What Record Labels Look For In An Artist And Why
It seems to me that nowadays everyone truly believes they can be a star. I’m not talking about confidence and how your mother taught you to assert yourself to be ‘whatever you want to be’. It’s more on the level of too many nobodies becoming somebody’s for no reason and now everybody wants, if even for 2 seconds, to be the next ‘nobody’ too. The entertainment business has many doors with long lines of customers waiting to see what’s behind them. Let’s not forget about the entertainment they have in the hallway while you’re waiting. There was also the entertainment they provided to get you there. Though all this entertainment is well, entertaining, it was strategically put in place – each with it’s own purpose. That’s where the entertainers come in. If you are a hallway entertainer, they will make sure you stay just that if it suits THEIR needs. Hollywood is a tricky business. We grew up watching artists make mass amounts of money while drinking wine and relaxing on yachts. Little did we know a few years later they would be struggling with debt due to record labels abusing them. It’s hard to imagine how someone can have so much at one point and have nothing while their music is still being bought, played, and cherished. But once you learn about the 360 deals and scam contracts, you realize the true agenda behind record companies is: to stay in control/power. Here’s 7 things record companies look for and why……..
1. Labels hunt for unique voices
Because of talent, right? Wrong. Record companies look for the next new thing so that it is easier to create and control the market. If they find an artist with a unique sound the public responds to, it’s not long that they are capitalizing on new artists with like sound, and products. Creating a ‘trend’ is what today’s music marketing business is about.
2. A Motivated & Dedicated Artist
While it’s all good to be in a studio working and have someone take a beer and pizza run. Or maybe a coffee run or even a weed run. Well get ready to have your own personal runner when signing a record deal. You may even have a few. But let’s not get ahead of ourselves. While you may be a dedicated and motivated artist, which is what they look for, the longer you sit in the studio : the more money you spend. Wait, you did know that all studio time comes out of YOUR pocket, didn’t you. It’s in the contract.
3. A younging who wants to be the next superstar
Impressionable. Too easy. next.
4. Someone to ‘play the part’
Even though a record company picks you up, does not mean they respect your music. Being motivated and putting your heart into multiple tracks can easily turn into a ‘Nah, not what we’re looking for’ from the record company 9 times out of 10. And please don’t think because your talented and have lyrics that it even matters. All that matters is the hook. The label comes up with a chorus, a pre-chorus, and a melody, and then they fill in the blanks with artists like you.
5. A Great Artist / Committee Relationship
Writing your own songs. You all do it. If it’s what got you to the point of a record deal, then it is definitely an asset that should continue. LMAO, just kidding, the committee will now handle all that. You’re more than welcome to come to the meeting while a table of marketing execs try to rhyme “molly world” over a track that had to be produced using a little tykes keyboard. A lot of creative control is lost due to music being a big business. The yes man answer to a higher calling. And sorry to say, it’s name isn’t talent.
6. A Math Genius
Keeping track of numbers, revisions, etc can be mind boggling for an artist. A signed artist that is. Like previously said, you can be in the studio for days with multiple tracks that all get turned down. So imagine having a track you keep that is revision #4… Now imagine same track but revision # 5434. A lot of artists need to be prepared to never have a 2nd single drop. Most artists have more revisions of tracks and raw tracks never released than the number of singles previously sold. Once you start something that record companies can grow from, they grow away from you!
7. A One Hit Wonder
You kind of have to be okay with the idea that you, if you’re super lucky’ will be a one-hit wonder. Even though the money and fame will be temporary, if you’re smart and saved your tracks you can release them yourself for a slight profit. You probably won’t be sipping wine on the yacht, but at least it can cover rent or groceries. Many artists that have signed and then got dropped from record companies go on to self promote themselves and/or sign with local record companies. Some may choose to sign distribution deals only. At the end of the day, not everyone can be that superstar. The record companies won’t allow it. But if you’re more than willing, they have an entertainment position available in the hallway. 😉