(Hypebot) — While land a record deal was once the Holy Grail for up and coming musician, bands and artists today are a bit more inclined to keep their options open, and often eschew record deals altogether.
Guest post by James Shotwell of Haulix
Getting an offer from a record label was once the dream of every musician, but today’s artists recognize other ways to get ahead.
The music industry is in a constant state of evolution. That has always been true, but technology has hastened the speed of change. Marketing today looks nothing like it did a decade ago, which itself felt far removed from the marketing efforts of the late 1990s. That is one of the countless examples of how the industry is evolving, and change won’t be stopping anytime soon.
Record labels were once the height of an artist’s aspirations. “If only I can get the attention of a label,” many musicians thought, “then the world will notice me.”
But time has taught us that isn’t true. There are many musicians with record deals who face the same fate as those without. These artists may get the resources that labels offer, but no amount of money or corporate planning can guarantee success.
The truth is that the consumer always dictates who is and is not successful. Major label money can do a lot, but so can a teenager with 4-million TikTok followers who love to watch them dance.
That brings us to a question that seems to come up every year: Do you need a record label? After all, is the debt artists accept for a shot at success worth the risk of nobody listening to their creative output? Is trusting yourself and your team the smarter and more fiscally responsible path?
In the latest Music Biz video, host James Shotwell investigates the necessity of record labels in 2021. He shares the questions every artist should ask before entertaining any recording contract offers and warns of the drawbacks to staying independent. He even shares an example of one musician who ignored major label money and had a better career as a result.
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James Shotwell is the Director of Customer Engagement at Haulix and host of the company’s podcast, Inside Music. He is also a public speaker known for promoting careers in the entertainment industry, as well as an entertainment journalist with over a decade of experience. His bylines include Rolling Stone, Alternative Press, Substream Magazine, Nu Sound, and Under The Gun Review, among other popular outlets.