Monday February 19, 2018
May 2013


Getting Signed

By: Anthony Villiotti


recording contractYou’re an aspiring recording artist.  You spend your days writing song lyrics, working with producers, and trying to make ends meet as you tour through local, and hopefully, regional or national venues.  What is your goal?  In one of our past articles, we’ve discussed how signing to a major record label isn’t necessary; however, to many upcoming artists, getting signed [to the right record label] is a goal of theirs.  So why not talk about it?

Internationally, there are three main record companies: Universal Music Group (owned by Vivendi), Sony Music Entertainment (owned by Sony Corporation), and Warner Music Group (owned by Access Industries).  Now, these are not to be confused with record labels.  There are many record labels to which you may be signed, but 99% of these record labels are operated by one of these three record companies.  For instance, Island Def Jam Music Group is a label under Universal Music; RCA Records is under Sony; Atlantic Records in under Warner Music, and so on.

So how do you get a big name record label to notice you and ultimately want to sign you?  Well, you usually need to get discovered by an A&R (Artist and Repertoire) executive or any professional with noteworthy ties to the industry.  Remember: you never know who will come across you or who you will meet directly.  (Make sure to refer to the article, How to Network Effectively as an Artist).  Also, remember that one of the specific factors A&R executives look at is your already existing following.  These A&R executives have a comparable job to an investment manager.  In fact, singing a new artist is just as risky as investing in a stock or other security, because the future performance is entirely unknown.  The question ends up being: How can you prove you are worthy of such investment?  You need to have a worthy fan base, plenty of worthy musical works to woo them over, a worthy network, and of course, a worthy brand.

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