Independent Vs. Major: Benefits & Which Record Label Contract Is BEST For You – By Oyetunji Ridwan (Gbextra)

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Benefits Of Been Signed Into A Record Record
Which Record Label Contract Is BEST For You

Due to request from our esteemed viewers Nigeria’s fast growing entertainment blog, Gbextra decides to compile an article to enlighten artistes and Today we’ll be talking about “Record Labels”, “Benefits Of Been Signed Into A Record Record” and What Type Of Deal Should You SIGN.

ALSO READ: 10 Ways On How To Build A FANBASE As A Musician by Oyetunji Ridwan (GbExtra)

The music industry has now grown so big where talent, finance and connections pave way for most passionate artiste. And Record Labels (Small or Major) play a huge role in making an artiste successful with finance and connections.

Now there’s a different between a “Movement” and “Record Label“, so as an upcoming artiste you need to know somethings before signing your record deals either with an Independent/Small Record Label or Major Record Labels.

A “Movement” is what i see as a group of individuals (Crew/Same personalties) coming together with mutual aim to support each other by hyping and rebroadcasting their contents. Some movement even go extra miles in organizing shows for themselves and also paying for each other music expenses (Promotion, Production, Artworks etc)

WHAT MAKES A RECORD LABEL ‘INDEPENDENT/SMALL’?

Any music recording label that operates without the funding of the organizations of the major music labels is considered an Independent Label. Independent/Small labels work with other smaller companies, either in long-term partnerships or in smaller contractual relationships for their distribution and publishing needs.

While Major Labels are global and operate their own publishing and distribution companies. Independent record labels play a fundamental role in developing artists, building teams of expertise that are appropriate for that artist, and in building up the next big names in music.

There are lots of benefits to working with a record label. If you’re an artist and are not sure about going with a record label, Here are advantages to working with a record label that you need to check out.

PROMOTIONS AND ARTIST BRANDING:

An artist can’t do everything on their own, but been signed to a Record Label, you get a team of experts working for you with years of experience in promotions, marketing plan, and artist branding. They know the dos and don’ts of building artists, and are able to assist you in growing your audience and in supporting your image.

FINANCES:

As an artiste if you do not have the money to invest for a proper promotional campaign for your single, mixtape, or an album, your promotional work is not going to be very successful. Record labels give the artist the finances they need to be able to promote their contents and to get the the exposure they seek for.

CONNECTIONS:

Record Labels can easily put you in a part to stardom with their connections and reputation, especially when signed to a prominent music label.

As an independent artist you might be limited to brand and organizations who can also invest in you. So for me record labels gives you a better branding and put you out for more endorsement deals.

ALSO READ: EDITORIAL: 5 Ways To Earn From Music As An Independent Artist

THESE ARE THE BENEFITS OF SIGNING WITH AN INDEPENDENT LABEL:

ARTISTS GET THE RIGHTS TO THEIR MUSIC:

This is a HUGE benefit of signing a contract with an independent label. With the recent growth in exposure from independent artists, the possibilities of a hit single being reused for other things such as movie, TV and video game soundtracks are greatly increasing.

By being allowed to keep the rights to the music, artists have the option to do what they would like once the song has been recorded.

THEY SIGN YOU BECAUSE THEY LOVE YOUR MUSIC, BELIEVE IN YOUR MUSIC AND YOUR BRAND:

Generally speaking, Independent music labels are smaller companies who are not pressured by a board of directors to sign a specific sound or promote a specific look just for success on the charts.

Typically when you are sign a contract with an independent label, they trust that your brand will sell, and work to promote you, not the packaged image that they create for you.

CLOSE RELATIONSHIP:

Another one is the close relationship you’ll have with those who sign you. You will get to know the independent label staffs very well. With fewer artists to work with and a more intimate staff, you get more connected with the staffs.

Most independent labels also sign smaller, shorter contracts, so if it doesn’t work out, you can part ways so you’re not stuck with the same company for very long.

PRO-ARTIST CONTRACTS: 

Although some of the bigger indie labels use contracts that are close to those of the major record labels, they are usually less complex. The indie label contracts are known to be more artist-friendly, giving the artist more money for their work through either profit-sharing programs or simply a larger royalty percentage than given by the major labels.

THE DISADVANTAGES OF WORKING WITH AN INDEPENDENT LABEL:

Independent labels are not without their disadvantages and we’ll craft out important things most Independent labels have challenges with.

The following are what to Consider before you decide who you want to sign with.

MONEY:

While money is the top reason to sign with a major label, it definitely tops the list of negatives for independent. Tho some independent labels are sitting pretty financially, most small operations are just trying to stay afloat.

They usually don’t have enough to fund an all-out medias like the major labels, and they often have to get creative with promotion ideas. They also can’t afford big advances, massive promotions with top blogs/medias, large recording budgets, tour support, and other perks a major label has the funds to offer you.

