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Topic: Do i need a record label..

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  1. #1
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Do i need a record label..

    Hi,
    do i need a record label to sell my music on the internet?? if not, what are thay good for, why do artists need them??

    Thanks
    Musicmad

  2. #2
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    Re: Do i need a record label..

    Quote Originally Posted by musicmad View Post
    Hi,
    if not, what are thay good for, why do artists need them??

    Thanks
    Musicmad
    I don’t know what, if anything, record labels will be good for in the future, but in the past they had several functions, some good and some not too good.

    First, they acted like investment bankers. They would give artists they thought could make it large amounts of money to record their music. Even with technology leveling the playing field, it still costs big bucks to get a top notch producer and great engineers. Depending on who you are competing with, you need the best recording possible. Of course, like investment bankers, they want a return on their investment, the bigger the better.

    In the past they distributed the music. You can’t just walk into the main office of a major record chain and expect them to stock your music. A company that sells hundreds of millions of CDs a year can. Of course, with Internet sales that might be a moot point, but I am sure soon there will be one or two places that sell 90% of all downloadable music (itunes and Amazon?). I’m sure they will filter out everything unless it comes from a major label or a known artist.

    Marketing. How do people know you are out there? Somehow people have to hear your music and want it bad enough to buy it. You could be the greatest musical genius since Mozart and write music with more crowd-pleasing appeal than the Beatles, but if people don’t hear it, they don’t buy it.

    Part two of the above paragraph: a lot of people are musical sheep and will only like something if an authority tells them it is good. When I was in collage I used to “discover” bands 6 months before they became known. Anybody and everybody I’d play the music to hated it. A few months later and it got a huge amount of airplay, being called the greatest thing since sliced bread, everyone would come to me trying to push their latest discovery on me.

    Record companies often act as a filter. There are maybe 200,000,000 musicians in the world all wanting a piece of the pie. A record company filters out what they consider the noise and let people hear only what they consider the best (i.e., the sellable). They sometimes make good choices, but often skip great music – a large music label is not nimble and changes course in much the same way as a battleship. Indie labels are often worse and specialize in a very, very specific sound.

    Record labels perform some good functions, but they are also there to make money, often at the expense of the artist. Lately a few super giant companies have gobbled up most of the smaller ones and the corporate greed, narrow minded attitude seems worse than ever. One their side, 90% of their income comes from something like 5% of their artists – they actually loose money on most they sign up.

    Anyway, I know I didn’t answer your main question, but since so much misinformation is out there about record labels I just wanted to put in my opinion on the matter.
    Trent P. McDonald

  3. #3
    Senior Member Styxx's Avatar
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    Re: Do i need a record label..

    Try CD Baby it has been quite good for many I know selling their CD's in many different formats. I have one on my own and soon to have another. My brother has sold quite a number of copies of his three band CD's all over the world in digital download form or ordered CD.

    If you can burn, do your own art work, print and copywrite your own lable name you stand a good chance of selling. Check them out CDBABY it can't hurt.
    Styxx

  4. #4

    Re: Do i need a record label..

    Styxx, I just visited CD Baby. Looks good. Went over to some CD lists with those MP3 previews. I am very disappointed about the quality of the sound.
    As if people doesn't want to sell their music. Listened to about 10 entries.... most of them, just a torture to my ears. It is a pity that obviously somebody with aspiration and hopes to sell his music thru this medium, is surrounded by this low quality.

    Aren't there more professional sites with higher audio quality to choose from?

    Raymond

  5. #5

    Re: Do i need a record label..

    The DIY Approach, Raymond?

    I'm almost done with the recordings to start selling my own music and I don't like CDBaby, luly, or naything simmilar.

    I will make a few copies of the CD, another few copies of the scores (cause I plan on start selling those as well), and will make a store, or link me to amazon, but I handle everything. Files, quality, etc, are all under my control...

    I do think, however, that CDBaby takes ready made, so anything bad you listen is due to the creators rather than CDBAby. Unless I misunderstood you somehow...

  6. #6

    Re: Do i need a record label..

