On the flipside, some of you artists may still want to sign with a major label thinking that’s what’s best for you, which could also be correct. Again, props to Bruce Houghton over at Hypebot:
1. Bank – The bigger record labels may not have as much money as they used to, but they probably have a lot more than you do. Money will not solve all your problems or make you a star, but it can be expensive to tour or to stop touring and concentrate on writing and recording, for example.
2. Distribution – Yes, TuneCore, CD Baby and others can put your music for sale online, but you still need a record label and their distribution arm to get you CD’s into stores, and while the scales are tipping toward digital, a third to a half of all sales still come from physical goods.
3. Team – You can’t do it all yourself; you must build a team. Record labels come with a built in team.
4. Experience – Passion can only take you so far. “Been there, done that” can help avoid a lot of mistakes and focus resources where they are like to do the most good.
5. Relationships – It’s not as bad as it used to be; but who you know – or at least get on the phone – sometimes matters. Labels have history and relationships with the media, producers, managers, agents and others that can help you.
I was speaking with a jazz drummer yesterday and we spoke at length about the industry and where it’s been, and it’s future, and what we concluded was nothing has changed in the last 40 years. Artist still want to be signed, others want to do it themselves, and there’s always a crisis within the record industry.
The real question is, do you want to live and breathe music with the small chance that you will not make any money at all? If money is your only motivation, then there are plenty of jobs out there that need another cog in their wheel. The choice is yours….