Record Deals from the big boys. Everybody wants one but does every one need one? For some, it would be yes and for others, the answer is no. A lot of bands do not realize the true purpose of a record deal. In the past, record deals served a purpose of supporting the artist in order to get their music recorded and out to the public. Today, that may not be the case. Today's electronic World allows for the Artist to record in their basement at home or to hire a producer to come in and run the project from the Artist's equipment. In the old days, the Record Labels were the only ones who could afford the incredible cost of the recording equipment that was needed to make this happen. Today, an Artist can record, mix, master, and package his / her own CD and then sell it on-line. But is that enough? For a small market Artist, Yes. But if you want to make a huge impact and remain in the listener's ear and mind then you need the Record Labels. They have the distribution and the marketing mechanism in place.
When it comes to marketing, you need to resell, resell, resell, resell …. Better known as Television Ads, Radio Ads, News Print, and On-line Ads! Today's consumer has a very short memory and so it is your job to keep reminding them that "This is your Music" and "I am this Artist" and "I am Here!" Record Labels have huge marketing machines in place that are able to cover the globe. And that is what you as a little artist may be in order to make a huge impact. Record Labels really are not concerned about your live performances unless it means that you are going to be promoting the CD that they are distributing under their label. When you record with the Record Labels they lend you the money and recoup it out of your record sales. You will not see any kind of "Check" until you have sold at least 750,000 units. I am hoping that it is coming to light how "Getting a Record Deal" is not all that Big of a Deal!
Let's face it, nothing is free and the quicker you construct your World to run on that rule the quicker the heart aches with go away. I hear Artist all the time, saying "Why do I have to pay for it?" The simple answer to that is "You are a business and it is business". Harsh reality but true!
So, do you need a record deal? Probably not! If you are a small market band or artist then Sell your products on-line and at your performances. This way you get to keep all the money (minus your production costs). But be smart about it. Invest a little money in getting some one to go around and pedal your CDs & T-shirts. Also take a percentage of the sales from your current CDs and put it aside for your next recording. In other words, plan ahead. If you are not great at marketing then hire some one who is a true marketing professional. Put away your pride and admit that you are a musician not a PR guy.
Make sure you are registered with a Performing Rights Organization (PRO) like BMI or ASCAP or "SOCAN". Their programs protect you and make you money. They can sometimes make an empty audience night into a wonderful thing. Perform your originals rather than covers. By playing Covers you are actually doing free advertising for your competitor. Have you ever seen Walmart advertise for free on behalf of Target? Never! So why should you? Have you ever seen Ford advertise for GMC or Chevy for FREE! NO! So stop advertising for your competition and start Advertising for you and only you!
Most A & R people, Promoters, Talent Agents, and others will tell you straight up that the Artist or Band that show initiative are the one they are more likely to take a chance one as an opening act. The reason for that is because that band is more likely to have all the mechanisms in place to be able to handle a full tour. The biggest reason is Responsibility!
So if you want a "RECORD DEAL" then start planning now for one. Get organized and run your band or Yourself like a business. Put everything in place for the opportunity. Concentrate on Marketing (real marketing), running your performances like a business, and get your books in order. This will get you in line for the Record Deal you so desire or not!