How Many Here Want to Get a Record Deal or to "Get Signed"?

My question to you is, “Why on earth would you want that?”

As someone who spent decades in the old and dying music business, I can attest to the soul-destroying horrors that most artists experience there. Only a tiny percentage of those signed actually make any money and they subsidize the thousands who only end up owing the record company money and selling their souls in the process.

If the record company spends a couple of million dollars recording and promoting you and you only get paid a few percent of record sales royalties, how many records do you think you have to sell before you see a dime? With less and less people buying CDs these days, it’s a lot! And when was the last time you saw a record store?

But the worst thing as far as I am concerned is that so often corporate committees who only care about money decide what you should record, who you should work with, how you should look etc. In other words, you’re forced to violate your integrity as an artist daily. No fun!

How is the music business dying? Well record industry veterans are getting laid off left and right and CD sales continue to drop. And most music industry people are at a loss when it comes to knowing how to use the Internet to properly promote a band.

A friend of mine had 5 number one records in England and made a total of $5,000. When he left his label and promoted his album on the Internet he sold 4,000 copies (which would have made him zero if he’d sold that few with a record label), but he pocketed $60,000 from those 4,000 sales by being his own label.

As Paul Phillips from Puddle of Mudd put it,

“Getting signed? Number one in the charts? *

Forget it.


Welcome to the new digital age where traditional measures of success don’t really apply anymore. The music industry looks a whole lot different to how it looked five years ago yet we are still judging artists by how many records they sell and whether or not they are ‘signed’.

What good are charts and record labels when people are barely even buying records anymore! Charts and labels represent only the record industry, which is a very small (and shrinking) tangent of the music industry.”

Does this mean that all record deals are bad and that you should never look for a record deal?

No, because a good record deal can result in enormous exposure BUT you have to be in a position to make the demands necessary to get that good deal where you get a great percentage of all income related to your brand as well as retain artistic control over what you create.

Approaching a record label with a huge following that you have created yourself via your online activities puts you in a far stronger negotiating position.

The new music business where musicians and bands take control of their own careers and their own income actually opens up very exciting opportunities for musicians everywhere. My upcoming articles are going to go in depth into how to do this. Stay tuned.

Leave a Comment