The topic today is how to get signed to a major record label.
What’s up guys? Damien is key here.
Welcome back to the channel.
So last week, I made a video which was all about how I got signed and dropped by a major record label when I was 18.
And you can probably see that around here, if you haven’t seen it, or possibly, maybe it’s here, or if not, it’s in the description below.
So you can go and check that out.
But there were a lot of comments and a lot of people saying things like, I would never sign with a major label, which is cool.
I totally admire your balls for being able to say no, because I can promise you that when a major label comes knocking at your door, it is quite difficult to say no, to the money, to the experience, and to the opportunities.
So if you can say no to that, then fantastic.
But there are lots and lots of questions and comments mostly about how that actually happened. They didn’t go into detail about how you made that happen, how it got signed.
So I just thought, that’s fair enough.
So I’m going to do a video on how you can get signed to a major label should you want to. If you want to, you don’t have to. It’s just one of those things.
But if you do want to get signed, these are the things that you would have to do if you wanted to get signed to a major label, or the title I’m going to go with, which is how to get signed to a major record label.
So when it came to me getting signed, I do feel like I was a little bit of a passenger and I was quite lucky. I was a bass player in a band that happened to be doing quite well. I wasn’t the driving force.
And I didn’t really learn whilst I was doing it.
However, over the last 20 years, I have seen so many artists and bands that have been signed to labels of all different sizes.
And there are some traits that really go through when that process happens.
So what we need to do is look at what these artists and bands have in common when those bands have been signed to a major and then what you can do to implement that into your band.
And also, one more thing, which is, even if you don’t want to get signed to a major label, most of the stuff in this video is just generally good practice. These are good things that you should probably be doing anyway, whether you want to get signed, or whether you don’t, because, after all, it is up to you.
You don’t have to if you don’t want to.
Okay, and now on with the classic top 10 list.
Number one is, this is now a life choice.
This is not let’s see what happens or we’ll put some music out and hope for the best.
This is you saying this is what I want to happen.
So now it is a life choice.
The music industry, when you get to this level, is a business.
Therefore, you need to set yourself up like a business. Doing a little bit of music every now and again is absolutely not going to cut it.
The bands who get signs and majors are the ones who are aiming for that. They are saying we are going to write all of the songs, we’re going to rehearse all of the time, we are going to be hardcore and prevalent on social media, we are going to hustle, hustle, hustle. It becomes a business. It’s not a few hours in the evening, it’s pretty much nine till five or if not nine till nine.
And even if you are working full time, it’s all of the other time effectively.
If you see what happens, nothing happens.
You have to make this happen.
Let’s think about if this was actually a business.
So let’s say you weren’t a musician. You were an ice cream seller. You sold the best ice cream in town.
But there’s so much more to this. You still got to have the branding, the marketing, the advertising, you’ve got to get people aware of it, you’ve got to do all of the other stuff outside of just making great ice cream.
So, therefore, that’s the bit that we need to put into your music career.
No, not making great ice cream, but all of the rest of us have to take this seriously.
Number two songs. Major labels invest money in hits. It is as simple as that they need that return on investment.
So, therefore, you have to write songs. Obviously, you need to write songs for your single, for your EP, or for your album.
But long gone are the days where you write a song and you put it out. Now you are going to have to write hundreds of songs.
It’s not just a case of let’s scrape together our songs to make an album.
It’s a case of another one and another one and another one. Your job is now all about music.
So, therefore, you have to practice, you have to experiment.
You have to co-write, you have to rewrite anything you can do to say I need to make a better song.
And if you are there right now saying I’ve got all of the songs, I am now sorted.
You’re there for most people.
They have songs that they say are such killer songs.
Then if you say are you going to put All of them are singles.
Most people say, maybe not as a single, as a really good album track.
So you need to be writing and writing and writing, but you certainly need a couple of hits.
Because otherwise, those major labels won’t be interested.