    I agree with Trentpmcd. The crucial point is the marketing. I know lots of people that are top notch musicians that didn't get the push of the labels and ended up floundering.

    One group I know was getting written up in Rolling Stone for putting on great concerts at the Filmore West (with standing ovations), but at the time they were clearing $50 per month per group member after expenses. Despite having several really good albums out, great concert reviews, etc. they couldn't make it financially. It was all down to a lack of push by their label. That's not an isolated case either. That story (or similar situation) was repeated dozens of times on people I know. Just because you got a recording contract, you didn't get a pot of gold.

    In the old days, you got a contract by one of two methods:

    1) Someone already signed and respected told a label guy to check you out (that's the easy way - the next way is harder).

    2) The label guys would find you, come see you play. But what they were really looking for was potential demand - how big a place were you playing and did you fill it up? There's a big difference between your high school buddies playing a school dance, and someone filling 500-1000 venues each night. You typically have to build up your band into a regional draw for the record companies to pay attention to your money making potential.

    The industry is going through a change right now due to iTunes and Amazon. If you check the fine print on these sites, they tell you how to contact them to "apply" to get your music up there. However, it still comes down to marketing your product.

    With the cost structures setup by the record companies, musicians have typically found that they don't really make money from CD sales (there are exceptions of course). Their main source of income is through live shows. For that reason, I've always thought of CDs as a marketing tool to create a demand for tickets. The idea is to get butts in seats. If you get "high" enough up the food chain, you could sell merchandise too.

    So from a musician's point of view I don't see a problem with handing out CDs for free (what a concept). If you're not making money off it anyway, who cares (other than the label of course ). Make the money off the live shows. Metallica would take exception to what I just said (hence the Napster case). But they are different in that they actually make money off their CD sales).

    Record companies are no longer making the money they used to, so now they're trying to negotiate a piece of the action of live show revenue and merchandising.

    I keep wondering why artists don't go with iTunes and Amazon directly and cut out the labels. Unless you're U2 or someone at that level, you aren't necessarily going to get the push you need anyway. You would still be faced with marketing your product. Radio airplay is the traditional route. In the past, those contacts are what the labels brought to the table (along with the ability to get your CD in the brick and mortar places). Lately, a lot of stations are running programs (Sunday mornings) that feature local artists. So you do have a better shot now days at getting some air time.

    From my point of view, we have seen another big change in the industry as well. Back in the stone age when I was making records, you had to go into a studio that had expensive console boards, out board gear, multi track tape decks, etc. It took a lot of equipment and skill to make a record.

    Now anybody can get their hands on Logic or Pro Tools. The equipment is cheaper than it's ever been (given the quality). You can use Pod instead of miking amps, drum modules instead of 15 tracks to record drums, etc. There are high quality vocal mikes that go for about $1,500-2,500. Or, you can always use an SM57 . The point is, it's never been this easy to record music.

    Today's DAWs are high performance. If you have the skills or know someone who does, you can create pretty good stuff on your own. I think that is also a point similar to one Trentpmcd made as well.

    dave

  7. #7
    Senior Member musicmad's Avatar
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    Re: Do i need a record label..

    Thanks for all your replies everybody...

    Cheers
    Mm

  8. #8

    Re: Do i need a record label..

    Quote Originally Posted by Styxx View Post
    If you can burn, do your own art work, print and copywrite your own lable name you stand a good chance of selling. Check them out CDBABY it can't hurt.
    +1

    and get your barcode.

    Raymond,

    You are right as the songs excerpts are encoded in 32 Kb mono which is killing any quality. "The Play all songs" excerpts are encoded at 128 Kb stereo which is better. Hopefully someday they will understand that 32 Kb mono is like showing a pink Ferrari on a black and white photo.

    nikolas,

    Among all the business online stores I seen on the net, CdBaby is the best one available for composers. They really care for people and they are real musicians having dealt with real life.

    As example while online stores get 35% and more of each sold mp3 Cd CdBaby gets only 9%. Styxx could confirm it.

    A big fan of CdBaby,

    SergeD

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