The most common belief these days is that record labels only care about themselves. The internet is awash with stories of artists who were had by record labels. While there is some truth to record labels taking advantage of a hungry artist, they are first and foremost a business. They are not under any obligation to offer the artist any suitable terms. It is up to the artist to educate themselves on what kind of deals there are and fight for the best possible ones. Below are four of the most common type of record deals in the industry.
The 360 Record Deal
This deal is also called the Multi Rights Deal. It has given so many record labels a bad name. In his kind of deal, the label takes full advantage of the artists. That means the label gets a percentage of the money the artist makes using their name. In some cases, even if an artist starts their own clothing line, they owe the label some of the income they get. Most people who sign this kind of deal are usually desperate.
At times, the label may have identified something the artist does not even see in himself or herself. This is the first deal the label will offer most budding artists. One should know that if they are ready to talk about a deal, then they know the artist is worth something. That means one should ask for a better deal. If that is not possible, one should carefully negotiate the kind of income streams the label can touch and the percentage. Labels usually feel they are entitled to this income because they helped build the artist from nothing.
This is a good deal that also has its cons. The artist may be signed up to an indie label or are on their own. In such a deal, the label is responsible for distributing the music. For instance, t is up to the label to ensure that the music is available in stores and on internet sites everywhere. In this kind of deal, the labels do not offer any advances to artists. That means most of the money the artist makes comes from actual sales.
One problem with this kind of deal is accounting for how much the label has sold. In some cases, they make the entire process opaque. As a result, the artist does not even know how much they should be getting. An artist should make sure they make the process of finding out the number of sales is made easy. In addition, each artist is responsible for promoting their music and ensuring that fans buy it.
Major Label Deal
This is one of the best deals an artist can hope to get from the label. In this kind of deal, the label takes liability for everything. That means they are the muscle while the artist only rides the wave. In this deal, the artist is given a lot of money up front.
They can then use this money to make themselves look good. This money will also be important in ensuring the artist promotes their image. However, the label will be responsible for most of the official promotion of the artist. The only downside to this deal is that the label wants their money back ASAP. As soon as the album drops, the label begins to recoup its investment. This means that the artist may get very little in royalties. If sales are not as high as what they first imagined, they must put in a lot of effort to ensure they stay profitable.
The Independent Labe Deal
Independent labels without a lot of money usually offer this deal. In most cases, the advance they offer artists is less than what major labels can afford. However, these labels also offer artists more control over their creativity. It is a great deal for artists who want to release something meaningful to the world. In addition, the royalties the artist gets are higher than a major label deal.
Although there are many kinds of deals out there, these are by far the most common. It is up to the artist to decide what is best for their career. At the end of it all, one needs a sober mind (and probably some tough lawyers) when negotiating a deal. The worst mistake an artist can make is signing something they will ultimately regret.
Your Turn to Sound Off!
What kind of record deal do you feel is the best for brand new unsigned artist?