In recent years, scores of rappers have spoken up about signing horrible music deals. Megan Thee Stallion has been vocal about her disappointment with her 1501 Certified Entertainment deal. Meek Mill recently went on a Twitter rant about never receiving any money from his record label. Obviously, instances such as these will scare off any unsigned artist and motivate them to remain independent for as long as possible.
While signing to a label has its pros, it does come with a lot of cons. There is no way to be 100% sure that your deal is perfect with the ever-changing music industry. However, there are a few red flags that every artist should watch out for when considering signing a music contract.
No Written Contract
Anyone offering you a record deal with no physical written contract is not someone you want to be working with. Having a contract serves as protection legally for both the artist and company. It provides a means of guarding money, music, time, and other assets. Verbal agreements are unacceptable and offer no security. Never agree to any sort of deal without a contract that a lawyer can review.
Pressuring You to Sign With Them
Even with a contract in place, do not sign until you are comfortable. If a company or music exec is pressuring you to get the deal done quickly, this is a red flag. Reputable companies have a steady flow of musicians seeking their services, so they do not need to push anyone to sign with them. However, some labels will do this if they feel that they can make quick money from a naive artist. If anyone is not okay with you thoroughly reading the contract and running it by your legal representation, beware of them.
Haven’t Heard Your Music Before Offering a Contract
If you walked into a retail store, would you be offered a job without detailing your past experience in sales? The answer is likely no. The music industry works the same way. Execs with your best interest in mind will want to hear your music first before offering you a deal. Since major record labels want to make money, they are usually unwilling to invest in musicians without knowing whether or not they are talented. Anyone ready to sign you without listening to your music cannot be trusted.
Can’t Prove What They’ve Done For Other Artists
Any successful record label should be able to show you examples of their success stories. While every artist will not blow up, the company should be able to share a good amount of musicians who have excelled under their guidance. If a label cannot show you how they’ve helped other artists reach success, run. Do not hand over your entire career to a company with no credible resources.
Remember, once you sign that recording contract, much of your career is in the hands of a company. This is why you should always have a lawyer that does not work with the label look over the paperwork before signing it. While it may be tempting, do not be swayed by money. Many labels will offer advances, which can look like a dream come true to an indie artist strapped for cash. However, keep in mind that they are expecting you to make them that money back plus some.
Always do your research regarding the type of deal that is being offered. Once you get into a recording contract, it can be incredibly difficult to get out of it. Take your time.
Blogged by @cakedupdrippedout