Tip number three: get your shit together now because when you get signed and the music comes out, there is no more music for you.
Because at that point, you’ll be going into promo, you’ll be going into marketing, and that stuff takes a lot of time.
And that’s what happens. You set yourself up.
And if you’re signing with a major label, they’re going to want a lot of promotion to get that return on investment.
So an example of this is when we set up BIM. I wanted to be a music teacher.
That’s why I loved it. I love teaching music and helping musicians.
But, of course, as it grew, I found myself in meetings with accountants and marketing meetings.
And I hate that stuff.
It wasn’t what I wanted to do.
But that is what happens when you’ve got that return on investment.
So the takeaway from this is, you need to learn about promotion, you need to learn about marketing, you need to learn about advertising now, because when this happens, you will be involved in it. You can’t just pass it across, because if you do, you’ll probably find something will go wrong, or you’ll be completely ripped off.
Tip number four, who is the leader? Now music labels will sign good music, but they want it to be attached to someone who stands for something, who is a leader, not just a leader of that music and that band, but a leader of people.
And that is why they stand for something. Bringing in a label means you are bringing in financial support, you are bringing in experience, but you’re not bringing in leadership when it comes to that music and that product that needs to be you.
In fact, it has to be you.
And a label is not going to be assigned to someone who isn’t a leader.
This is your army and your fight.
So the takeaway for this one is, what would you do if you got signed to a major label?
If you got signed?
And you’re at 100, grand or 200,000?
Who are you going to work with? What producers are you going to work with?
What studios do you want to go into?
And why all of these questions? You need to know this because otherwise you’re going to be in the same mentality and you’re getting some investment.
So you can fast track this. You can work with the best people. You need to know who are the best people in your genre.
Tip number five: touring and gigging still work.
Now, music doesn’t sell physically anymore.
So there has to be a return on investment.
And that comes down to things like possible sync deals, merging and, of course, live show tickets.
That’s where a big bulk of money is right now.
And labels will not want to lose that income.
In fact, they’ll be very wary of you if they are going into a deal where they don’t get that income.
And if they don’t, you need to basically make sure that you’re making up somewhere else.
Touring and gigging is not just where you’re going to make money, but it’s where you’re going to make a statement.
So the takeaway from this is that you are now not just gigging so that you can build an audience, you are gigging to practice to get better, so that every time you’re doing a show, when you’re put on to the next level, you are keeping people entertained, you’re making sure people come back to your shows time and time again. This is just as much about improvement as it is about entertainment.
Tip number six: make yourself remarkable.
Think about your art.
Think about what you look like at the moment. Do you stand out?
Are you unique?
There are many reasons for this.
But if you are not remarkable, it is very hard to take control of something and build it if you just do what is normal every day.
And that’s your selling point.
It’s very, very difficult to sell.
You are the leader of a movement. Your demographic has bought into you for a certain reason. You have to stand up and say, This is who I am.
This is who I stand for. This is what I do.
And people have to say, Yes, I am with you. I get that I agree with you. I want to fit in with that tribe.
So, in that case, you have to be remarkable, you have to make content that is remarkable.
And that is remarkable. It just needs to be a bit edgy. It needs to be something that hasn’t been done before and is a bit unique.
The other thing about being remarkable is if you look and are generally a bit unique and remarkable.
Your content and your social media is so much easier if you think about someone like Marilyn Manson, and then you think about someone like me, who’s gon na have the best social media when it comes to the general day to-day. It’s probably Marilyn Manson, isn’t it? He looks like an absolute loony.
So he can do pretty much anything he wants, and it’s gon na look pretty decent.
I couldn’t really think about what it is that I was doing because I look like a normal everyday daymo. Number seven is engagement and I’m gon na say numbers because I think it’s a different game.
But record labels are going to invest in you because they want to inflate it, they want to take something and they want to put steroids into it. They want to maximize it. They are going to know whether this will work because they are going to be in the engagement, they’re going to be in your comments, they’re going to see what is working and what is not.
