03 Nov How to Sign a Record Deal with Jay-Z
You want a record deal? What year are you living in? They don’t even sell records anymore, heck digital downloads will soon tank once the public gets a hit of streaming services.
Let me tell you there is absolutely no point waiting to be “discovered”. You’ll either end up waiting forever or you’ll get signed and be miserable.
Why will you be miserable? Because if you get signed without having a fan base, you’re going to have to build your fan base on the record label’s terms. Not only that but if you get signed without a fan base, you’ll have no leverage during contract negotiations and will really have signed yourself up to be a slave for a massive corporation.
If you really want to make it today sign yourself and be a slave to what works. What does this mean? It means you need to test yourself in the free market. That means put up a youtube video of yourself singing or rapping and see what the heck happens. 99% of the time nothing ground breaking will happen. You’ll be lucky to get more than 10,000 views.
So what do you do? You try again and again and again, until you figure out what works. You’ll know what works when your video actually gets 100,000 views and has tons of comments, likes and dislikes. You see youtube is the free market. Kids these days don’t have subscriptions to spotify or rdio: when they want to hear their favorite songs they go to youtube. Every song is free to hear on youtube so long as you can sit through a 15 second commercial or whenever that “skip this ad” button appears.
You’ll know you’re music video is working when even months after its release, it continues to get thousands of views each day. You’ll know that your music is connecting when even months after you’ve released it, your twitter and facebook are lit up with people talking about you.
You see you don’t need a record deal anymore because all they’re going to do is try to sell you to old media which in turn will try to sell you to whoever pays attention to old media: old people. The new generation doesn’t care about old media. In fact, all the acts that you probably want to be just like, made it before social media took off. It is doubtful any of them would even make it in this era.
This is truly a “survival of the fittest” model for how musicians should blow. Youtube is the great equalizer. If you think you have the goods, put yourself out there and prove yourself. Don’t think Jay-Z discovering you is going to be your ticket to fame and fortune. It’ll be much more long lasting and meaningful if you build a few fans a day.
Remember the old adage: the quicker they come, the faster they’ll fall. Well the opposite couldn’t be any truer: The more time you take to grow your fan base, the longer you’ll be on top. And today that starts with building your following over youtube, one subscriber at a time. The irony of this is if you do build a large enough following on your own, Jay-Z and a bunch of other labels will be beating a path to your door to sign you.
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