What to be cautious of when signing with a record label?
You are an upcoming artist with talent (the general rule with the process of defining talent, will be that people, other than your parents, think you have talent). Then, with that talent, you have the desire to make a success of your music career either by being a session musician or being an artist in your own right. The next step will be to determine whether or not you will need a record label?
In the music industry you can be as good as John Lennon or Sam Smith but still be as infamous as George of Lonely Island. Thus, it proves the point what so many people told me some time ago, which goes as follows:
“It is not how good you are but rather who you know that will make you a success.”
So the short answer to the question will be, yes. If you do not have the resources or funds to do what a record label can do, they are necessary. Look, obviously you get lots of challenges when trying to get a record label to sign you, since it is not like facebook where you can just enrol, but rather a scouting process where the label either invite you or approve your submissions. (In a later article I will talk about the pros and cons of record labels) For the sake of the article, let’s presume that Lonely Island George has been blessed with a lifeboat offer.
So George has entered a record deal(record contract) and got two days to decide whether or not he wants to sign with them. The following aspects are elements he must take cognisance of when reading through the contract. It includes:-
• ownership of the artist’s already existing material;
• the agreement duration;
• any restrictions imposed on the artist;
• exclusivity clause;
• cancellation terms and conditions;
• the image that needs to be displayed as an artist; and
• any sort of fine print. (PS. I will discuss this list in depth in following articles)
Any of the abovementioned elements, if not understood properly, can destroy you before you even started out. Do not let the hype of acceptance keep you from protecting your sustainability.