist. You know….he real big out here, and uhm I wanna 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 and/or signed into writing, one day. I’ve 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, ringtone/ring-tune, EP, LP, or multiple album deal. Typically, ‘single’ or digital distribution deals are given to artists that 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. I can only share what I’ve 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 I’ve learned from what industry insiders believe will help get you your deal. Now that I’ve 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&B/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 I’ve learned to further my own musical career.
After polling colleagues, A&Rs, executives, executive assistants, marketing, and promotions representatives, here’s what I’ve 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: I’ve 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. 1. Hard work
When working at the label, my ex boss, Gaby Acevedo 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 real sacrifice. DJ VLAD, 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...
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