Originally Posted by That Guy
Something that one must consider when toying with the idea of signing with a major label is... "Are you ready to possibly have your heart broken?" That is one possibility that I never thought of early in my journey in music, but its one that I will never forget. Alot of lessons and unexpected hiccups happen when talks with labels engage.
FWIW, with the changing dynamic of music distribution, labels are hesitant to sign acts that aren't marketable/profitable.
Until about 10 years ago, labels seemed to sign anyone who had borderline potential. The label hoped for the best, but it also resulted in a lot of signed bands that never went anywhere. Being signed was hardly a guarantee of success. Now, getting signed is more difficult, but it also tends to indicate that the label feels they will make money. So while getting a foot in the door is harder, there are less broken hearts as a result.
That's not to say that if a band can't get signed, they should hang it up. I think that's a good time to do a real internet push... since there's virtually almost nothing to lose. But I think that should come after a genuine attempt to go big, and not as a prelude to it.
This discussion comes up a lot, and the question I always have to ask - and have yet to get an answer - is, who has made it big without the benefit of a label or other corporate/media backing? And when I say big, I mean album sales, touring success, and the ability to promote the music to a wide audience through so many media-machine related avenues? How many artists get to appear on network TV or in print, if a label's publicist doesn't arange it? Seriously, I don't have an answer yet.
Yes, the 'machine' is in need of repair, but it's still in place. For now.
Things are certainly shifting, and there may be a time soon when more people are heard to smaller audiences, but someday, someone will start syndicating and putting together conglomerates of web-based entertainment concerns, and that will become a cyber
-label. Same as now. Perhaps the only difference will be the lack of big office buildings. Or maybe not... even etrade has brick & mortar offices.