Jesse Hughes (Eagles Of Death Metal) : Don’t Practice
“Don’t give a fuck what anyone tells you. If you approach playing guitar from a practice perspective it’s gonna look like a chore. So teach yourself to play your favorite song on one string – you have to be able to like what you’re doing. This way you’ll encourage yourself to play more!”
Source: Total Guitar
From the minefield of record labels to the jargon of recording contracts, here’s how to make the right decisions when getting signed.
1 – Take your band into any record store and collect all the CDs by bands in your genre. Make a note of what labels they are signed to and find out the names of the A&R people at those labels. These are the people you’re trying to build a relationship with, so mail your demo straight to them
2 – There are two different types of record label: independent or major. Major labels have the highest proportion of worldwide CD sales (Sony/BMG/UNIVERSAL/EMI/Warner Brothers) and usually have their own distribution channels, while independent labels operate without the funding of the major labels.
3 – A royalty is the fee paid by a record label to a featured artist that coincides with record sales. A standard royalty rate from major label can be anywhere between 12 and 20 per cent.
4 – A standard royalty rate from an indie label is 50 per cent, but you will only receive this once the sales have generated enough money to pay the label owner back the costs for record pressing, press, advertising, etc., this is called ‘recouping’.
5 – Be patient. It can take a long time for a band to build a reputation and a fanbase leading to a major label deal – it took White Zombie, Deftones and Pitchshifter 10 years!
6 – During label interest the A&R people will try to get to know the band personally by coming to gigs, gauging your commitment and repeatedly taking you out for meals and drinks. They will also introduce you to the whole team from the record label, so it’s important to show these people some respect. If you get lucky and sign a deal they’ll be working your record and they’ll probably work that little bit harder if they like you and your band.
7 – Before being signed you may be asked to play a showcase gig. This is basically when a venue is hired just for you to play in. But you will only be playing to a couple of people from a record label and no-one else. Forget the lack of audience and blow them out of their seats!
8 – Contracts cover all the specifics: money, ownership, how long you will be signed for and option periods (the label have the right to drop you if the sales for your debut are low). Go straight to a music lawyer; no record label will accept a signed contract otherwise. The contract will bounce between your lawyer and the label’s lawyer and the label’s lawyer until you reach agreement.
9 – Your label will be heavily involved in the recording process. The initial decision will be to choose a producer within your budget. Your label will want the production and quality of your CD to stand up against your contemporaries, so you may have to argue over who you’ll use and how much you’ll spend.
10 – Make sure the A&R people who signed you become part of the family, because they will fight your corner. How much press, tour support and what tours you do may come down to them. They’re even involved in choosing the order of the tracks on your CD.
BY: Mark Clayden (Pitchshifter) – This is Menace’s founder member and bassist has 17 years experience in the music industry. He has toured 25 countries, released 10 albums and now teaches at the Brighton Institute of Modern Music.
Been There, Done That…Words of wisdom from those who have rocked
DARREN SADDLER (Undergroove Records – www.undergroove.co.uk):
“A band gets signed by grabbing the attention of A&R people through MySpace, well produced demos, managers, gigs and personal recommendations. For me, seeing a band give all it has live is still the most exciting thing and it makes the hairs stand up on the back of my neck. Play every show like it is your last. Research record labels and be sure to ask yourself, ‘Do I think this label would be interested in signing my band?’
Remember a band needs to possess a genuine ‘cool’ factor while being unique. Get press and get the kids talking about your band; this helps to validate you.”
DARREN TOMS (Golf Records – www.golfrecords.co.uk):
“Too many bands are together for a few months and then think they are ready for the studio immediately. Take your time when writing your material, rehearse and focus on your songwriting. Don’t cut corners and don’t try to save money – it won’t work for you in the long run. A well recorded and produced demo shows a professional attitude, which all labels like.
Try hiring a small pres agent to help get your name out there to the masses, letting magazines know that you exist. Think about management a bit further down the road after playing shows and never ask a mate to be your manager.”
SOURCE: Total Guitar