Re: Getting funded by a record label
Couple of quick points, especially in light of the playing field being leveled (somewhat) between bands and labels by the band's ability to sell their music online. I say 'somewhat' because labels serve some purposes that even the most ambitious band cannot achieve without support, specifically in the area of marketing.
First, an established artist can now get along without a label. Why? Because they're established, and that's at least initially thanks to the label. So although it's cheap and easy enough to press pro-looking CDs, make a website, and use Reverbnation, CDBaby, etc for sales and basic promotion, it's a very passive approach, and should not be considered a substitute for the kind of experience and connections that a label can give to an unknown band.
Also consider that videos cost money, mainstream radio doesn't play just any CD that comes across their desk, and iTunes won't put an independent band's music online on a specified date. These areas (and more) are where labels still shine, and getting involved to any extent means being beholden to them. New bands take the worst beating when it comes to negotiations. And there's no way to selectively involve a label when it suits the band. For new bands, it's all or nothing.
Or is it?
Keep in mind that when people from labels are laid-off, they often start consulting. So, it's not hard to get the benefits of label knowledge, experience, and even connections, for a fee, as needed. No 'back-end' or advances, just pay as you go, as you need.
Now this doesn't include tour support, financing for videos, cost to press CDs, a publicity person who can arrange interviews and TV appearances etc, that money has to come from somewhere.
But for the Christian market, there are specific shows and retail stores for which getting access and placing CDs on the shelf are probably easier than dealing with mainstream outlets.
Unless you have unlimited funds, I don't think it's possible to remain completely debt-free in the process, but it doesn't mean having to sign with a label.
Good luck, it's gonna be tough either way.
Last edited by bermuda; 08-25-2010 at 06:48 PM.