Why you may not want a record deal

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Why you may not want a record deal

Posted on January 21, 2011 with 0 comments

Back when studio time was expensive and distribution and promotion channels were limited, musicians needed labels to record, distribute, and promote their music. This has changed. Yet, some musicians dream of getting signed to a major label. This is no longer good business sense and there are a variety of reasons why:

The money’s not there: As record producer Steve Albini revealed in a well-known essay called “The Problem with music,” musicians in a moderately successful major-label band with a $250,000.00 advance (which is owed back to the label) can make as little as $4,000.00 per year. In the end, most albums never earn their advance – the only money most musicians see.

You give up creative control: Labels wield a great deal of control over your creative work, and worse, they can go through the entire recording process with you before deciding to withdraw their support.

You give up your rights: The label keeps the right to the recording master of your album forever. A quote from Courtney Love said it best: “The band owns none of its work. They can pay the mortgage forever but they’ll never own the house.”

Major labels are in turmoil: They are losing money, cutting costs, laying off employees, and consolidating to stay alive. The business model is broken.

Artist development: Labels are spending less than ever nurturing new musicians and bands. Cody Willard writes, “They just can’t cut costs to boost cash flow forever. There is no fat left on these labels.”

Taking even more revenue streams: Major labels are trying to get at even more of the artist’s revenue streams. While the labels used to be limited to album distribution and ownership of the master recordings, they are now taking a cut of music publishing, merchandise, live shows, and even sponsorship revenue under the guise of providing a one-stop holistic approach – something that a band can handle more profitably for themselves.

Word to the wise: Spend your time and energy building your fan base not trying to please some fat cat behind a desk.

Source: The Indie Band Survival Guide


About chrisfloyd1

Chris Floyd is an American Singer, Songwriter, Multi-instrumentalist, and record producer. He has recorded with: Grammy winning Producer: Scott Mathews (John Hiatt, Rodney Crowell, Chuck Prophet, etc.) Engineer/Producer: Tom Leukens. (Kronos Quartet, Metallica, Sammy Hagar etc.) Engineer/ Producer: Dave Pensado. (The Black Eyed Peas, Elton John, Jamiroquai, etc.) Engineer/Producer/Multi-Instrumentalist: Scott Nuebert (Hal Ketchum, Trace Adkins) His songs have been licensed globally and were featured in the 2008 Beijing Olympic games. Chris Floyd has performed with: Gary Allen (J.J. Cale) Roger Miller (Oak Ridge Boys) Dave Payton ( Mylon Lefevre) Jay Weaver ( Dolly Parton ) Eric Heatherly, Randy Delay (Georgia Satellites) Rob Lumbard (Two Bobs and a Babe) T.J. Erhardt (The Nace Brothers) and Charles Williams. ( Col Bruce Hampton & The Aquarium Rescue Unit) Chris explains, “I grew up in Atlanta, Georgia and back in the day, I bought this bass from Peter Stroud (guitarist for Sheryl Crow and Don Henley) and took his advice. Go west young man! I headed out to the Midwest and got a ton of playing experience.” Released: Floyd Mercy: 'Tiki Town Sessions' 2000 (Producers: Scott Mathews & Chris Floyd a.k.a Floyd Mercy) 2007 Produced Ronny Criss, 'Mercy Mechanics.’ April 2009 Chris Floyd released ‘For the love of the game’ and 'Nashville Co-writes: Songs of Chris Floyd, Ronny Criss, and Rebecca Hosking.' 2010 released 'Gravity & Divinity', 'Sightseeing', and 'It's the Holiday' remaster single. 2011 released: 'Momentary Zen', 'The Comeback Kid', and 'Tiki Town Sessions.' (with bonus tracks) It's all for the love of the game.
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