- I have a band that you just gotta
hear. We are looking for a record deal, please listen
to us and hook us up!
There seem to be two types of artists. 1) Solo singers
who don't write songs, yet looking to be discovered
and 2) artists, including singer songwriters and bands,
who either want to get signed or want to somehow forge
a career on their own. There is a third sect which is
extremely rare, and that is; singers, songwriters, bands
etc, who are not waiting to be 'discovered', but see
the long term big picture and want to figure out how
they can forge a real career that has longevity, whether
an external machine steps in to help them or not. This
last group will be the small select group of entrepreneurs
that will succeed in today's transitioning music business.
However, a great deal of work needs to be done and it
is not for everyone.
If you are part of a band, you need to position yourself
so when a music business professional steps in, there
is every reason to do so. Ask yourself if a record deal
is the right answer for you? At some point it may be,
but right now ask this:
"What do we honestly have that would make a
record company jump up and down over us?".
There are a million bands looking for a deal. Why should
YOU deserve one? Why are you different? Because it's
YOUR band and you are in it? Because all your friends
say so? Because you don't want to get a proper job?
Not good enough!
They say stars are born, not made. This may be true,
but I don't necessarily agree with this. Traditionally,
record companies have gravitated towards signing 'slam
dunks', those natural born stars. Why? Because they
want to lessen the odds of disaster. After all, they
are spending millions of dollars promoting their artists.
They can't afford to lose.
But what about those smart bands that take things into
their own hands. The Dave Mathews Band springs to mind.
Ani DeFranco comes to mind too. Hootie & The Blowfish.
These people wanted to build their careers whether a
label or machine stepped in or not. When they finally
got to such an 'attractive' place on their own, record
companies were coming out of the woodwork to sign them.
You get one shot. Be ready.
The point is, I'm not here to discover you. You are
going to have to do some serious thinking, research,
and intelligent planning about what your future really
is, in a very real sense. To be discovered is rare,
and frankly, the old model. These days one has to simply
put oneself in a position of strength if one wants to
succeed in the category YOU have chosen. So here is
what I would suggest:
The music business takes notice when it 'smells' money,
so give them something to smell. And by that I mean
1) Be the best most amazing band you can possibly be.
If you think the singer in your band right now is great,
he or she is probably not. Get better! The competition
is fierce and you only get one shot, so don't blow it.
Have patience. Know when you are ready and don't be
begging to get signed. That is NOT a position of strength.
Take some guitar
lessons. Invest in your future and be the best frickin'
singer or guitarist anywhere in your territory. That
is just the start.
2) Learn exactly how the music business works. Buy this
You Need To Know About The Music Business. You HAVE
to understand the business, if you get this business,
people in the business will get you. Trust me.
3) Learn how you can promote yourself. Do everything
you possibly can. That includes online and offline.
4) Stay on top of current pop trends. Know who's hot,
know who's dropped and know exactly where you might
fit into the marketplace.Read Billboard
5) Read every article in the A&R Online article
directory. You are not here to leech off others
who have made it in the music business. Earn the right
to know someone. Now go do it!
6) Good luck!
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