Major or Indie Record Labels – Who Should You Sign With?

Toned Records - Working Hard to Create Music StarsMajor record labels such as Sony, Universal, Capitol Records, and Warner have hundreds of millions of dollars available to fund the world’s most popular musical talent. When an up-and-coming artist envisions signing with a record label, it’s usually with one of these major companies. However, with the proliferation of online digital music stores and social media platforms, indie record labels have become extremely attractive to emerging music artists.

Due to the many benefits of signing with an independent record label like Toned Records, business for indie companies is booming. The biggest advantage for major labels is that they operate their own global distribution networks and publishing companies. However, indie labels have the ability to tap into that network of distributors and publishers by simply paying a fee.

Benefits to Signing with an Indie Label

Major labels are typically more “business” than “personal,” while the opposite is true of indie labels. Indie music record labels sign artists because they believe in their music and have faith that their brand will sell. They don’t try to re-create an artist into a “packaged image,” but work to promote an artist they already believe in.

With a major label it’s easy to get lost in the crowd, making it necessary to fight for attention. Major music companies sign a huge number of artists, but the turnover is heavy. If an artist’s music doesn’t “hit quick,” the artist often ends up working so hard to get attention they have little time left to create music. Indie music companies typically have a much smaller roster of talent, allowing for the development of close personal relationships and one-on-one training.

Independent Record Companies are Artist Friendly

In most cases, indie record labels tend to be more artist-friendly. The artist may receive a larger percentage of music royalties, retain the rights to their music, and have an easier time contacting a label representative when questions arise. Major labels are known for artist-unfriendly deals. They will do whatever they can to take as much profit as possible, pay out smaller royalties, have you sign away the rights to your music, and give you very little creative control over your music.

Major labels have to answer to their shareholders as well as to their board of directors, who pressure label representatives into make decisions that don’t necessarily result in the best music, but make the company the most money. Indie labels such as Toned Records sign artists they believe in, and work closely with those artists to create a brand that will sell while developing a music product that reflects the artist’s vision.