How to get a BETTER Major Label Deal

Les Paul and Django Reinhardt

How to get a BETTER Major Label Deal Category: Music

Since I negotiate contracts, it often comes up how lousy [putting it nicely] the contracts are that are offered to 1st time Artists...

Now, it's a known fact that, if you are a new Artist, unless you have a really, really high "buzz factor" going on regarding you, your initial contract is going to SUCK! So, the trick is for the Artist to make their 1st contract last as short a time as possible, while the record company tries to make the 1st contract last as long as possible. Because, as soon as an Artist become's popular, the Artist is going to want to make more money and have more creative control than the initial contract would offer. And if it's over quickly, the Company is going to get stuck offering them a lot more money and power if they want them to re-up.

But, there is always that sucky 1st contract. You normally can't get around it. The key word is: "Normally". Here are some instances where a Major or Mini Major Record Company [doesn't matter what style of music you do] will give you a better offer, in no particular order:

1. Recording with, or being represented by a Successful Producer and/or Production Company

2. Being represented by a known and respected Manager. Preferably, one who has friends in the business, especially one who has Artists already with the Company you want to approach.

3. Out and out Hit Songs - and preferably in Master form, ready to put out there.

4. You've written hits for other Hit Artists.

5. You're already known in the entertainment industry, such as you've been an actor or model on TV, film, or what not.

6. The enthusiasm of the Company re: the Artist's potential.

7. The financial shape of the Company.

8. The "chemistry" between the negotiators (how they get along).

9. Record Companies previous bad experiences

10. Whether Publishing is involved [and how much].

11. Astrological signs, and such [I'm not kidding]!

12 But the best way??? Where the Record Company comes to YOU! And, all of a sudden you have a bidding war between companies for the right to sign you!

Now, what would make them come to you? Because you've created a gigantic "BUZZ" around you! People [your paying audience] loves you, and you're already selling a lot of records on your own - or with a small label. Everyone is writing about you. You have a large following in person and through your web site. It still doesn't hurt to have a powerful Manager or Producer representing you. And a few of the other's listed above. Just MAKE them want to come to you.
The fact is, most Major labels are extremely paranoid about signing anyone nowadays. Their preference is to have you sell 50,000 with an Indie, so they figure they're not taking a big chance. At that point, most Indie's distributors don't have that international reach that Majors have, so they kind of join hands, or the major makes a settlement with the Indie to take over your contract. Note: You'll find words to that effect - they'll usually use the term "Third Parties" -in an Artist's recording contract with an Indie.

Something to always keep in mind is, no matter WHO you sign with, make the contract as short as possible and make sure you can make money from side things, such as songwriting, merchandising and performing to make up for what you don't get from the Record Company.
Btw, when you run into these situations, I can help you. I know a lot of "tricks" that will help your negotiations, and I can deal with them for you. One key is to have certain OTHER things together before you deal with a label - large or small - for creative and financial benefit.

Professor PoochMusic Biz GuidanceEducation & DirectionComplete Contract Services

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