Tips on Finding a Record Label
Firstly let me say the easiest thing:
there are too many musicians (and labels)
in comparison to the audience.
The most difficult step is to make
people know that we are here, and once
people know about us, be sure that someone
else wants to take our place…
Have you ever noted that we all remember the great
names of the past but at the present almost
nobody is remebered in the history of music?
The reason is not because today's musicians do not
deserve it, but rather because unfortunately
the market is not the same as of the
fabulous years from '50 to '90
with LP and later with CDs.
More than two generations loving classical
music have died and they have not been
replaced by young people:
the final result is that the buyers of our CDs
are fewer and fewer. Also the public
in the concert halls and in the
theatre is not the same as it was in the past.
Even if classical music has always
had fewer followers if compared to rock-pop-commercial
music, it has always been seen as something
sacral that deserves respect.
Now, also the most important theatres and
concerts halls, as well as the entertainment
performances in festivals, are frequently only
a pastime during hot summer nights or an
occasion for the upper class to attend
a grand gala. This means that people who
assist live performances are not
the same people that buy the CD in the CD shops and,
as stated above, the buyers of physical
CDs are declining.
This has forced many CD shops
to close and this means less opportunities
for the buyers to see your CDs!
After so many bad topics, everybody should ask:
why recording a CD? how do I reach the market?
The first serious consideration is the following:
anybody cna learn the secret of a magic spell,
but there are some suggestions that make the
difference if you want to propose your idea to a label.
- - Beside the undoubtable artistic
value, always think if the repertoire you
have recorded can reach the "borader" public and
not only the specialists of your instrument.
Also, think if the same repertoire has many
other recordings available on the market.
In this case, even if your master is extraordinary,
it’s harder to be published.
Always remember that if you are proposing
something composed by yourself is almost a
miracle finding a label.
- - Mostly, labels receive a ready master
and then they let you know if it is of their interest.
It is normal: it’s like a writer who
wants a publishing house to print his book:
first he finishes the book,
then he submits its
opera to the drafting and only later the
publishing house decides if it is
going ahead with an agreement or not.
In some cases it happens that the labels record
the master through their own sound engineers,
but its harder to get this to happen with the first cooperation.
- - If you have not recorded the album,
but you want to test the water around you,
get in touch with labels at any time
and try to understand if they can be
interested in that repertoire for the future.
- - Despite artists probably knowing
almost the name of the majors, there are many
other serious independent labels.
Search on the internet or go to your favorite
CD shop online and seek out labels which are for sale.
In this way you are pretty sure
that also your disc will be probably sold there.
Almost all labels have their own website:
go through it and try to think if you would
like to record for any of them.
The high quality of the website does not
always reflect the seriousness of the label
but it helps. Have a look on how many albums
it has in its catalogue and for
how many years it has been on the international market.
- - If you see that a label that
has many physical distributors it is a good signal
but remember that the most important countries
are no more than 8-10 max.
- - Digital download and streaming is a
good way to promote and distribute your
music but do not trust in those saying you can
spread your album digitally on your own over the
internet: anybody can give
something for nothing and you need
somebody that follows you in this matter…
remember that everything digital is almost out
of your direct control and you
would be one among hundreds artists anyway.
- - There are graphic and recording
studios that propose artists to record a
CD at a low price…
This is not what it means to be under a catalogue
of a serious Label.
The choice between the these two alternatives
depends on what you want for your recording,
what type of product you expect.
- - Frequently,
labels asks to the artist to buy copies of the CD.
This is not a way to pay
the costs a label has to face upfront,
this is frequently the only way to release an
album because the sales of the traditional
distribution are never so high.
That’s why in some cases labels ask for a contribution.
Be sure that this do not mean that all
the masters are accepted because the
artist buy some copies!
- - By contrast,
do not trust in those who required 3-4-5
thousands of euros to help you in making your
dream come true. It’s too much and
this does not help your album to be better known.
In this case,
it is likely that your
masterwas up against another one with the same weight.
That's why you probably have thought at least once:
"Why has this bad album has been published and mine has not?".
Last but not least… it’s not easy to
find the right label but despite the
crisis there still are some serious ones out there.
Just remember that artists are artists and
labels are labels… every part has its work!
If you are a musician, you are free to propose
your ideas, it is your right to be aware
about any doubts you have, but…
if you give your trust in a label, remember
that the label does the same to you, and be
faithful about its job and its decisions.
Every recording is a point of arrival of
the sensibility of an artist in a precise
moment of their career and life.
If an artist hopes
to gain many money from the publication of his CD,
he is mistaken,
even if they can at least cover the costs of
recordings. Also great conductors
or well known players do not sell hundreds
and hundreds of copies of a single box:
even if you do not find a label,
a recording is a fundamental business card for your
career and it is especially a journey
into yourself with an unique and
extraordinary partner: the music!
These are the most important suggestions I
can give you thanks to my experience in Urania Records.
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