THE MYTH: If you spend a lot of money on a demo and you pay enough money to your Christian bands entertainment attorney, the attorney will get you a record deal.
THE TRUTH: If you try this you will most likely get a demo that you spent too much on production costs, no deal, and be broke.
The process of representing an artist and contacting record labels on their behalf for potential deals is known as “Shopping an artist to record labels”. A few entertainment attorneys will shop for deals, but most do not. The majority of attorneys that try are largely unsuccessful. An entertainment attorney CAN get your band a record deal, but probably won’t. The attorneys that are successful at shopping a deal usually represent well-known artists that are simply looking for a better deal. More importantly, you probably don’t want your attorney to get you your first deal.
Think about this: your attorney is supposed to represent YOUR BAND – be 100% on your side. In contract negotiations you want someone who is fighting for you aggressively. That means that at least to some extent they must have an adversarial relationship with the label; even if it is amiable. Now if that same person has just sold your first recording to a label, how aggressive can they be on your behalf? You have no track record, the attorney has no bargaining chips. Do you think your ministry will get the best deal this way? So, red flags should go up if you find an entertainment attorney who says they will shop your demo, especially if you are not a national act.
THE FACT: You cannot buy your way into the music industry.
If you try, you will waste a lot of money and get hurt in the process. The best way to get signed is to aggressively build your fan base – cause the biggest stir you can and keep it going long-term. Develop your music and business as far as you can, then look for a successful manager or producer (not entertainment attorney) to work with you. By that time your band will have developed a track record. The manager or producer should have contacts with record labels and the experience it takes to successfully shop for a good deal.
Labels prefer to receive demos from someone who already has a relationship with the label because it lends credibility to the artist. The general feeling is that if you are not able to attract the attention of a good manager or producer, you probably are not ready for a label. Plus, labels do not like to receive demos directly from the artists because it is so time-consuming to look at all of them. So, you CAN get a deal by sending your demo into a label yourself, it HAS happened; but you probably won’t.
MY BEST ADVICE: Focus on doing the best MINISTRY you can. Create the highest quality MUSIC possible as a tool to express that ministry. Do your BUSINESS well to support the music and the ministry. Above all, trust God to lead you in the direction that is best for HIS CALLING on your life.
CLICK HERE to read about what an entertainment attorney should do.
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