Monday, March 12, 2012
How NOT to Get a Record Deal
How do I get a Record Deal?
It never ceases to amaze me that folks still think the Record Deal is the only way to become famous in Christian music. Like there are Record Deal stores here in Nashville and you can just come by and ask where they are.
Wannabe Superstar Christian Artist: "Um, can you tell me where I can find the Record Deals?"
Me: "Yes, you'll find them over on Aisle 3, next to the Unicorns. If you get to the Bigfoot and Loch Ness Monster section you've gone too far."
OK, so here's the first clue on how to get a Record Deal: Don't ask for one. That's a sure fire way we can know you don't really deserve one.
You see, the people that DO deserve to be invested in and developed are those folks who have already been out taking their music and ministry to the world. They have been on stage for years already, without waiting for anyone to give them permission, sign them to a contract, or tell them they are awesome and hand them a bowl of green MandMs.
People like Madalyn McHugh, Stephen Bautista, Jeannette Petkau, and Mike Westendorf are artists I'm talking about.
Madalyn McHugh is a recent high school graduate who has gone on to advanced studies...in music! This talented teen has not only released her first national single, album, and videos, but also has opened for Sidewalk Prophets and is in talks with Word Records. You'd never know it in her easy demeanor, but she is a driving force to be reckoned with and is aimed at full-time, worldwide ministry.
Stephen Bautista is at this very moment driving around with SIX kids and a wife in a motor home on the road in ministry. He is doing it folks! Living the dream as we like to say. But he is a terrific songwriter who has left "normal" life behind to lay it all on the line for ministry. And guess what? It's working! But prayers for him and his family are always welcome for a traveling ministry!
Jeannette Petkau just finished her newest album, and this ministry pro is revving up her Canadian ministry in style. With her newest release by Creative Soul Records, she is doing amazingly well on radio, and is growing a legion of online and offline followers. She has been doing ministry for a while, and has had some setbacks, but her commitment to keep going, and quality has paid off.
Mike Westendorf is a weatherman in Wisconsin, but has been building a music ministry for the last ten years. His newest releases have spawned radio play and new touring possibilities. Like the people above, there is just a fire in his belly to get out to the world and minister.
This fire, this refusing to quit even when the crowds aren't there, is what labels and audiences are hungry for. There's no deal these folks have to sign to be out there ministering...God has already given them a Deal. And they are out working for the Kingdom.
So before you email, call, or show up on the doorstep of a record label asking for a Record Deal because you are super talented and love the Lord, consider putting in some real work like these folks. Consider getting to work tonight on your songs, social media, tour dates, and walk with God. If He wants someone to invest in you, it will happen without you having to ask for it.
Or if you stroll over to Aisle 3 and they're all out, there are people out there selling Record Deals. Just email an MP3 and you'll get a shiny Record Deal in the mail to sign. Tell us how that works out for ya.
Eric Copeland is a producer and consultant for Creative Soul in Nashville, TN. His company helps artists find the right path to ministry, gives them production options, and can also provide label-like services such as radio promotion, marketing, and digital distribution. They are currently all out of Record Deals as they are apparently on permanent back order. (For more real world answers and next steps, try http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com)