Each year New Music Weekly takes great pride in honoring the independent artist. They are truly the life blood of the industry almost always underestimated and at times ignored by many of the music trades and publications. We started NMW mainly to give a voice to the indie artist so this cause is very close to our hearts. The struggle for new artists and bands here and abroad continues and as more and more recording artists in general take stock of what is going on in today’s music industry, many choose to retain their independence and to take control of their own destiny.
With the result of recent changes in the music industry moving from retail into the digital world, the major record labels have had to go from bad to worse. In order for the labels to justify putting money behind recording artists they have made new deals and contracts that have become almost overbearing. These deals include everything from them being your publisher, agent and all around control machine dipping into just about every opportunity that a recording artist could have to make any money. When all of this is said and done the signed recording artists is really left with nothing.
Some of the up-start recording artists have decided to form their own labels and deal with the major labels on somewhat of a limited partnership. This way they have the ability to control their destiny, deliver finished masters at their discretion and keep the A&R departments out of the creative process. This sort of new-deal also can keep the majors out of the publishing interests of an artist which is one thing you never want to give up if one can avoid it. Once the legal lines are drafted by an artist’s legal representatives they can then go about the business of creating music without the fear that they are being totally ripped off. There are certain ways to avoid the pitfalls of major record deals.
One of the best ways of dealing with the majors going from the independent arena is by a position of strength. Upstart artists from the past from Ed Sheeran to Taylor Swift all started in some type of off-label situation. Much of the early work was done by the artist in getting their music out there via smaller labels that eventually turned into a lucrative business. That is why many times we suggest to artists that they go directly to radio with their music provided that it’s professionally recorded and build a story that will eventually attract the attention of a major for a better deal. If you are breaking a hit single on your own terms the majors are less likely to get in your way and your deal will be a much better one. By making the first move you have moved yourself far ahead of the pack. Otherwise. you really are nothing more than an artist just trying to get a record deal and that crop is so overwhelming that your chances for a signing are much slimmer.
Even when a deal is locked in at a major label level there may be other issues that you are not fully aware of. Labels have priorities and for the newer artist you may not really know where you fall in the line of priorities. We’ve heard too many horror stories of a label actually sabotaging the very artists they signed because they had other artists that they believed had a higher ranking for their attention. The majors have weekly conference calls to their field staff and if you are not on the priority list you might fare better to run your own label and control your destiny rather then being put on the back burner of a major record label. That’s why so many artists and bands choose to remain independent.
New Music Weekly continues to be the best friend to the independent artist and band. Our weekly charts are a mix of both major and indie artists and the stations that report to NMW are extremely favorable to the independent. This provides the opportunity for us to help “level the playing field”. Through the STS radio tracking systems to our publication that delivers new and vital information to the entire music industry, we continue our quest as leaders of what we call the “new music revolution”. We applaud the independent artist and know that we are always here for you for any and all of your music needs.