Tons of us have the big dream of signing to a Label, we associate them with fandom, fame, money and success, but the reality is quite more different than what people see. This page will explains as max as possible about Labels and how they work.
A Label is a music company with ties to the music industry (Radios, TV, Magazines, Producers…) This days anybody can own a Label, you could have your own one as creating the page and calling it Label already would do, but a real Label is bigger than all of this.
Labels have teams, they have multiple people for each department, Human Resources, PR (Marketing and Promo), Distribution, A&R (Artists and Repertoire), Sound Engineering, Studio recording… Their reach can be huge and their teams work on artists making sure the final product is precisely what they believe will sell.
Imagine having 5 people working on your marketing only, fully developed to your fandom, then other 5 working on your Management, getting your shows, book performances, be in contact with all places out there. Others will be working on your music, writing songs, creating beats, buying from Indie artists etc… This is what a label do, the only purpose you have is:
Go to the studio, perform, look good, don’t mess up.
Now the reality of this is way far from what people believe.
How Labels Work
Labels are extremely complex and multiple times artists are not happy with the things they have to do for their Labels, this starts with the composition of your music. Some labels will probably give you the songs you have to perform, written by others, created by others, even sang first by others and then passed to you. Of course you are not getting 100% of royalties. Let me show you a funny example about how many writers label use for their music.
As an artist I am glad to collaborate with others and learn from everybody but ultimately I want my sound out there. You probably agree, other cases Labels will try to strip you off everything you own, for them we’re just a product to make money. This is the recent case of Taylor Swift. Now she can’t perform her own music and had to create new albums, her fans won’t have the songs they fell in love with because of Label deals for money.
Another massive case of what a Label might do is Kesha’s case, allegedly raped by Dr.Luke and even though in court process being forced to keep working with him with the label know of how much pain she was suffering.
Can a Label make you famous? Yes, but what are the chances?
Only 2% of Artists signed with Labels are no dropped by them after some months.
This is shocking, Labels profile us and search for somebody looking and sounding like whatever they believe is trendy. If you leave, it’s fine, other will be signed hours after and they’ll just give your songs to that person.
Now, can you achieve it without a Label?
Yes, and you have proof on Chance The Rapper, recently a new study has shown that unsigned artists created a revenue of 643.1 Millions in 2018, with this number growing year by year/
You do not need a Label, just keep connecting to artists, companies, radios… and build your own team of people you really trust! If you have people behind you, nothing is impossible!
This week the only needed exercises are you, working on your marketing 24/7 and creating a twitter account, triple check you have new music ready and keep posting on your Instagram and Facebook as next week we will learn how to go viral on Twitter.