5 Reasons That You Still Might Want To Sign To A Record Label

Yesterday's guest post 5 Reasons Not To Sign A Record Deal drew some passionate comments both in support of and against the value that record labels bring to artists. In my classes at Berklee I find the same polarized sentiments: either "record labels are evil thieves" or "I want be be a big star and record labels will help me get there."  

image from marcelnunis.com With all of the d.i.y. and direct to fan tools available, why would an artist want to sign with a record label?

1. Bank - The bigger record labels may not have as much money as they used to, but they probably have a lot more than you do. Money will not solve all your problems or make you a star, but it can be expensive to tour or to stop touring and concentrate on writing and recording, for example.
2. Distribution - Yes, TuneCore, CD Baby and others can put your music for sale online, but you still need a record label and their distribution arm to get you CD's into stores, and while the scales are tipping toward digital, a third to a half of all sales still come from physical goods.

  • 3. Team - You can't do it all yourself; you must build a team.  Record labels come with a built in team.

  • 4. Experience - Passion can only take you so far. "Been there, done that" can help avoid a lot of mistakes and focus resources where they are like to do the most good.

  • 5. Relationships - It's not as bad as it used to be; but who you know - or at least get on the phone - sometimes matters. Labels have history and relationships with the media, producers, managers, agents and others that can help you. 

  • Any deal in any industry is about risk vs. reward. What are you getting for what you have to give up?  Who are the people offering it to you  What are your alternatives?

    Should you sign a record deal?  There is no single answer.

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    Reason Not To Sign A Recod Deal

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