Today I want to talk about what it takes to get a record deal today.

Before we do that, though, if you like these videos, if you go right below, and subscribe, you’ll get notified every time I post one of these videos that can help you move along in your music career.

My name is Rick Barker, former manager of Taylor Swift, and host of the Music Industry Blueprint podcast. I have been blessed to have written a book called The $150,000 Music Degree.

And one of the things that I really love is when an artist comes into my office and says, “I’m not ready for a record deal.”

And I don’t want a record deal, because that’s so uncommon. Because we were trained as musicians, you were told that in order to be successful, you needed a record deal.

Today, that’s not necessarily the case, because all the tools are available for you to be your own record company.

But let’s say for this video that you do want a record deal. What is it that a record company is going to look for if they’re going to be attracted to an artist like yourself? What is the first thing that they’re going to look for, and listen to?

Is the music?

Is your music quality?

Is it competitive?

Can it stand up to what’s currently being released?

In the past, it took radio, it took a record company in order to get your music released.

There weren’t as many independent artists out there as there are today.

So they’re going to look to see if your music is competitive, because if they’re going to go compete when you say I’m ready for a record deal, what you’re saying is that you are at a level or at a place that’s competitive with everyone else that’s currently on the radio.

How to Get a Record Deal
A millennial woman emotionally plays the electronic fortepiano (Synthesizer)

99% of the record companies that are out there today are still trying to get radio airplay, so radio airplay means that if you’re a pop artist, you are competing with Drake and Arianna Grande, Taylor Swift, Ed Sheeran, Sean Mendez, you know, just think of all the artists that you currently hear on the radio.

So is your music competitive, and you can not compete with those artists.

So that’s the first thing that I feel that they’re going to be looking for.

The second thing that I think they’re going to look for is, are you a business?

Are you currently in the market place?

Is there a buzz that’s been created?

Are there people you know, putting your songs on the current popular playlist?

Are you touring?

Are people showing up to your shows?

Are you selling merchandise?

Is your business one that’s worth investing in?

I mentioned before, if you haven’t checked out any of my past videos, please go and do so. I talked about Florida and Georgia a lot.

The reason why I am talking about them is that I was with them and experienced this firsthand.

Now they felt that they had music that was competitive.

The problem was was that it didn’t really sound like anything else on country radio at the time.

So, even though they had a big time publisher and a big time manager, all of the labels in town knew who they were, and they wanted to see if this was going to work.

So, instead of waiting for a record deal, in order to be validated, they went ahead and used the services that are readily available to you today as well.

They went ahead and put their music out on the streaming platforms.

They actually got the music from a gentleman by the name of John Marks, who happened to be with Spotify at the time. He was with Sirius XM radio, and he decided to play their song.

They decided to go out and tour on their own.

Eight months later, after every record company in town said no, they sold 100,000 downloads. Then all the record labels came in. They found a business that was working. They found a song that was competitive. They saw that this band was treating themselves like a business, so they were then able to sign the record deal.

I think another thing that labels are looking for right now is the type of people that you have surrounding you.

Are you a set up professional?

Are you getting guidance from the right people?

Because when the record company signs you, they’re also now going to have to work with whoever your manager happens to be.

Is this manager respected?

Is it someone who represents you?

Well, when you sign with a record company, you’re now pretty much an employee.

Your manager is the general manager of your business.

So he’s the person or she’s the person that’s going to have pretty direct contact with the record label.

In the comments below.

I would love you to share your music.

I would love you to let us hear your music.

Let us experience your music because, like I said, step one is music competitive enough myself. Someone from my team will go in and take a listen.

And if it is, we’re going to give you a thumbs up and kind of encourage you to take the next steps.

If it’s not, we’re going to probably recommend that you work on it. It will tell you exactly some of the things that you might want to work on with your music.

But more importantly, it gives you those resources.

And the next thing that I think a record company is going to look at is, are you a good person?

You know, when they go online, and they see what it is that you’re posting?

Are you someone that just thinks you’re it? Do you know that you’ve already graduated?

Are you someone who’s constantly just kind of talking about yourself?

Are you rude to people?

Are you nice to people? They’re gon na want to work with people that are nice. They’re gon na want to work with people that they feel they can trust, because ultimately, a record deal is an investment in you.

So let’s talk about this.

Again, we got to get the music right. We’ve got to make sure that your brand is on point, that you can compete with those other artists that the record company is going to put you in front of. They’re going to want to know who your team is, they’re going to want to know that you’ve had past or current success.

And hey, even if you’ve had some past success, that’s okay, too.

But they want to see that you’re relevant to what’s going on right now.

And they want to make sure that they’re investing in nice people.

They want to make sure that if they’re going to put their money, their resources, their relationships behind you, they’re putting them behind the right person.

Another thing I think you want to ask yourself, too, and this is where you have to be real.

And this is where the people around you have to be real.

Are you the best option that’s out there right now, that is currently not signed to a label?

Think about that.

Are you the best option?

Are you the next big thing?

Are you the next artist that can go and compete at that level?

If you’re not there yet, it’s so important that you take the opportunity right now to get yourself ready because those tools are available as well.

Speaking of tools, speaking of the right team, if you feel like having someone like myself on your team to help guide you, coach, mentor you, open doors when you’re available.

The way that we start with that is right below this video in the description. You’re going to see the Are you ready for a manager assessment? Go take the assessment. Let’s find out where you are right now.

And then we’ll invite you to a free training.

And after that free training, I’ll give you an opportunity to see if we’re the right fit for each other.

So go ahead and do that below.

While you’re below, I want you to click on the thumbs up button.

And I want you to click on the bell so that you can get notified the next time that I put out a video. Every week I put out content to help you better yourself and get you to that next level. Getting to a record company is what you’re looking for.

You’re going to have to work 10 times as hard as someone who’s just trying to put their music out into the marketplace.

But you know what, if there’s a spot on a record label, why shouldn’t it be you? Alright, so get yourself prepared, and I’ll see you in the next video.

How to Get a Record Deal

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