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Artist Development and the Record Deal --
Is It a Paradox in Todayís World?

By Ken Cavalier

The reality of artist development initiated by major or independent record label deals in the music business environment today can basically be summed up in two words;  Itís nonexistent !


Record labels, both major and independent, want the acts they consider signing delivered to them on a silver platter -- Fully developed.  This means they expect an artist to have a huge fan base, they are constantly on tour, they have at least 4 or 5 hit songs under their belt, they have already created a local and regional buzz, and finally Ė yes indeed, they want to see proof of significant record sales you have made on your own, in some cases a minimum of 5000 units, in a relatively short period of time.   That does not mean CDíS sold at shows or on your own, that means confirmed sales that have been scanned, verified, and recorded with Neilson Soundscan.  If you have released a record and have some sort of physical distribution it is crucial that you sign up with

Making certain that you or your band is adequately developed using some the guidelines I have indicated above will give you a far better chance and is probably the only way you will obtain some sort of record deal.  The record deals today are nothing like they were in the past.  Years ago, if the record label felt that the act had serious potential they would sink tons of money into them to properly development them.  Today getting a recording contract sometimes means even delivering a finished master to a label.  Yup, they basically want it on a silver platter as I stated above. 


In the past management would fight for their artists just in the knowing that they had what it takes.  They would seek big advances, and front money for development.  Not so today.   What you as an artist must do in todayís world is develop yourself or seek the help and guidance of a music artist manager or consultant that can guide you prior to even considering attracting record label attention.

So, if you are looking for a record deal or recording contract that is Artist Development based, you need to face the reality and truth as to what your chances are and where you are as an artist in your level of development.  Consider working hard on the things that record labels will look for.  Focus your attention on developing an attractive story.  Keep the focus on going after a label in the background until everything is firmly in place.  Although the idea of being signed to a label may be glamorous, you must be all that you can be before even approaching them. 

If you have managed to fully develop as an artist on your own, then the time may be right.  If not, take the time, get the assistance you need.  If you have achieved the level of artist development stated early on in this article, you could have the record labels salivating and fighting between themselves to sign you.

©2016   Ken Cavalier   All Rights Reserved Worldwide


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