Dear Rock and Roll Librarian,
There’s this new music label that’s been facebooking and tweeting all over the place. They say they are looking to sign new artists. And you know, I’m hot for the deal and such as that, been working hard to get it and nothing seems to be happening. Now here’s my chance. You know, me, a new artist, and them, a new label. I mean, I think it might be a match made in heaven, you feel me?
So, anyway, somebody told me I better not just jump all over that until I talked to you. Now, I don’t know who you are, but my friend said you won’t steer me wrong. So, what do you think? I should talk to them?
(PS: My artist name is Double P or Parky Park, I haven’t quite decided yet, what do you think?)
I shall decline to comment on your artist name since that is such a personal thing. Couple of hints, though. Always make sure people can pronounce it when they read it, and if you mu$t put a $ymbol in the name, at least let it make $en^e to their brains. Puzzles are fun, but in marketing they can backfire and you’ll be ignored.
Okay. On to the label question you asked.
There are several questions you should ask the label. Remember, this is a partnership. You will do things. They will do things. Any contract you sign should be very clear about these things. Here are some things that I would totally like to know something about the label because these are things that will 100% impact your ability to have a future in the business. Specifically:
ONE: What does their signing deal encompass? (A thorough reading and understanding of the contract is in order.)
TWO: Do they expect to distribute physical product (examples: CDs, albums, tapes)?
THREE: Do they expect to distribute digital product (examples: Wav, Mp3, video)?
FOUR: Who are they planning on using as their distribution partner? (Hint: You better hope neither physical or digital distribution is with CD Baby, TuneCore, or just about any other music aggregators.)
FIVE: What if the artist brings to the table a team of songwriters? How will that be handled?
SIX: How long is the contract term for? Anything over three years is not good as you don’t want to be held hostage to a deal that may not be working so well.
SEVEN: What are the exit options for each side?
EIGHT: What country are they in? What laws your country might have to protect you for doing business within your country, does not mean you have the same protections with a business outside those borders. BUT…
NINE: The contract can be worded so as to protect both sides if they are in different countries. An attorney competent in international business law would need to review.
Parker, I know this may seem a little bit overwhelming, but you are wanting to go in business with these people, you are not an employee, so you must deal with these. But if you need some help in the meantime, and want a complete report on any contracts you are asked to sign, please use these options:Gotcha Report Offline Contract Review