This article aims to expose, the 7 things you must do as an upcoming artiste, if you want to sign a record deal.
First and foremost, when you think about a record deal.
Think about a group of wealthy business men, who are desperately in need of a commodity or product, to buy and sell, in order to make so much profit.
Now consider yourself, the artiste, as that commodity or product.
And always be reminded that, there is no business man on this earth who would chose to buy a commodity or product he has already seen as, unfit or not good for consumption.
Back in 2013, I decided to set up a small home recording studio in my own bedroom apartment, so with the little resources I had, I purchased few equipment’s and in no time began to make beats.
My initial plan was to make my small studio an independent recording studio i.e. a studio where I can produce just my own music.
But when other upcoming artiste in my environment heard that I had opened a recording studio, they started coming around; and before I knew, we were producing music for, both myself and other upcoming artiste.
Nevertheless, we had one challenge, and that was how to make a quality sound production.
I remember I had no sound card, which is very important for getting that clean sound.
So we were managing the internal sound card of the system unit.
As God would have it, I was able, with time, to raise money and purchase quality equipment’s.
Plus my friend Los Jigi, brought for me quality sound record systems from Lagos.
After having good sound production, I began to lose interest in making my own music, so I concentrated more on being paid by upcoming artiste to make music.
But the problem I had was that, those artistes were always unable to raise a reasonable amount of money for their production.
All of them were looking to produce a track with 5,000 naira.
I thought of ways to make the business work out but to no avail.
Until one day, it dawned on me that I should gather some artiste that are good and start a record label.
And for that reason, I began to surf the web looking for articles to read, in order to understand the ways and means I will go about running a record label.
In the course of my research, one of the areas I was more concerned with was, what record labels really look out for in an artiste before signing him.
And so, I thought it wise to gather the knowledge I gained, as a potential record label owner, and use this medium to enlighten artiste here in Nigeria, and anywhere else in the world; on the 7 things they must do if they want to get a record deal.
1. Make good music.
The reason why so many people do not care so much to listen to upcoming artiste, is because of the low quality production they carry around.
Yes! The first question that comes into the mind of a record label owner, when he is being presented with the work of an upcoming artiste he has never heard of before is:
“Has he been able to pay for an expensive studio in order get a quality sound production.
Secondly, most upcoming artiste do not even know the kind of music they should make.
Imagine an upcoming artiste singing about how he has made it, and when he comes through people scramble to him for autographs.
When in the actual sense, he is roaming the streets on foot, or probably carrying blocks in a building site to earn a living.
Thirdly, scores of upcoming artiste put out songs that are whack or makes no sense at all.
Sometimes their song title and what they are singing about are totally different.
So in summary, to make good music you must ensure that you find a good record studio, and pay good money in order to get a good sound production.
Secondly, be mindful of what you are singing about, especially in boasting songs.
Never give record labels the reason to put your CD in the dustbin by trying to tell who cares in your song that, you cruise around town in three Ferrari’s, surrounded by 50 models etc.
Definitely they will dumb your CD in the trash.
Because if you already have the money, what then are you looking for in a record deal.
Why not use your own money and set up your own studio and become a label owner.
Also make sure your lyrics and intonations are good.
If you are not too good in writing or composing, find someone who can write very well to edit your songs before you hit the studio for the recording proper.
2. Shoot a music video.
It is no denying of the fact that a good music video will easily expose an upcoming artiste and make record label owners reach out to him.
But it’s however sad that, so many upcoming artistes believe that, it is too expensive to shoot a musical video these days.
Yes! It is very expensive to shoot a music video only if you are looking for top music directors like, Clarence Peters or Unlimited L.A; to handle your video production.
But I want to let you know that, there are so many aspiring and good music directors out there.
Who are looking for an upcoming artiste with a low budget; and sometimes even no budget, to shoot a niece music video for, in order to make a name.
Even if the top directors are shooting with expensive cameras to achieve a clean video background.
I bet you, there are upcoming music video directors who can achieve a very niece video background with a Canon 60D camera, which is color corrected in postproduction.
So all you have to do is go out in search of those aspiring music directors.
Make them listen to your song and tell you what concept will help you guys achieve a very clean music video with a low budget.
And before you know it, you will be a proud owner of a clean music video that will help expose you the more.
3. Enroll in music contest or competition.
So many big artistes you are seeing today were found during a musical contest.
For instance, Chidinma and Iyanya became super stars through MTN Project fame.
So don’t hesitate to enroll in whatever music contest you see going on.
And if you are lucky to perform, or better still win, your career will be close to, if not seeing the light of day.
4. Perform in gigs
Imagine an upcoming artiste performing on stage, and soon as he is done and wants to step down, the crowd yells on him to give them some more.
(We call that an encore).
Imagine a crowd singing along to the hook of an upcoming artiste who is performing on stage.
Now tell me if you are a record label owner overseeing such a show, will you allow the artiste to leave the venue without having his contact, and calling him afterwards to negotiate a deal?
There is no way a record label will spot such an artiste and let him walk away.
Already he has been able to pull a crowd, and that is one of the selling points for record labels.
They need an artist that will make the crowd keep yelling for more because such an artiste will definitely sell out concert tickets and generate more money for record labels.
So if you want to sign a record deal make sure you perform in nearly every shows.
Make enquiries, and get connected with booking agents.
And even if you have to pay something for a chance to perform in a show.
Do it because you never know when your song will make the crowd go wild while you are performing it live.
5. Promote your music
Whether it’s online or offline, you have to promote your music, if you want to attract record labels.
So whatever it takes, ensure that you have your music available everywhere for people to listen.
Because you never know which record label owner, will listen to how good your music is.
And begin a searching to find and sign you.
I won’t write so much on this topic because I already have 2 articles on this subject.
How to promote your music online, and How to promote your music offline.
Finally, You can’t just make music that you keep at home or in your phone and expect to be noticed by record labels.
6. Grow your fan base on social Media platforms.
Another great way to impress record labels, and have them looking out to sign you; is through your social media fan base.
There are few upfront social Media you can use to achieve that: Facebook, Twitter and Instagram are the leading three.
I guess as an artiste you already have a Facebook page and group, a Twitter and Instagram account.
So all you need to do is, try as much as possible to increase the number of likes and followers you have on those accounts.
And I bet you there is no record label that will ignore an artiste who have created so much impact on social media.
Especially, through the number of people who like and follows him.
If you have a million social Media followers, it is estimated that hundred thousand of them will buy your album on its first day of release.
And that is big money for record labels.
7. Be wary of scammers claiming to be record label agents
It is worthy to note that in a bid of trying to contact record labels, so many artiste have fallen prey to online scammers claiming to be record label agents.
But I hope to guide you down the path of the fact that, no serious record label looks up to agents in order to find their artiste.
There are several online and offline platforms that are promoting artiste contents in several ways.
For instance, here in Taculia 9Ja, we focus on promoting the freestyle videos and audios of upcoming artiste.
In the hope that, record labels will notice and reach out to sign them.
Apart from that, several music contests are going on everywhere, both online and offline.
And all this are great ways that record labels can zoom in and discover their next big artiste.
My brother and sister, there are scores of upcoming artiste approaching record labels on a daily basis seeking for a record deal.
And most of these artiste are good at their games.
Which means that record labels are never wanting when it comes to signing an artiste.
And for that reason, they wont waste time paying agents to go out in search of upcoming artiste who are good.
So be guided from now henceforth.
And avoid anyone who claims to be a record label agent, and promises to link you up if you pay him a token.
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