I hear the term, “Put me on” a lot. This is a ridiculous notion. Just take a moment to think about your favorite major artist. They worked their way in and then worked their way up, and if you really pay attention you would see that they work to stay “on”.
Along each of their journeys, their team grew with a manager, a lawyer etc. But no one just opened the door for them and walked them in the building; they built their brand and business. With growth comes opportunity and with each opportunity to partner the partner is bigger.
We live in a world where everyone wants your time, money, knowledge and relationships and no one wants to pay for anything. Even worse, everyone would like everything to be non-exclusive and no one wants to sign contracts. What kind of business do you think this is, where you can constantly hedge your bets against the people you partner with to grow your brand?
There are such things as good and bad record deals, but frankly, it’s extremely subjective. This is why you need to grow organically. So you can build the appropriate relationships with managers, consultants, lawyers and experienced music industry professionals. Additionally, labels are like venture investors, if you have no business, they have no business to invest in.
In today’s music industry you have to think long-term while watching the short term. Meaning, you need to choose partners today that will help you grow for tomorrow. Most folks that I know offer reasonable termination clauses for their consulting or management contracts. No one wants to be tied to a contract that is not generating results, on either side.
The idea that ‘everyone’ is out to steal from you is absurd. You have nothing to take, you generate no revenue yet, your songs need work, and you require resources and services. You have nothing to take! The music business, just like music itself, is about partnerships and collaboration. The barrier to entry seems impossible mainly because you haven’t figured out the number one golden rule. It starts with GREAT songs and that’s not as easy as you think.