The internet has been a blessing for music artists in a number of ways, including providing an avenue for selling music directly to fans. And if that’s all you want, you’re pretty much all set. However, if you want to take your music career to the next level, it’s probably time to start looking for a record label, because record labels do so much more than simply distribute music to retailers.
Sign with a Record Label that Understands You
The most important thing you can do is sign with a record company that understands you and your music. Picking the right label may be the most important factor when it comes to having a good experience or a bad one. You want to be spending your time fine-tuning your skills and creating music that’s meaningful to you, not complaining about the treatment you’re receiving. And you want to see your music distributed to an ever-increasing fan base, not tossed aside and forgotten because sales didn’t skyrocket overnight.
If you’ve already got mega millions of fans on YouTube and a decent-sized fan base, the odds of signing a more lucrative contract with either a major or independent record label like Toned Records are greatly increased. Inking a deal that pays for living expenses, and allows you time to develop your talent and enhance your live performance skills, as well as gives you an opportunity to work with experienced song-writers, may be just the ticket for helping boost your career. Depending on where you are in your progression, a record label can help cultivate your talent, giving you a greater chance for success in the music business.
Independent and Major Label Differences
Both major and independent record labels have their positives and negatives. A major label has plenty of money to invest in music artists that they think have a shot to go big. But when they invest hundreds of thousands of dollars in an artist, they want complete control, meaning they say what goes. They’ll mold you into whatever image they think will give them the best chance at making money on their investment. They may also tell you what kind of songs you’ll sing and how you’ll dress, among other things.
An independent label may not have deep pockets, but since they’ll only sign you if they believe in you and your music, this usually means you’ll have more freedom to be you; to write and sing the songs that are important to you. They’ll provide vocal coaching, live performance training, studio time, and many other things in an effort to turn you into a bankable commodity; a star. Working closely with an independent record label’s coaches and staff feels much different than trying to get someone to pay attention to you or answer your questions at a major company.
How Much Money Can You Make As an Artist?
The big thing the majors have over the independents is their ability to deliver your music to the masses, bringing you plenty of exposure in the process. Getting a record deal with a major record label is not an easy thing to do, but if you were to get lucky, and actually manage to sell a lot of records, it certainly doesn’t mean you’ll be rich. Sure, you may get a nice, big advance, but remember, you’ll have to pay it all back from the royalties you make on the sale of your music. And since your royalty percentage will in all likelihood be very small, getting rich is not a lock by any stretch of the imagination.
Independent labels can’t offer everything that Sony, Warner, or other major companies can offer, but they can tap into their distribution services. This can give the independents close-to-equal footing in that arena. However, since your royalty percentage is usually much higher with an independent, it’s possible to make more money on fewer sales. Check out one of our other articles about the differences between major record labels and independent record labels.