This article will help you to learn what record labels want from upcoming artiste.
Every day by day on this platform, I realize that nearly all the upcoming artiste reaching out to me, are looking to sign a record deal.
They care less about several measures and ways you are trying to show them, about how they could grow as an indie artiste and make so much money.
Especially now that the internet is offering unlimited opportunities.
However, I must say at this point that, I recommend most of them.
Because of the effort they are putting to make great music and also promote them, whether on or offline.
But they also need to understand that, making great music and promoting it is never enough, if you are eyeing a record deal.
Forget about legends, fairy tales and cooked up stories of how a particular artiste was picked by a record label in the slums.
Simply because he did a freestyle that attracted the label owner, without even being to the studio before.
I always say and will continue to say that ‘man-know-man’ or ‘connections’ is one of the basics, when it comes to joining a record label here in Nigeria.
If you research, you will gain the understanding that an 80% member of a particular record label has at one time or the other had relationships, or is related in one way or another.
Now one of the ways these relationships are established is through recommendations.
That is to say, a relation of so-so and so owner of a record label recommended so-so and so artiste with no other option than to sign the recommended.
Now the remaining 20% of artiste who are signed to a record label, achieved it through consistent years of commitment and hard work.
Let me not fail to add quickly that, every record label never fails to conduct interviews on their potential candidates for a record deal, before signing them.
Therefore, most of the points you will discover in this article will serve as a guide, in case you find yourself sitting in front of record label executives about to sign that record deal you’ve been praying all your life for.
So if signing a record deal is your aim and you belong to the 80% category of artiste who have connections, then this article is not for you.
But if you belong to the 20% category who must make it through consistent commitment and hard work, then below are the 15 points which explains what record labels really want from an artiste.
1. You are at least halfway in your career.
Before any record label will decide to work with you, they have to be certain that you have at least gone a little far, or are half way in your music career.
And the only way of demonstrating this is by releasing and promoting at least various singles, EP’s or even an album.
I stated it in one of my article: the 7 things you must do to sign a record deal; that
‘When you think about a record deal, you should think about a group of business men, with capital, who are desperately in need of a commodity or product to buy and sell in order to make so much profit.
And you must consider yourself, the artiste, as that commodity or product.
Another thing you must know is that, every business men in this world are looking for a commodity or product that is popular demand.
Or simply put, a product people are already buying in the market.
Of course, if you don’t make yourself that product, there is no way they are going to buy you because you will not help them to make their profit.
And the only way you can make yourself a product in the music market is by having songs people are already playing and probably singing along to.
2. Your amount of freedom.
Although being signed to a record label is not a full time job.
There always comes a point in time, an artiste will have to spend days, weeks, or probably months away.
Either in the studio recording songs, or out on tours performing one concert or the other for his record label.
For this reason, record labels are looking for artistes who are ready to pursue any music career opportunity without any hesitation.
This doesn’t mean that you should give up that day job which is sustaining your livelihood and take on music as a full time job.
The point is that, record labels might decline interest in working with you once they recognize that, your job will not give you the chance of concentrating on doing those things that will generate income for them.
For instance, a banker can never be a musician. Of course we all know the nature of their work.
It might interest you to know that lots of female musicians will continue to give up their marriages, because of the limitations or restrictions their husbands might put on their movement.
It is a known fact that a sane husband will never allow his wife to leave the house for days, all in the name of going to perform in a concert when she is supposed to be taking care of the baby.
Imagine then what loss a record company will get, if they sign such a wife to their record label.
So always be mindful of your day job before you think about signing a record deal.
3. Record quality of songs you have made so far
Lots of upcoming artistes make the mistake of recording poor or low quality songs and releasing it to the public.
Some even put out demo’s and conceive the idea that they are trying to let people know how musically fit they are. but permit me to let you know that, no matter how good you are at singing or writing songs, a poor recorded track will turn record labels off from listening to your song in order to discover that talent buried therein.
Record labels do not expect an artiste to demonstrate their singing or song writing talent, all they want is an overall display of an artiste professionalism which can only be evidenced in the quality of songs an artiste put out.
So make sure that you raise a reasonable budget and go a searching for the best studio and producer who will give you the highest possible quality of audio recording.
4. Your personality and mental power
One of the things you will encounter as you climb up the ladder of your musical career is meeting and interacting with so many personalities, and for that reason your own personality really matters.
Record labels are concerned about the way you behave when you come in contact with, especially, those they are looking up to in the society.
Forget the legend that majority of musicians are from the streets and as a result of that they are prone to be rude most of the times. Some of these stories are made up by the record labels themselves in order to help their artiste identify with the street.
No record label will ever sign an artiste who will be causing trouble here and there that will make them keep losing supporters and fans.
Secondly being a successful musician often involves engaging in lots of situations that require brain work. It doesn’t only end in writing, recording and performing songs, but it will require you to do so quickly and accurately in a short while.
Your label might call upon you for an urgent collaboration with a very big foreign artiste, and you have a very limited time to compose your own part of the song. If you are unable to do that then you are no fit for the music business.
What I am trying to tell you here will not happen after you are signed to a record label; it is an integral part of the interview you must undergo during the process of being a potential or proposed candidate for a record deal.
Yes! They will surely test you.
They will give you a topic and a very limited time to compose a song, and your inability to do that will be the reason they will find a way of tactically telling you off, for example collecting your contact details and promising to contact you later, because no record label will ever tell you to your face that you have failed their interview and reveal where or how you’ve done so.
That’s a very big secret am revealing to you.
5. Your musical techniques
Musical techniques do not just end at the ability to compose or sing different notes, record labels are more interested in artiste who are able to create the kind of music that grasps people’s attention; and of course doing that requires techniques.
For instance you need a technique to help you understand that we human beings are so emotional, that is why we are quick to relate with people who are going through the same thing we are going through, the same thing we are going through.
It is certain that we are all going through so many things in our individual lives, sometimes those things are the reason we are happy and sometimes they are the reasons we remain sad.
And the funniest part of it is that we are always on the lookout for the people who are going through the same thing we are going through in order to relate with them.
Relating with them don’t usually mean sharing those joys or pains but the idea of knowing someone else is going through the same thing we are presently going through makes us have a sense of belonging.
It makes us feel human. “After all we are all in this together” we always conclude.
Once record labels discover through your songs that you have the techniques that help you create the kind of music people can relate with, they will stop at nothing to sign you.
However, one very important musical techniques you must develop in order to attract record labels is the ability to hear and interpret notes.
6. Your studio recording skills
Do you know that before any record label signs an artiste, they must put that artiste in a recording studio and access his or her recording skills?
The most important skill they will access is…….