Everyone starts out the same. It’s rough. Taking whatever shitty gigs they can get, playing on stage to five of their friends, and basically making no money. At first maybe it’s exciting. You’re just getting started, after all. But after months of this it can get frustrating.
So you start thinking, if I only had a label. (Now I have that Wizard of Oz song stuck in my head)
Good news is the music industry is changing, drastically. Not so good news for the record labels, although they don’t want you to know that. How could you make it in the music industry without the infamous record label. Isn’t that the end goal?
It doesn’t have to be. The problem is most musicians don’t understand, or want to understand, business. So when a label comes around and offers you a spot in their circle of trust, with claims to market and back you monetarily, it sounds like a great plan.
It’s not that record labels are bad. It’s just in today’s world they are unnecessary.
And quite possibly, ineffective in some cases. Yes they are going to:
Here’s the issue I have with that. There is no other creative field, or any business for that matter, that so readily signs their soul away than musicians. And it’s because the labels are making tons of money off of you. They’ve done a really good job at making you think you need them.
They rule the industry, at least for now. Don’t get me wrong, some labels are really good people who love music. But there are SO many others that manipulate you by using your need to create music and your want to become a star against you. For them it’s genius, for you, it could go either way.
Stop spending all of your brain power, time and energy on trying to get on a label. Use it, instead, to promote yourself.
For the stuff you don’t know how to do contract it out, hire someone freelance. Find budget friendly, creative ways to get your name out there (flyers are not the only way). Use social media to talk and connect with your fans. There are so many resources out there from flyer design to music mastering that don’t require you to sign a contract or take a percentage of your sales.
Treat your music like it’s a business. Keep working at it every day. Become obsessed with getting better. It’s going to be hard work but when you sell something all of the profit will go to you. Not some label’s President who you’ve never met. How sweet is that?
I'm Jackie, an artist, illustrator, and friend to ghosts, monsters, and aliens. This blog is full of DIY projects, stories, and things I think are cool. Stay weird.