Labels are attracted to artists who have a buzz. Talent is great, but your buzz is what garners real interest. Having a distinguishing artist brand and demonstrating that your music can sell places you in the strongest possible position. Record labels are huge corporations with hundreds of artists, so your success depends on how clearly you see your own path. Being clear on what you represent prevents you from getting lost in the sauce.
A recording deal is a partnership between the artist and the record label. Carving a market for your music prior to a deal gives you bargaining power. The more popular you are before signing a deal helps negotiate higher points, a bigger advance, and better terms. The record label is likely to present you with a 360 deal. This is where the label takes a percentage across the whole spectrum of your earnings, ie, YouTube, streaming, live events, brand endorsements etc. The key here is to negotiate each area individually as opposed to the same percentage across the board.
Once a deal has been inked it is more important than ever to surround yourself with a capable team who can handle the day to day aspects of your operation. Think about what’s brought you to this point paying close consideration what the record label can provide, and if you need it. The label will have long standing relationships with a network of artists, producers, engineers, stylists, music video directors, radio, television, brands, pr, and marketing professionals. This all comes at a premium so look at what you and your team can effectively deliver to continue building on your success.
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Deb McKoy is the Founder and Consultant at Peppergrain Ltd, London, UK. She began her career as a recording artist, achieving success in the UK national charts before going on to help businesses and individuals maximise their brand.