Part III: The Role of Records Labels
continued from Part II….
What is the A and Errrr…?
Artist & Repertoire (A&R) Apart from finding you and/or being ‘assigned’ to you, this helpful third person ‘bridges’ the gap between
you and the label. Hooray!
A&R helps you with the process once signed. The may assist in the consistency of tracks on an album
and or that of the transition from one album to the next. Making sure that if it goes right and not too far
off course, you’re happy, label’s happy, fans are happy and still following!
These guys are the middle ground for you and the label, when you want to talk about things.
They know who to go to within the company. You need to keep them in the loop in order
for things to progress!
Here Have Some Cash…
So you’ve been signed, everyone is on the same manuscript page, but they want you to
spruce up your recording. They give you some money, NICE!
Don’t get too chirpy, you’ll have to pay that $15k back! It’s an ‘Advance’ aka loan,
not a generous offer of love and devotion to your art. Once the album hits the shelf,
online or in-store, and the first official sale hit’s the till, you’ve just started paying the
debt off. When that clears, you’ll get royalties from then on in. If sales aren’t high and
the ‘advance’ isn’t paid, there’s obviously alternative methods to pay the debt, which may
be in the contract you signed.
When it comes to connecting with your fans, it’s not just the music that keeps them
coming back for more. Social networks are a gateway and the perfect ‘free’ opportunity
to let fans in to your life!
Use social networks, like Twitter, to let them know things about you.
Make it funny and be personable!
• “There’s a fly in my beer!” –> Tell them!
• Woke up with a hangover from last night’s gig & look like death warmed up? –> Twitpic photo op!
Setting boundaries with your fans and making it only about ‘the music’ isn’t gonna cut it in this
technological age. Everyone wants to know what everyone is up to, that’s why these ‘networks’
were set up. It’s online gossip. Using it as tool to only let people know when you’re gigging is plain old boring.
Cameo Two: My personal advice…
Don’t Underestimate the Power of ‘Hello’….
You’re still nervous having just finished playing a gig.
Wound up like a top, not sure how it went. You pack up and leave the venue….
Get back in there NOW!!
Don’t leave if you don’t have too!!
Head to the bar and grab a lemon squash if you must. You don’t have to be a socialite, but use the time
to interact with who’s there. Get feedback and ask questions, ‘Hello, you’re cute, sooo… whadya think?‘
Interacting and networking the ‘old fashion’ way is mighty!
Someone may let you know that your music was good, but hard to enjoy because the sound engineer sucked
at his job. It was too loud or too low. You’ll never know if you don’t ask!
Someone may want to grab a copy of your album or you may be talking to someone that can help you on
your journey. Who knows who’s lurking in the corners!
No one at the conference can or could ever give the winning answer. There’s not set rules or successful game
play to work through and cross off as you go. Everything varies from label to label.
MUSIC CHECK LIST
- Figure out which songs are your best and record them. Only your best!
- Get professional recording, mixing, producing (if possible) and mastering done!
- Cover art* – That’s my job! I’ll make you look pro!
- Merchandise* Get tshirts, posters, sign copies of your ep (add an extra charge eg $2)!
- Promotions – Leg and finger work is needed! Paste your posters, pre-sell tix, hit the social networks!
- Play live! Probably one of the most important things of all. 1 live gig = 5 rehearsals!
- Stay at the Gig! Be sociable and say hello!
- You’ve been handed a contract. Get a lawyer to look at it!
- Be honest with the label about what you want. If it doesn’t’ work don’t sign!
- Be respectful with what they offer and have a good relationship!
- Be realistic about what you’re after. —> 1st time artist contracts won’t receive 90% royalties!