Artist and Label either get along in love and get along or they constantly clash worse than a couple on the verge of divorce. Can there be a professionally rewarding collaboration between artists and labels? Above all, is this collaboration really necessary?
Some artists when they hear the word label make a face of disgust even if they are smelling a basket of rotten durians. For others, even before pronouncing the “l” final of the label, the pupil is immediately transformed into dollars like Uncle Scrooge thinking about phantom millionaire contracts. On the other hand, some labels see the artist as a factory churning out songs that are only useful for expanding their catalog. These conflicting points of view can immediately crack professional relationships and limit the potential for a profitable and long-lasting collaboration. How are things really?
Whether it’s a major label, an independent label or a vanity label, even if it’s considered dirty work, someone had to do it. It is at this point in the story that we independent labels enter the scene and since in the other relevant article we have only used the term “label”, in this one we will only use “label”. Very often we are contacted by a varied number of artists who send us demos, sometimes well done, others are YouTube videos recorded with a Nokia 3310.
Technical details aside, what unites them all is that feeling of desperation linked to their songs that do not even exceed 1000 streams. The point is that if both parties are professionals, they know what they are looking for and what they want, with the right agreements and compromises they can create a successful collaboration. The recording world is full of similar collaborations, and we are not referring only to agreements at the major levels.
HOW TO CHOOSE A LABEL
How do you know if a label is serious or not? You can find useful information in what we wrote here.
DO YOUR PART
For your part, what can you do as an artist to best present yourself to a label? If you have a musical idea, you don’t need to send the “finished” product to the label. Of course, if it is ready it can be evaluated, especially if it is made in high quality. In most cases, even just a demo is enough, as long as it expresses your musical quality, both in terms of voice (if you are a singer) and in terms of originality (if you play an instrument). With the right conditions we can work together to realize the musical project.
Make it feel like you play live. Easier said than done especially in lean periods. But the difference between an artist who excites and a flat one like the A14 motorway towards Bari is what he transmits live. So belly in and chest out and melt the hearts of the maidens (or boys) in the first row.
MANAGE SOCIAL BETTER
One of the first questions a label talent scout asks is: “How are you doing on social media?” This means that if you “believe” a little in social networks and your followers / likes do not reach at least the fourth figure, you will hardly be interesting at the record level. How many followers should you then have? There is no number defined in minimum or maximum. It’s better to have 1,000 followers listening to your music and buying your CD than 100,000 following you just because you have your chest piece or underwear in sight.
You might think it’s superficial to rate yourself with just the number of followers or likes on your profile. The point is, if the acquaintances of your closest circle don’t even listen to your music, ask yourself a few questions. We don’t want to say you’re not good, but you probably still need to work on your performance before introducing yourself to industry professionals. And if the answer to the low number of followers / likes is that you make denunciation music, that you don’t want to be a slave to the powers that be and you don’t need the audience, okay, that’s fine. Free to choose your path, but unfortunately this article is not for you, because if you follow these “ideals” you do not need to search for articles on labels on the net.
CARE THE FAN PAGE
If you already have a fan base and are not at your first music release, avoid continually recording single tracks on a bi-weekly basis. Rather, follow a simple and intelligent publishing logic that has been driving the record market for centuries: the single always heralds the release of an album or at least an EP. Better to plan an album a year than a single a month. Announce on your social media that the upcoming single is from a larger project you’re working on. Create expectation. Generate enthusiasm. Since you are curating social networks you will have no difficulty in engaging your audience in this project. This way you can present yourself to the label with an active fan base and a professional music repertoire that thinks big.
LABELS, REALLY ESSENTIAL?
At this point you might be wondering “but if I already have a music project” ready “, I do live shows and I already have an active fan base, why do I have to donate part of my income to a label?” If you are asking yourself this question we are reaching our goal, to push you to make evaluations with your own head. On the web you can find several stories of artists who have made it without a label behind them.
Be careful though, making it without a label doesn’t mean making it without anyone. To “break through” many had to count on the support of a recording studio, newspapers, TV, radio, interviews. These are expensive things, so they have had to tap into money to invest, either themselves or their family members. In short, they had to do whatever it takes to sponsor their music. Guess what exactly a label does? So, if you can already count on someone to help you grow as an artist, you can probably do without a label. If you think you are doing it all by yourself because you believe that you are more talented or intelligent than anyone who is trying, well the road will be very uphill and whoever takes it will stop before the middle.
- Take care of your image as an artist from the very beginning
- Get advice from those who know more than you in the music field
- Evaluate your circumstances and make your choices trying to immediately understand where you want to go and with whom