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Before You Sign: 4 Eye-Opening Truths Artists Learn After Inking a Record Deal!

Many music artists don’t realize they are essentially their own record company before signing with a major record label. Misconceptions about the music industry and a lack of self-awareness often lead to fear and confusion about navigating the industry alone. This belief that a major record company is the only path to success can be misleading.

I understand where you’re coming from because I’ve witnessed several artists grapple with the decision to give up control more than once.

You Are the Default Record Company

As an artist, it's essential to realize that you have control over your music from the beginning. As the original owner, you have the power to create and exploit your master recordings to their fullest extent. When you sign to a label, you lose all creative control and ownership rights in 9 out of 10 cases. Labels give you the illusion of freedom to create, but the reality is quite different. You often don’t understand the power you hold until your lawyer reads you the rights transfer portion of the contract.

You Are the Default Publishing Company

Your music isn't just sound; it's intellectual property. Understanding that you have rights over your compositions can instill a strong sense of confidence in protecting what's rightfully yours. Accepting responsibility for your creativity means you're not just an artist but a businessperson, navigating a path that's uniquely yours. If you are a boss, then the boss has the power to give it all up, but again, it isn't until you give it up that you realize how powerless you’ve just become. This usually becomes apparent when your lawyer reads you the rights transfer portion of the contract.

You Are the Default Merchandise Company

Beyond the music, there's merchandise. Managing your merchandise isn't just about selling your products; it's also about leveraging the products of other brands. It is not until the lawyer goes over your merch deal that you see how much wiggle room you lost due to your 360 agreement.

You Are the Default Touring Company

Your live performances are an artistic extension of who you are. However, when you sign with a touring company, you’ll usually have to perform wherever they say you can, in some cases, cough Live Nation. Even if you don't give this up in a record contract, you will in a touring deal.

There Is a Manager for Each Company

Collaborating with different managers is key to your independent success. Working with Record Labels (non-360), Music Publishing Administrators (non-co-pub), Merchandise Managers or Merchandise Companies, and Tour Managers or booking agents (Single tours deals only) allows you to delegate responsibilities effectively. Trusting these specialized managers helps you maintain focus on your art while ensuring that each aspect of your career is nurtured and grown by experts in the field.

The General Manager Manages the Efficiency of All Companies Together

Your career is more than the sum of all of these companies. A General Manager helps coordinate these various aspects, recognizing the value of a holistic approach. Seeing the big picture of your career means understanding how every decision, every collaboration, and every opportunity aligns with your vision. This insight guides you towards a path that's both fulfilling and rewarding.

So What Am I Giving Up?

Rights! If you have all the rights in the first place, then what does that make you? The Boss! What is a Boss? A Business Owner! Which means what? It means you have to learn how to run a business!

How Do I Learn How to Run a Business?

It will take time; most of it will be experience-based, but you’ll need a foundation to start with.

How Do I Build a Foundation to Start With?

My course, the 60-Day Record Label, is designed to give you the foundation you need.

Check This Out!

If you're a music creative or executive looking to build your label or publishing company in 60 days or less, grab the 60-Day Record Label Course and get it done today! You’ll gain the ability to get real funding, avoid contractual pitfalls, and keep the middleman out of your pockets. Click the link below to get started now! If you’re skeptical, grab the free guide, "10 Ways to Increase Your Record Label Profits," which comes with a free split sheet download.

Eyes Wide Open

  1. Full control over career.

  2. Confidence in business decisions.

  3. Enhanced creativity.

  4. Deeper connection with fans.

  5. Financial independence.

  6. A well-managed, thriving career.

Eyes Wide Shut

  1. Dependence on external parties.

  2. Loss of creative control.

  3. Possible stunted career growth and longevity.


From a bewildered artist under the shadow of big labels, you can transform into an empowered, independent creator who owns every aspect of your music business only if you understand the power you hold.


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