Young bands or DJ’s starting to in music are naturally going to be super hyped if a record label approaches with an offer. The cut throat nature of the industry is such that artists feel obligated to take every opportunity that presents itself, and a record label coming forward with a deal is definitely not something to sneeze at. Why would they have reached out to you if they did not have something concrete in mind to spread your music and get some all-coveted record sales going?
But hold on a minute. It is not always the right decision to go with the first label that approaches. Always keep in mind how important choosing the right record label is in the larger music distribution network. While a label does offer the reach to get your music in independent stores and sold to a larger network of fans online, there are other issues that cannot be overlooked. A label will influence your sound, determine what kind of music marketing team you work with, and even set up a booking agent to help get you gigs. If all these things are not happening to your liking, then you’ve gone with the wrong label. In order to make the most of what the industry offers, here are five of the most important things to assess in a record label:
• Look at The Genre’s – Does the label release music that resonates with you? If half the albums are by fusion jazz groups and you play soul, then it’s probably a good bet. No matter how unique the genre of music is that you play, there is a record label out there perfectly suited to your sound. The more experience a label has in working with bands in your genre, the better the outcomes will be.
• Do They Believe in You? – Labels should be invested in the total success of the band, and key people within the label should show you from day 1 how hyped they are to get working with you. Always discuss a year-long plan with the label before signing on, and take this chance to ask all the important questions (who they distribute with, what PR agency they use, their music marketing budget, how many record sales they make in a year, what kind of future they see for your band, etc.).
• Go Local – Nothing beats signing on with a label from your area. There is a reason why Motown signed local artists and brought people from other parts of the country to Detroit to work with them. Music is rooted to a place, and it’s best to work with people that has clout in your own community.
• Get A Sense for Their Size – Will the label have meaningful industry contacts for you to help with future recording sessions and tours? You want a label that has enough resources to help you out so that doing all the nuts and bolts of charting your career are not left solely up to you.
• A Label with Strong Reputation – If the label has put albums out for bands or DJ’s you admire, and these artists only have good things to say about the label, then by all accounts it makes sense to collaborate.