Indie Know-How

What Really Happens When You Sign A Record Deal?

It can be very difficult for indie musicians to determine the best path to take for long-term growth and success in their music careers. Jon Ostrow wrote a great post (content originally posted on Bandzoogle) at music think tank about what happens when you sign a record deal.

Here are the 3 options you have:

  1. Do it Yourself (DIY)
  2. Independent Record Label
  3. Major Label

As you can imagine there are pros and cons of each option. A few have been listed below.


Pro: 100% Creative Control- You have complete control over the direction of your music and your music marketing.

Con: If you don’t have the financial backing of a label, the money for your music production, distribution, marketing will be your responsibility.

Independent Record Label

Pro: Indie label contracts tend to be more artist-friendly.  In these agreements artists tend to receive more money for their work by generally getting a larger percentage of revenue than given by major labels.

Con: Since the label is typically smaller than a major label, they may have far less reach in the music industry, and this will impact your bottom line.

Major Label

Pro:  Altough budgets aren’t as large as in the past, major labels still have a great deal of money for marketing and production etc.

Con: You sign a major record deal and you should expect that the label will try to hold on to as much money as possible.

This can mean small royalties, artists not keeping the rights or creative control over their music.

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