So all very well having lots of numbers attached to your Instagram, but who cares?
Who actually enjoys this?
What is actually going on?
Those are the numbers that really matter.
And they really matter.
Tip number eight: What is your story?
Or more importantly, what do you stand for?
If a major label is going to invest in you, it helps to have a story because that makes you more marketable.
So put it another way, who do you represent when it comes to your demographic?
Who are the people in your tribe going to put their hand up and say, “That is what I’m looking for?”
I am following you for the music, as well as for what you stand for. You represent me. That comes to your story.
So what is it when it comes to your market? There’s this idea that having niche music, or being in a niche band, will never get you signed to a major label, which is not strictly true.
In fact, it’s complete rubbish. What gets you signed to a major label is when they can see that this is going to work. There is a return on investment. I put in this money, I get this back. Obviously, with a niche band or niche music, it makes it a bigger gamble.
But that doesn’t mean it hasn’t happened.
It’s happened many, many times for major labels to sign very heavy bands. They just need to see that proof first.
Number nine, creating a buzz. I would say this is probably the most important thing in the lead up to getting inside.
I know it absolutely was.
For me, when we got signed, we just had a buzzer bias.
And we were thinking this was very exciting.
And by creating a buzz, what I mean is that everyone starts to talk about you.
Now there are a few ways that you can do this.
But I have a few ideas for you to really drive home this exclusivity.
And that’s what this is about.
If you can make something feel more exclusive, then what happens is people feel like they have to work for it.
They feel like they’re accepted, and they’re in the club.
And that drives this forward.
So a couple of ideas on how you can build that buzz and build that exclusivity is when you’re playing a gig, play a venue which is too small for the number of people that you know that you can get in there.
I know that’s a crazy idea.
But let’s just say you can get 50-6070 people down to that venue. We’ll hire a venue that only holds 25 or 30.
So that way, you sell out, because that’s what this is about.
People are outside trying to get in.
I’ve seen that so many times. The people who are outside will spread that word faster than the people who are inside. They are pissed off because they can’t get in.
They’re not in the know, they’re not in the crowd, they’re not seeing the thing that these people are witnessing, and they will go away pissed off.
But you better believe the next time you have twice as many people creating exclusivity, you are creating FOMO. You missed out man. That’s your problem.
You’re the dumb shit who missed out. You better believe they will not miss out again.
And neither will the people they know.
I am number 10.
And lastly, but certainly not leastly, if no, that’s not a word, it’s not about having a reason to get signed. That is the biggest mistake in getting signed to a major label.
It is about having no reason whatsoever why you wouldn’t get signed.
So if your bass player doesn’t quite fit in, there’s a reason why you wouldn’t get signed. If you can’t put out songs as much as you want, probably after waiting for a couple of months.
So the reason why you wouldn’t get signed, is if he is just not very good at this social media thing.
It’s a reason why you won’t get signed. You have to go through every single detail.
And anything which will stop you from getting signed will stop you from getting signed. You have to look at the massive bands around the world and say there’s no reason why this is a band that is going to make it with or without a major label.
And anytime that’s the case, a major label will say if they’re going to make it with or without us, it should probably be with us.
So those are a bunch of ideas if you want to set yourself up to get signed to a major label.
But more importantly, this shouldn’t be about signing with major labels.
And before everyone goes in the comments saying you don’t want to sign with a major label, we’re fine.
I don’t care about that.
What I care about is good practice, and everything on this list is about good practice.
Because this means you’re improving.
You’re learning that you’re providing value.
And if you’re getting better, then you will get a bigger audience. If you’re getting a bigger audience, this goes round and round and round.
And that is how you can grow to play better venues and eventually monetize your art.
So guys, thank you so much for watching, but before you go, I have got a favor to ask.
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Otherwise, stay safe and I will see you guys tomorrow.
How to get signed to a major record label.
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