Wednesday, February 2, 2011

Pimping or Partnership:Superstars and Starving Artists (Edition 4)

So you want to sign with a major label you say? The artists that you see on television and hear on mainstream appear to have it made, don't they? Don't be fooled. Many of the artists that you see are not wealthy or even close to being so. After the label, producers, distributors, and everyone else with an interest in their project takes their cut, the artist is left with only 18-20%(and that's if they are a superstar) of their royalties (a royalty is the percentage of money an artist gets on every album sold both physically and digitally).Now I understand that record labels and vested parties have to eat too, but major labels (independent labels as well) are set up to take advantage of the artist's gift financially. Simply stated, music labels get the lions share of the profits. On top of that, the artist may not see any royalties at all if they have not paid back their loan money to the label (known as an advance in the music business). This sounds like pimping to me and Andre 3000 of Outkast agrees(listen to ATLiens). So the smart artist is the one who able to leverage the muscle of a label without getting pimped in the process. This rare feat is accomplished by an artist proving that they can make a sizable income and move a large number of units (albums) ON THEIR OWN! Those greedy major label vultures will come out of the wood works with dollar signs on their eyeballs and offer to partner with such a person. The benefit of partnership is that the artist will be able to reach way more people with a major label backing them than they would on their own. Instead of just regional stardom, it can possibly increase to international influence. But this does not happen over night. The main point that I'm trying to drive home is if you must sign with a major label, be a successful indie artist first and let them come to you (because then you will have more bargaining power). If you go looking for them, you will more than likely be another artist getting pimped!

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