Saturday, May 24, 2008

Doing Business with a Label?

Question: My question requires a little backstory:

In \'05 I recorded a demo EP on my computer as a hobbyist project during college. Instead of sending it to labels, I posted MP3s online. Within a year my popularity online had grown from a few listens a day to tens of thousands daily as the demos peaked in in \'06. Since then I\'ve been asked to play the lower 48 and the UK (I\'m in Alaska), got a major retail distribution for future material, a small record deal, and met some helpful contacts. All I did without having a flying clue how.

Now \'08, I\'ve spent two years learning all I can about the music industry. I figured if I made an
impression accidentally, then an intentional plan from a business perspective would make for a
successful artist entry in an otherwise boring US rock scene. Now I have a producer and a studio,
we\'re thinking about the best way to do this independently.

Pay-A&R companies are useless, they\'re not metal/hard-rock knowledgeable. There\'s only a few
artist-friendly labels I trust (Earache having the best reputation). Is it possible for an indie
artist to contact a label through a business proposition? We need no help monetarily, but labels have staff that could advise us on PR, production, A&R, and bring to our attention what I\'d miss on my own. For indie artists seeking professional genre specific help, is it possible to propose a business collaboration with a carefully chosen label? If I wanted to contact Earache\'s US branch, who could I talk to for a few minutes to bounce my plans off of? Is contacting a label from a business perspective an unheard of approach?


Answer: I cant quite figure out what you are asking dude..the USA office number is 2128409090 ask for Al Dawson, the label manager, he can help with your enquiry.We are a real label with a real catalog and real staff and real distribution into CD stores - its a given that we have real knowledge of career development in the metal field,touring, merchandising, promotion etc its our daily work - all day, every day.
A fact i have repeated many times in this blog and many new bands have no clue about is that competition to get signed is beyond extreme.we must have 4000 approaches per year, and sign maybe 3-4-5 bands maximum.Its like that for all labels...the odds are stacked against any new band, its often sheer luck and 'right sound, right place, right time' that is the difference between signed and unsigned.Taking 2 years to think about it might not be wise.
I for one have never heard of "Pay-A&R"- i guess thats folks who take your money and promise to offer advice or shop your demo to labels?As a label boss, Ive never been impressed by folks touting bands- we prefer to deal with artists direct, because we have a better understanding of the artist that way, we prefer to work with creative people, not suits.
I *THINK* you are saying that you have already have some success, with thousands of mp3's downloaded, without much effort, so you are planning to try to go at it for real, and simply need advice, and not financial support.My 2 cents worth of advice for any band is 1) write great songs and 2) tour 3) tour 4) tour 5) repeat.


Anonymous said...

Thank you so much. Yes, the pay-A&R people are the folks who basically take naive artists (like myself) and promise film soundtrack deals and all that, and have staff that know squat about hard rock, let alone metal.

I had a chat with Al and he was very helpful, so we're re-recording the demo material for real (with a new guitarist who's worked with Killing Joke in addition to his own projects), and organizing our business plans and goals for the future.

Hopefully you folks will be able to review our what we're doing on our own and give us the guidance and/or advice specific to metal that I haven't been able to find anywhere else.

D said...

yeah i found you anyways
decent industrial stuff...

Anonymous said...

Well ,crap , I didn't want Earache's first impression of me to be what I recorded 2 - 5 years ago. Just keep an open mind and add to your favorites for later? If you're bored months from now you might think "I wonder how those guys have progressed since I heard them last"