Not only can they not afford large payouts, bonuses or large recording contracts, they also cannot afford large marketing campaigns or promotional tours to help build awareness of your work. This can make it more difficult to build a name for yourself and sell your records.

DISORGANIZED:

Because most independent labels are so small and often short-of-staffs, they can be disorganized. Many of their agreements are done with just a handshake rather than a formal contract, so details can be missed and issues can arise due to misunderstandings.

SIZE:

Finally, the smaller size of independent labels can limit your future opportunities. Because of their smaller budgets and smaller string of artists, independent labels typically don’t have strong relationships with the press/media & Connections, making coverage of your events hard to come by. Also, the smaller the label, the less influence, and power within the music industry.

Signing with an independent label has its upsides and downsides. Before you sign an agreement with any label, make sure you understand what you are agreeing to and what your options are. Who you sign with has huge implications for the future of your career.

THESE ARE THE BENEFITS OF MAJOR MUSIC RECORD LABELS:

EXCESSIVE AMOUNTS OF FUNDING:

Major labels have far greater amounts of funds at their disposal than indie record labels do. This extra money means that the major labels will be able to fund high-quality production, packaging, global physical distribution as well as digital distribution through the major online outlets, world tours, and music video shoots.

NETWORKING AND CONNECTIONS:

This days we know how connection play a bigger role in making it in the entertainment industry, So major labels links you with well influenced personalities that boost your sound massively.

In addition to the deep seeded connections that major labels have made in their many decades of being in business, their even deeper pockets allow them to get their foot in the door to most media outlets.

SIZE AND REPUTATION:

Obviously size can make a significant difference when dealing with the biggest names in music. It may be harder for some of the smaller independent labels to influence.

Most major labels uses their reputation to sell their acts, creating a larger platforms for their artists to have a huge audience.

DISADVANTAGES:
MUST FIGHT FOR ATTENTION:

According to popular belief, major labels do sign many artsts, but much of what is signed quickly gets turned over. If your music doesn’t immediately stick, you may find yourself having a hard time getting any attention from the label.

If this happens, you may find yourself spending more time in a battle for attention than working to further your career. Such we had in bigger labels where they focus more on a particular artist or artists who sound attracts many audience.

ARTIST UNFRIENDLY DEALS:

Being that major label record companies are a business, they will likely do everything they can do profit as greatly as possibly from their investment in you, your music and your brand.

Not only does this mean the possibilities of small royalties, but it means the artist does not get to keep the rights or even the creative control over the music.

CORPORATE:

Again, major label record companies are businesses. Really big ones at that. Major label record companies have shareholders and a board of directors pressuring the staff to make the right moves to make the most money, not display the best music.

One of the hardest things for an artist to comprehend is that although there are people who work within the music industry that love music, there are just as many who don’t, who only see it as the business it is and the product is music. It’s as simple as that. As an artist, your music is just the product that is in style at that point in time.

WHAT TYPE OF DEAL SHOULD YOU SIGN?

After choosing your path to follow and determine the label, either an independent or a major, there are several types of deals that you can sign.

Here’s a breakdown of 4 of the most commonly seen:

1. PRODUCTION DEALS:

Rather than signing to the label, with a Production Deal you would sign on to work with a specific producer who has an agreement to develop artists within a label. Think of this as an artist development deal.

You gain the benefit of working one-on-one with the producer, but you also take a big % cut, as it’s possible with these deals for the producer to take up to 50% of the royalties.

2. DISTRIBUTION DEALS:

This type of deal is simple. You are often expected to create and produce your album from start to finish, and then the label helps you to get the product into stores, giving it massive promotions.

This deal could include getting music videos, albums, and singles onto the label’s own major digital channels. Most often, this deal includes no advance (payment given up front, used for recording purposes, which is paid back by the artist through album sales), and could take up to 25% of the money generated.

3. MAJOR LABEL ‘STANDARD’ RECORD DEAL:

This is the most common type of deal, this is what most musicians think of when getting ‘signed by a major’.

In this deal, the label would be part of the artist development, recording, pressing, distribution, and marketing.

And in most cases, the label would pay the artist an advance. Once the advance is paid off, artists commonly receive a royalty rate of up to 15% of revenue generated.

4. THE 360 DEAL aka (THE FUTURE OF LABEL DEALS):

This is a new(er) type of deal offered by many labels. With a 360 deal, the label gets involved in all (or most) aspects of the artist development, including touring and brand development, in exchange for taking a % of all revenues generated across all channels, not just recorded music.

Advantage: The benefit here is that you have the label’s network and influence to help you generate further revenue opportunities.

Disadvantages: The downside is the label can dictate all aspects of your career and will take a cut of even more of the money you make.



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3 COMMENTS

  1. More love for the article
    I will love to be sign into record label and give great music it ur boy idros gbcs…all d way from jaye in osogbo..pls i need movement in my life

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