A&R / Record Label tips?

Talk about your favorite bands new and old and any other music related topics.

Moderators: guitarguy510, ned

harsh
RM100
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 am
Location: London, UK

A&R / Record Label tips?

Post by harsh » Mon Dec 07, 2009 4:41 am

Guys, in the few months that we've been playing together, we've managed to make quite an impact on the London Metal scene, and have started to make a name in the underground circuit.

We've just been approached by a small record label who want to offer a tour and EP release. This is a bit unexpected, and would like some help from you guys on how to deal with them. What do we look out for? What is a good deal nowadays, when money really doesnt come from record sales? Any do's and dont's? Would you sign up or wait it out for a few more months and see what comes up?

The meeting is coming up in a couple of days, so any help would be much appreciated.
www.myspace.com/karybdisband

Jackson guitars, ESP guitars
Randall RM4+Jaded Faith Ultra XL & XTC, Pete Ultra Lead,Modded Recto,Grail,Clean,Modern.
Mesa Boogie Amps
Rocktron Xpression/G-Major
Behringer FCB1010
Samson Power conditioners

goldsparkletop
RM100
Posts: 144
Joined: Sun Mar 05, 2006 4:24 pm
Location: Virginia

Post by goldsparkletop » Wed Dec 09, 2009 7:38 pm

1. Wear a chastity belt to any meeting with the record company.

2. Whatever you do, do not sign an "intent to sign" contract with the company. Sometimes the A&R guy will push one of these, saying "don't worry, all it does is formalize our intent to sign you to our label." These "intent to sign" agreements are usually worded such that once you sign it, you can no longer sign with anyone else! Now they can give you a ridiculous lowball offer and you have no choice but to take it or NEVER sign with anybody.

3. Before you sign any deal, make sure you understand exactly what it will take for you to get out of it later. How much $$ will it cost you to break the deal? You don't want to be totally married to this rinky dink label if a better deal becomes available in the future. Of course, said rinky dink label will usually want to lock you in just in case you really do grow into something bigger.

4. Really, you and your bandmates should pony up the money and go see an entertainment lawyer, who can surely advise you better than anyone on these boards can.

Good luck.
Randall RM4
VHT 2/50/2
Blackface, Plexi, Recto, 1086, Ultra Lead modules
Rocktron Xpression
www.krunchband.com

harsh
RM100
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 am
Location: London, UK

Post by harsh » Thu Dec 10, 2009 2:51 am

Thats very sound advice, thanks dude.
www.myspace.com/karybdisband

Jackson guitars, ESP guitars
Randall RM4+Jaded Faith Ultra XL & XTC, Pete Ultra Lead,Modded Recto,Grail,Clean,Modern.
Mesa Boogie Amps
Rocktron Xpression/G-Major
Behringer FCB1010
Samson Power conditioners

Dirtdog
RM100
Posts: 115
Joined: Fri May 22, 2009 9:50 am
Location: Santa Fe, NM 87507
Contact:

Post by Dirtdog » Wed Dec 16, 2009 10:14 pm

I'd say that you guys should try to go it yourselves for awhile. Make an album/ep yourself and merch if you haven't already and sell yourselves by doing what your doing at the shows. If the crowd loves the music they just might buy your albums and merch at the show and tell others about you. Start your own label and search for distributors that deal with indies so they can distribute your album. And make sure you don't sell the rights to your songs. This IMHO
Lefty Carvin 747c
Lefty Jackson DKL
Lefty Ibanez 470L with custom quilted maple fretboard and reverse headstock.
Lefty Warwick Corvette 5 string
Eleven Rack
RM-20
www.myspace.com/ditchdevil

harsh
RM100
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 am
Location: London, UK

Post by harsh » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:03 am

Dirtdog wrote:I'd say that you guys should try to go it yourselves for awhile. Make an album/ep yourself and merch if you haven't already and sell yourselves by doing what your doing at the shows. If the crowd loves the music they just might buy your albums and merch at the show and tell others about you. Start your own label and search for distributors that deal with indies so they can distribute your album. And make sure you don't sell the rights to your songs. This IMHO
I have been thinking about this, but most of the guys in my band dont make too much money. So, the idea of getting signed and not have to spend for anything is something they are ready to jump at. I'd really like us to be independent.

BTW, the percentages offered by the label were quite appalling :cry:
www.myspace.com/karybdisband

Jackson guitars, ESP guitars
Randall RM4+Jaded Faith Ultra XL & XTC, Pete Ultra Lead,Modded Recto,Grail,Clean,Modern.
Mesa Boogie Amps
Rocktron Xpression/G-Major
Behringer FCB1010
Samson Power conditioners

GtrGeorge!
Lynch Box
Posts: 1672
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:30 pm

fwiw..

Post by GtrGeorge! » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:15 am

...research this little label. See if they really have the ability to actually help you. And by that i mean: help you accomplish your goals.
You do know your goals,right? Is everyone on the same page,regarding that?
There is no sense getting involved with people who cant actually deliver on a contract they sign.
..ON EITHER SIDE OF THAT EQUATION.

There a few good books on lables, ...go buy them, split the costs by each band member.
This bisinuss of Music, Everything you need to know by Kashif, Confessions of a record producer
those 3 are excellent books.

