Why not to sign up with a major label


24 mai 2007, 8h37m

Now this is a very interesting article on why signing up with a major label is a very bad choice for fledging musicians.

Along with articles like this and this, it actually makes me wonder why people still help the recording industry cartel who's main actions lately seem to be stuff like killing the online radio, lie and sue into submission.


  • wizzar

    good questions; its either self-publishing or a minor label for me anyway... i guess just people who want to be 'big' and others who don't think about it are on majors.

    4 juin 2007, 2h54m
  • zukoss

    My friend went to the Non-commercial music Festival Last year. He was quite surprised of seeing only few good bands, that day he told me: We've sold the world. So I'm not surprised of what i just red, it was just a meter of time, before somebody announce something like this.

    7 juin 2007, 12h43m
  • yonderway

    I like the Magnatune model. When I buy an album from Magnatune, I know that 45-50% of the purchase price (depending on whether I buy through amarok or direct from magnatune) will go straight to the artist. If the artist can build a following without a record label, the magnatune model will potentially net them a lot more money even with a much smaller audience. The big record companies are going to have to evolve or die.

    23 juin 2007, 21h44m
  • neomme

    Quoting Magnatune is interesting as it spots the heart of the question : the difference between art and entertainment. We can probably link this to the major/indie parallel. I guess big money comes from entertainment, not art (talking about popular music, whatever style). You still have to add to this category (entertainment), a sub-category which would be 'heroes' (nearly in the greek mythology sense), like U2 for example, which is not totally entertainment, it does carry a sent of tragedy or impossible goal (like save the world). You'll notice that there hardly ever is a 'comic' star in pop music. THey're usually dark, serious (evne r'n'b dummies), they're a mirror to the burden everybody is carrying along + they're the salvation incarnated. So they will meet huge crowds of thousands because their image is simple. If you come back to Magnatune or art in general, it's a bit more complex isn't it ? If it's art, it means that we're in front of a work made of composition, writing, questionning, rewriting, etc ... Because the artist (vs the entertainer) is trying to put to life a particular vision of the world whic will eventually touch some people but probably not crowds of thousands. Only because his personnal language is made of tiny bits that some people recognize as theirs and other bits are just a foreign language which might sound familiar or plain total extraterrestrial stuff. I was quite a big fan of David Sylvian's work for some time. I think he did manage to mix originality and global reference on the album secrets of the beehive wich is a masterpiece to me. After that, he went on experimenting sounds and stuff to the point I - personnaly - can't even listen for 30 seconds of his new songs before getting nervous. He eventually made up his own record label, producing artists which are just martians to me. So, to get back to the original point, I guess that a 20-year old boy who wants to be famous and rich and makes brilliant entertaining songs (which link to 'art' is close to a grain of sand in Sahara) has to sign to a major company. Even only because he'll never be able to produce and press the 300 000 singles he's about to sell. Whereas Sylvian or any other artist who works on the particularities of his music and his words whould better make up his own company and find the people whose vocabularies show coincidences with his. As for heroes, i guess they're getting old but they're still a fair arty entertainment to watch.

    25 jui. 2007, 14h33m
  • IanAR

    Good topic! I'm a bit late to the party, here, so not making many new points. The way I think about it's, most (semi)professional musicians, in the [i]developed world[/i], are doing it for a lark or to get-laid or other vanity reasons. When vanity's in question, for many, loss of money / freedom is not a problem, just look at the fashion buying public. Fortunately, for majors, most music listeners want rhythmic evocative sounds, not necessarily art. Thus, the majors happily bridge the gap, delivering the [i]attention whores[/i] to the [i]idol seekers[/i] and make a mint out of both - Marvelous! :P Ian

    9 août 2007, 14h50m
  • Tomosaur

    Steve Albino once wrote an article on a similar subject, but he was more focused on the economic / financial side of it. Either way - signing to a major label is not in the artist's personal interests. Not only do you lose control over your own work, but you can end up owing the label more money than you could ever make unless you sold more albums than The Beatles. The whole thing is just stupid - independent labels are the way to go, and even those are generally worse than just doing it yourself. However, one thing which can be said for independent labels is that they generally let you do whatever you like, and there's something to be said for signing to the same label as the bands you like.

    10 août 2007, 12h28m
  • db0

    If it was not for the fact that major festivals and concert organizers don't allow you to play unless you're part of a label, there would not be any reason AT ALL, to sign up with one. As it is now, without a label you're still a Demo band, no matter that your fans might number in the thousands all over the world...Just ask Machinae Surpemacy Internet promotion and word of mouth are stronger than any advert a major label might throw, which they generally won't for a small/new/weird band anyway.

    10 août 2007, 12h46m
  • rogue_selecta

    Hi you should read this : The Problem With Music, by Steve Albini http://www.negativland.com/albini.html

    28 sept. 2007, 10h59m
  • db0

    Dude, that's like the second link I've got on the post...

    28 sept. 2007, 11h46m
  • rogue_selecta

    oops! So please check out this : The Professional Suicide of a Recording Musician By Bob Ostertag, QuestionCopyright.org. Posted April 11, 2007. http://www.alternet.org/story/50416/

    1 oct. 2007, 6h58m
  • db0

    That is actually a very intersting article. Thanks

    1 oct. 2007, 7h39m
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