how relevant are record labels these days?
Almost every artist wants a record label to find their music dreams…
But do you really need a record label in the current age?
Some say we don't need record labels anymore, some say that indie labels are the way to go, and others say that you should start your label.
You may not need a record label anymore.
Selling physical copies and contractual disputes (Taylor Swift)
This is only a drop in the ocean... Let's discuss these topics in this blog!
Record Labels Take away creative control
Once you sign to a major label, you can kiss your creative independence goodbye.
The goal of a record label is to make money - how you feel about it is irrelevant to these guys!
The music industry is all about profits - your record deal is a contract that you'll make these people money.
Are you still looking at major labels with glittery eyes?
Many albums such as Lil Uzi's Eternal Atake can't get released because the major label doesn't support them.
As a musician, getting signed for your albums just means you're never going to see money for your world-famous hits.
This is the truth: Artists are moving away from record labels because they want to be free to do whatever they want with their musical ideas.
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Record labels own everything of yours!
Jay Z would start his own label to avoid this, but that's a different story altogether!)
They don't need to worry about what major labels think about their music.
90% of the time, record labels take ownership of your recorded music...
So they can put it anywhere - even places you don't want.
Chance The Rapper, Russ and Jay Z are examples of independent artists that operate how they like.
Major record labels use their music for commercial work, but to some artists, this is "selling out" and ruins the appeal.
Depending on your goal, there are times when signing is a good idea.
Once you decide to release music through a record label, they get the final say on the master. They have the power to reject your musical ideas if they don't find them commercially viable enough.
If you're brand new in the music industry, then a record label deal may not be what you're looking for.
A music label is an investment if you want to build your artist's name...
But it's essential to have some buzz as an independent artist first.
Otherwise, you'll go through a lot of trouble to build a business identity.
At the end of the day, record labels don't guarantee fame, but they can help if they have something that works.
Independent artists are on the rise!
The 360 Agreement may be a great solution for labels...
But now that independent artists can do everything the label does, these record label deals ain't that appealing.
There's a myth in the music industry that artists are starving... This simply isn't true. With the rise of streaming services, more artists are making a living from streaming than before.
(Tap here to read the rolling stone article!)
In the traditional record deal, the artists don't get paid until the record labels get their money back.
Essentially, when you sign you're agreeing to be the last one paid...
And you STILL have to pay back the record labels offering advance!
Not only are you last paid, but you'll be in debt for a long time.
So many artists fall for this trap, it's sad.
If you took out a $1 million loan, you wouldn't have gotten your money back until you paid back the loan.
The power of digital music distribution
It's important to remember how powerful digital music distribution is.
Today, it's much cheaper for people to put out their music!
Platforms like Boost Collective have made it possible for new and mid-level music groups to market their music to people all over the world.
There are platforms such as Boost Collective that gives you all the benefits of signed artists without taking anything away!
Streaming platforms like Apple Music and Spotify help make sure that musicians get paid fairly.
More and more musicians and tech-savvy musicians want to make a living in the fast-changing field of cryptos and NFTs.
It's looking good for independent artists across the globe!
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record Labels scam artists out!
Money is a problem in the music business.
Since the beginning of music production, artists have been fighting to get a bigger piece of the pie. As demand has gone up, royalty income has moved away from musicians toward the major label.
Over 90% of artists have made less than $100, and they have thousands of streams to make a living wage.
This is especially frustrating because streaming makes a lot of money that doesn't go to most musicians...
The leading music industry distribution companies charge way too much!
(That said, there is the Free Music Distribution option too!)
Record labels used to be the banks of the music business.
They gave you money and invested in your future in ways that you couldn't.
Since releasing music cost so much in the past, you couldn't have a music career without them.
To make matters worse, some label deals charge an "interest rate" like a bank in the form of "distribution fees."
All around the world, labels have made it so that signed artists grow their internet presence but yield very little from the actual songs.
This is not the future.
The reason most artists choose to remain independent and aren't signing is the deal isn't ever in their favour.
Unless you're a Bruce Springsteen type of musician or have a unique sound/genre...
Either an independent label or selling on iTunes for example is your best bet.
Now, it's become easier to stream music online and cheap studios gave artists more ways to improve their skills.
The shift toward a digital music industry
The RIAA says that in the past CD sales bring in 95% of all money made by the music industry.
Records came out when the music business was doing very well in the 20th century.
People with a lot of money couldn't get their music made because everything that had to do with music cost so much!
Before artists could use social platforms like SoundCloud and GarageBand to promote their music and take control of its distribution and recording...
The best thing they could do for their careers was a sign with an album label.
The beauty of digital distribution
In the past, record labels had to sell vinyl, cassettes, and CDs to pay for making music.
The most common way to listen to music is through streaming, and the royalty for streaming has gone down from $0.05 to $0.08 per stream.
You can also record online or make your music digitally, sell it on Twitter, sell your products, and have your distributors paid automatically.
Most of the smaller labels have subsidiaries that are part of one of the following:
Most of the time, people who want to sign can have a say in how the money is spent, but the label is legally claiming for the money.
But there won't be a centre of attention for everyone.
We all know that artists no longer want contracts.
Major Labels don't guarantee success
Record labels can't keep putting money into artists' careers for long periods.
Ever hear the term "15 minutes of fame?".
A record label splits its budget across many artists, often the drop acts if they see no feedback.
They "invest" on a financial level, but the record label doesn't actually care about the artist.
Record labels also want artists to spend less money.
A perfect case study is Desiigner.
He signed a record deal with Kanye West, but his hip-hop career didn't take off much...
Essentially, the reason this happened is that Kanye's releases took precedence so there's more money in focusing on Ye.
If you think about the business model of Labels, the vast majority of new artist releases lose money.
There's still all the heavy lifting required for the record label to grow talent, so the chances of losing money go up by a lot.
When you factor in how top talent brings in asymmetrical returns in album sales, then it makes sense.
Record deals are a shot in the dark. Unless you're using independent labels, it's nearly impossible for a failed artist to reach global success.
Even if the physical sales earn money, that doesn't mean the artist (you) will yield or that fans will stick around for the next release.
The recording industry makes vast amounts of money, but the musicians who power it don't make squat.
This is exactly why the music industry needs a new direction...
It's not just promoting a release on the internet, record deals as a whole need reform.
Streaming services exist so you may not need a record label anymore for global success.
Just crackdown on streaming royalties, maintain complete control of your work and grind on the internet to make a name for yourself.
These streaming platforms can turn an artist from zero to hero overnight!
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