It’s that elusive thing that most artists dream of. The perfect recording deal that will give you a stunning project, propel you to radio, and jump start your music ministry.
But no labels are signing. Even if they did, you aren’t sure you’d want them to own you, or your music, or your money!
You could pay for it yourself, but you don’t have the money to invest in the whole thing. Plus, you’d own it all but music isn’t really bringing in much money unless you tour relentlessly, so the investment doesn’t seem that smart.
So what would a perfect record deal look like? Would you know it if you saw it? Let’s define the aspects here:
A Trusted Brand
Sure you would trust Word or some other large Christian label, but what about a name you’ve never heard of? Some “guy” who says his label is a thing but you can’t find anyone who’s ever heard of it? Or the claims are so outrageous that’s you raise an eyebrow?
If it’s not a large label, it should be a company that you can see their track record, you can hear the work they have done and know that it is outstanding, and you can talk with other people on the label to see what it’s like to be part of the label family.
Well this is always a problem isn’t it? How do you get things started when either you don’t have money, don’t want to spend the money, or don’t know if it’s a good investment to spend the money.
If someone else is paying for it, you may be beholden to them, and have to forgo ownership or rights to the music and how it is handled and used.
There is no real good answer to this unless there is a way you don’t have to pay for it out of your pocket, and yet still have some control and can make money from the sales and master. (Maybe there is…read on.)
Control Over Content
One of the upsides of paying for a project yourself is that you really have complete control. If you aren’t careful you can really make some bad decisions, or ones that are based in your own inexperience. But you still get to make exactly what you want, even if that’s not exactly what the industry or fans want.
On the flipside if you are signed to a label, they may want to control most of the decisions based on what they need to do sales wise or marketing wise. While they will want you to be yourself, they still will lean on their own experience and expertise. And since they are paying a pretty penny for all of the production and marketing, and basically gambling that they will make their money back and/or a profit, they get to do that.
Photos, Design, Duplication
These are things a lot of artists forget about when they hire a producer or some company to help them make music. Unless you work with a company who is experienced at doing all of these things as well as producing a premium product then you may shoot yourself in the foot by putting out something that does not look professional.
Of course record labels are used to these things and count them as part of the project automatically. They know who use that will make the artist look as good as they sound. Experienced labels and some production companies have gone through countless photo shoots, designs, and duplications.
Website and Social Media
Again, these are things that artists don’t necessarily think about when they are thinking about making a record. They want to make music and put it online but they do not think about the world of online marketing that a website and social media provide.
Of course these are things you can kind of do yourself, but you can also look very amateur if you’re not careful. This is where a label or an experienced company comes in again with the team to take care of all this.
Who gets what at the end? Is it important you control the master? Do you get to have 100% of sales? Do you get to sell CDs but whatever you want to?
If you are paying for everything yourself, of course all of this is usually a resounding yes. You own everything and can sell it for 100% profit.
If a label owns the recording, they say how it all works. This is where they make back to their investment.
(Personally, I don’t see how owning the master itself is that important. If you were given a fully produced and manufactured CD with full rights to sell it for whatever you want and all the income from it online, would it matter if you did not own the master? Just something to chew on.)
Radio and Marketing
These are things that artists dream about, but having the right information about how they really work it’s a totally different thing. This is where having a label or company behind you that knows how these things work is important.
So after looking at all these things, is the perfect record deal to do it yourself, or to have a company do it for you? These are all things you have to know and think about to make this decision.
What if there was something in between? A way for you to not have to pay for a project, but not have to give away all the sales and back end? What if you could be involved with a trusted company that could do all the things the label can at a very high level?
Creative Soul Records is looking for a few artists to try out a new unique system called Creative Soul Records Premium. It’s not going to be for everyone, and there will be work for an artist to do. To be honest it may not even be something artists want to do, but we think it is a new way that can help Christian ministries get started and get their music out there.
EC — Eric Copeland is a music producer, songwriter, creative company owner, and is always trying to think of new ways to help Christian artists succeed. For more information on what he does for Christian music artists and songwriters go to http://www.CreativeSoulOnline.com