Do some homework now, and avoid big problems later.
GtrGeorge

harsh
RM100
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 am
Location: London, UK

Post by harsh » Thu Dec 17, 2009 4:18 am

Thanks George! The label is pretty decent (though they are new-ish). I think I will read up, that is good advice.
www.myspace.com/karybdisband

Jackson guitars, ESP guitars
Randall RM4+Jaded Faith Ultra XL & XTC, Pete Ultra Lead,Modded Recto,Grail,Clean,Modern.
Mesa Boogie Amps
Rocktron Xpression/G-Major
Behringer FCB1010
Samson Power conditioners

GtrGeorge!
Lynch Box
Posts: 1672
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:30 pm

all Im sayin is..

Post by GtrGeorge! » Fri Dec 18, 2009 4:25 am

all Im sayin is..
labels can be good or bad. They are just groups of people,like your band, and can help or hurt. Depends on what you want to do.
I am no mega-rich rockstar, but very often my take is this: If you can do it on your own...then do it on your own..you'll have more control...and you'll have less leakege of money.
And also, having the band memebers handle things educates them on the fact that this is work...and they shouldnt loose sight of that.
If you are gonna out-source part of your bizness..inderstand what you outsourcing..what that is..and what your willing to pay to get that done.

harsh
RM100
Posts: 371
Joined: Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 am
Location: London, UK

Post by harsh » Fri Dec 18, 2009 7:56 am

True. I'm becoming more and more inclined to manage it ourselves. The only issue is raising the cash to organise everything. Thats what most labels capitalise on. I wish I had serious cash :cry:
www.myspace.com/karybdisband

Jackson guitars, ESP guitars
Randall RM4+Jaded Faith Ultra XL & XTC, Pete Ultra Lead,Modded Recto,Grail,Clean,Modern.
Mesa Boogie Amps
Rocktron Xpression/G-Major
Behringer FCB1010
Samson Power conditioners

Nigel T.
RM50
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:32 am

Post by Nigel T. » Fri Dec 18, 2009 8:14 am

Also, in this day and age of declining recordsales... Look at other means of sales, in effect downloads, ringtones, merchandise, etc.

What's the promotion? Videoclips? Who pays for what?

The best advice has already been given: Get a specialized entertainment lawyer to check it out. They know far better than us mere mortals whether you are getting a fair deal or get shafted.
RM-4 (Deluxe, Top Boost, Plexi, 1086)

GtrGeorge!
Lynch Box
Posts: 1672
Joined: Wed Aug 22, 2007 8:30 pm

Nigel,..

Post by GtrGeorge! » Fri Dec 18, 2009 10:16 pm

..consider this: would this band know a good deal if they saw one?
Would they know if the attorney was being honest with them?
I think they need to do independent relases until they learn the commerce side of things..and THEN they will be able to understand a good contract versus a bad one, and a good lawyer versus a bad one.
They seem new..no better time to learn the bizness.
But hey, they could hire an attorney and bet on faith.

Nigel T.
RM50
Posts: 73
Joined: Tue Aug 25, 2009 8:32 am

Post by Nigel T. » Mon Dec 21, 2009 4:17 am

Correct, but that is a matter of doing home work. You always run the risk of following the wrong people with the wrong advice; part of getting to know the real world (growing up).

Ask bands you know that have been dealing with this if they know a lawyer. Google lawyers, and google the experiences with them. About the last, take it with a grain of salt as people are more inclined to vent their bad experiences than their good ones.

In short, record deals are a different beast altogether. Go over the contract with a fine toothed comb before you sign.
RM-4 (Deluxe, Top Boost, Plexi, 1086)

speedemon
RM100
Posts: 272
Joined: Thu Jun 24, 2010 1:51 pm

Post by speedemon » Wed Sep 01, 2010 10:41 pm

Well, what did you do?
Good trade w/mattfig, walshinator 666, jdj8282, stratoman, Rod, big brewtus and casey hanson. GtrGeorge, and Squid Music

This forum fires on all 8 (12?) cylinders! Glad I joined up!

ThatGuitarGuy
RM20
Posts: 5
Joined: Sat Jan 29, 2011 3:38 am
Location: La Mirada, CA

Post by ThatGuitarGuy » Sat Jan 29, 2011 1:32 pm

I would really have a lawyer look over the contract. Utilize the fact that they're new and don't have a guarantee of success for you as a means to get a better deal as well.

Play hardball. If they turn you down, keep looking until you get someone that won't screw you over.

alowerdeep
Lynch Box
Posts: 1035
Joined: Wed Jan 26, 2011 10:55 am

Post by alowerdeep » Tue Sep 06, 2011 12:07 am

harsh wrote:
Dirtdog wrote:I'd say that you guys should try to go it yourselves for awhile. Make an album/ep yourself and merch if you haven't already and sell yourselves by doing what your doing at the shows. If the crowd loves the music they just might buy your albums and merch at the show and tell others about you. Start your own label and search for distributors that deal with indies so they can distribute your album. And make sure you don't sell the rights to your songs. This IMHO
I have been thinking about this, but most of the guys in my band dont make too much money. So, the idea of getting signed and not have to spend for anything is something they are ready to jump at. I'd really like us to be independent.

BTW, the percentages offered by the label were quite appalling :cry:

Make no mistake,you will have to pay....they will recoup any money they spend somehow..in orider to minimize that you have to negotiate it and figure out what you want...more money in the front end or more exposure to try and grow?......some of these smaller labels can be great...you get more one on one and if they are into you they can be very passionate about the music and really help things grow,,the label we were on blew,so we bailed....lol.....
Krank Krankenstein Plus w/Krankenstein4x12

RM50H
Salvation Stonerverb,Salvation Deadplate,and Blackface

Post Reply