Everyone keeps saying how artists don’t need a label these days but I call bullsh*t! We all wish you could do it without a label but even the ‘BIG INDIES’ are engaging label services from the majors. One way or another you really do need a label and frankly, I wouldn’t want to do it ALL without one.
The fact is, they are not the gatekeepers, in the streaming economy the fans are. What they are, are the experts. In the ideal situation, you grow with a handful of partners, a management partner, a label partner, a publishing partner, etc. But even if you don’t ‘need’ a label, you probably want to have a relationship with them. Artists come up in classes, whereas several artists will gain momentum simultaneously. Some of them may be label artists and one day you may want to do something with one of them.
I’m not a label defender by any stretch, I’ve had my fair share of good and bad label experiences, and even though things are definitely changing, the experiences can still go either way. There are always layers of variables as to why a label deal goes bad. And I’m not saying that labels don’t and have not taken advantage of people. But, I really do feel that the responsibility is yours.
It’s your responsibility to make sure that if you are going to sign with a manager they are a professional, to make sure that whatever you sign you absolutely understand your obligations. As a consultant, I am often hired after the fact to sort out a misunderstanding stemming from an already executed contract. Why would you sign it if you did not really understand it!
Always get an unbiased opinion. Find your own entertainment attorney or representation. You may have to pay a few dollars for the consultation but that will just make you pay more attention to what they are telling you.