3 Questions I get asked on How to get a record deal – Be Great!
I often get asked the following questions about getting a record deal:
- “I want to get signed to a record label, how do I do it?”
- “What is a Record Deal”
- “Do I need a Record Deal?”
The answer is not a one size fits all. It depends on what you want to achieve from your music career. Clearly, this is something you really need to start thinking about before you start your journey.
There are three types of emerging musicians:
A musician that just wants to make something they are proud of, and can show their friends and family.
Semi-Pro / Independent
A musician who makes a living from their music and requires services to make it possible
Looking to get signed to a record deal
Somebody who needs to accelerate the quality of their music. Get the statistics they need to get the attention of a record label and sign a record deal.
The truth about record deals
The truth is the days of artist development budgets are over. Giving somebody a shot because they have a ‘great voice’, ‘Potential’ or some ‘je ne sais quoi’ are long over.
Now A&R’s and record label execs make decisions based on hard data.
They want to see you have an organic fan reach. You are generating revenue and have the ability to increase this with their monetary investment and connections.
This means that it is no longer about just securing a record deal. But securing a record deal on favourable terms
This is the music BUSINESS
It is important that you see yourself as a Business.
If you were a business you would not do things haphazardly.
You would hire a graphic designer to create a logo, produce marketing materials like physical flyers and business cards. You would budget to reach new customers, meeting them in person and buying cups of coffee.
Your meetings and coffee are showcases and Open Mic nights. You need to drive the audience to your music by making it as simple as possible to consume. You can then direct them to a key social media account where they find your links. Not cat videos and your latest meal.
Preferably you would even have a simple website containing an EPK and links to your latest releases. Links to streaming platforms and Videos (Do you have a website? We have someone who can help you with that).
Then you need to capture that moment with video footage.
If a tree falls in the forest and nobody is around to hear it does it make a noise?
If you do not capture your journey and use it for content and social proof you are missing a trick. You need to work smart.
You also need to consider the quality of the video footage. If you have, shaky footage with bad audio from your friends’ phone, it is not going to cut it. In fact, it will have a negative impact! You should be looking to hire a videographer with a proven track record.
Spread your achievements
Now you have video and content documenting your live appearances. You can use this across social media. With this content being posted to the world you should be able to get a respectable number of followers and views/streams.
Now it is time to take it to the next level. You should look at hiring a PR consultant. These people or companies may help you with different areas, some of these are as follows:
- Social Media
- Print Media
- Online Media
- Radio Promotion
- Streaming Promotion
- Street teams (On the street promotion)
At this point, because of your, strategy, you are moving from level 1 into level 2.
This is where the real work begins. At this point, you will be able to grow your small business and scale-up. You will look at what strategies are working and amplify them.
Now is the time you will be able to start approaching Record Labels, Publishers and Distributors on more favourable terms.
Again if we should use the business analogy. Never forget that as a musician you are a business.
Now its time for major label records!
In the words of Jay Z “I’m not a businessman, I’m a Business, man!”
You are now ready to talk with Record Labels, Publishers and Distributors. These conversations are to help you bring your product from a niche to the mass market.
Think of it like this. If you had a great drink recipe, you can prove people like it and are willing to buy it. You can raise the funds to produce it to a certain level. You could live well from the sales of this product. That being said, if you want to be in every supermarket, restaurant and anywhere else one might buy a beverage. You may want to partner with CocaCola!
Finally, somebody once told me it can take 10 years to become an overnight success. Music is not a get rich quick scheme. You will need to stay the course, believe in yourself and constantly look to improve.