Being signed by a record label has many advantages and disadvantages to it, so the debate continues as to whether being signed or being independent is better. Record labels have connections and pull where independent artists may struggle. While independent artists may want to avoid the restrictions imposed by record labels and enjoy making their own music career decisions.
Let’s have a look at some of the advantages of signing with a major record label. Record labels that are well known have a far reach and a brilliant network, thereby making it possible for artists to have a far reaching music distribution around the globe.They also take care of all the distribution logistics. When you have the ability to reach an international fan base, you’ll see how your music is received among fans across the world and you may even consider setting up a tour in a country that you may not have considered before.
When artists become successful in the music industry, they don’t do it alone. In fact they have a well-oiled team who works with them around the clock to help bring them to stardom. As a recording artist you’ll need a lawyer and a music manager for starters. This will look good for you when you’re trying to get signed by a record label, as they already can see how serious you are, and they will work hard to help complete your team with the necessary people.
When you’re working independently, you’re pretty much on your own and this can be quite hard for you financially, because if you struggle to sign gigs, it can be hard to make an income. But, as a signed artist, you’re able to get an advance on your money, in the good faith that the label will make back their money from your future record sales.
Being on a label will grant your brand a certain sort of legitimacy that is hard to attain when you are an independent artist. When you reach out to the music professionals like promoters, and talent buyers, they will press hard on label affiliation, which really works in your favor if you have been signed. There are some people who won’t work with you if you are not affiliated with a label, and you’ll find that their are less opportunities available to you.
It is possible to make a living as an independent artist, but you have to work extra hard and make attainable goals. You’ll need to push the music boundaries, while making sure to always have gigs in the pipeline. Signing yourself with record labels will guarantee you money. Your records will sell internationally leading to multiple successful large-scale international tours and it is in the labels best interest to look after you and your music career.
Major well-known labels have greater amounts of funding at their disposal that they use to fund quality production, distribution, and the recording artist. Their music video shoots end up being a masterpiece because a lot has been invested in them. Working with a label really allows you to push the music boundaries because you have a lot more funding at your disposal.
When you are trying to make music sales, if you’re an independent artist many people might not take you seriously enough. But, if you have a popular record label behind your name, more people will take you seriously because it gives you a significant amount of legitimacy before people get to know you.
There are many positive reasons why you should sign on with a reputable record label, but like most things in life, this too has some disadvantages which we will take a look at. For starters, record labels have many artists that they work with. If you’re one of the artists who hasn’t created really impressive music from the get go, you’ll most probably have to fight quite hard for the labels attention as they will most likely focus more on their more popular artists.
Each record label has its own specific legal requirements that are enforced with each contract. It’s important to be clear on your expectations and theirs, as very often signed artists lose the rights over their own music that they produce. Making sure to understand the terms of a record deal are essential as some only sign on artists for a short term contract, that may not be renewed.
When there is corporate involvement in record labels, the results can be quite disheartening for an artist. The corporates and their shareholders focus on money, money, money, very often forgoing the advancement of the artists career and what is best for them.
Many artists are persuaded to sign with a record label as they will help them financially with an advance which they will pay back from revenues made from their record sales. But be aware that often these deals go bad and even if you don’t make a huge record selling success, you’re still required to make the repayments on the advance you were given.
Record labels have a lot of power, and they essentially become the artists owner once a record label deal is sealed. For some artists this is really helpful as they can put their career in the hands of the record label that they trust, but for others they can feel locked in and as if they don’t have a say over their own musical direction and career. When you sign with a record label they take control over your CD sales and your publishing rights. Also more often than not, these labels expect you to be professional from the get go, they usually don’t have the time or money to help nurture your skills and career.
Today, many artists are picking the independent route because of the autonomy it brings with it. It’s definitely the harder route to choose, but it comes with a lot more independence, allowing artist to have a say in their music and advancement of their musical career.