Getting "Signed"

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by Thunderthumbs73, Jul 18, 2008.

  1. Thunderthumbs73


    May 5, 2008
    It's just my general observation, but why does being "signed" ring hollow to me. It just seems a mere formality, if that, and I rarely see any band/group/artist take a demostrable upswing in terms of their career because of it. Yes, you can be signed, but I so often see the "signed but not going any place" limbo. I see the bands that are "signed" sometimes have gigs that are barely better in stature/venue than bands that do not.


    Just my general observations on this. Or am I just totally missing the boat on this "signed" thing? Does "being signed" mean anything these days. Or is it like the term, "indie" which is so overused and become so overbroad that the identifier has lost it's weight or meaning?
  2. jomahu


    Dec 15, 2004
    Bos, MA
    depends. it means something a lot different now than it did before, methinks.

    i think the main plus would be having some type of financial/administrative support from a label so that the band themselves don't have to go gig-hunting or paying out of pocket (up front, at least) for promotion and distribution.

    contacts and connections are also a big plus.

    however, the whole 'get signed and everything is easy street' mindset is a rather antequated notion. or maybe it was just a myth in the first place...

    me, i like decentralization. hegemony sucks.
  3. Croox


    Sep 16, 2007
    South Side Chicago
    it doesn't mean anything now. there was a time being signed actually meant something. now most of the record companies keep you in debt so you keep pumping out tunes. I recently left a band that had a hard-on for being signed, 30years ago it was great to get signed now with all the DIY stuff for musicians out there you will make more money that way than to get on a label
  4. dreadheadbass


    Dec 17, 2007
    unless your signed to a massive record label like sony records or something similar then being signed dont count for jack
    i know 3 local bands who are all signed to indie labels and they swagger about because they get to support other signed bands.... problem is the other signed bands are only signed to slightly bigger indie labels and in realitly there no better off than we are.... infact there worse off!! we get bigger gigs and we get to keep 100% of our profits
  5. The only people i know who want to get signed are the bands at the bottom of the chain who understand very little about the industry. Being signed wont make people buy your cd. if you cannot promote and sell your own cd's then whats being on a label going to do for you.

    I think back in the 70's it may have meant something, but these days you can have more control over your career if you do it yourself. Getting signed these day's is about as pointless as having 20,000 myspace friends and still getting 5 people to shows. The truth is, work hard, learn a bit about the industry and all the good stuff will eventually come around for you.
  6. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Is there a single band out there making a living off their CDs without being signed ?
    Name it for me please.
  7. + 1 on that

    I have recording credits on a indie label and it don't mean squat, I am still broke, and the majors want to take most of your money. That's why bands like Kiss put so much into merchandise because there label took a huge portion of there record sales.

    Now days you can get a great quality sounding recording with a good home recording set up IMO.

    I have several friends going that route and selling there Cd's on I tunes and CD baby, myspace and at there shows, although not rich there making money< but out of all my friends only one is making a decent living doing music full time, and the others all still have day jobs. :bassist:
  8. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Making a living as paying his rent and food with CD sales ? :eyebrow:
  9. Fugazi
  10. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Fugazi is apparently on Dischord Records.
    Did they make the label themselves ?
  11. yes, he is but also takes in money for the shows he plays and he usually plays a lot of them, and tours all over the place, mostly in the us. Like I said not rich but making a living as a full time musician no joke. the rest of my friends still have day jobs he is the only one that doesn't. He has a lot of talent and works his tail off to keep things moving, but I totally respect the fact he is doing what he loves making his own music. He also does a lot of shows solo by himself with just his acoustic guitar.
  12. Jazz Ad

    Jazz Ad Mi la ré sol

    Respectable indeed. Very difficult thing to do.
  13. ErebusBass


    Feb 20, 2008
    Madison, WI
    First I should say that I too agree that the magical power of the record label has greatly diminished in past decades.

    That said, I had a thought last night. I am nowhere near a point in my musical career where I need to be thinking about labels. If I do get to that point, if people are buying my cd's and coming to my shows and I want to step it up a notch... Why not just make your own label? All it would take is some business know-how and some connections.
  14. Captain_Arrrg


    Jan 23, 2008
    Mountains of Colorado
    Endorsing Artist: Spector Basses
    It would seem to me the greatest benefit of being "signed" is the marketing of the label.

    While there was a time when a label's marketing was the most effective way to raise awareness, now I believe you can become successful on your own, or with a small team. The internet has not only changed where you get your music, is has changed where you learn about your music. There are multiple threads on this site alone that will point you toward the best in Funk, Metal, Prog, Psychedelic and probably more. That and instant access to online music retailers where single songs can be had for cheap, leads to a discovery process that is not only lightening fast, but eclectic as you would expect from global communing.

    So I would say that the real goal would be not to get signed and put out out CDs, but to get your music on as many online retailers as possible, and direct as many people as possible to it. Let the people do the marketing, and if your idea of "making it" doesn't involve jets and golden shark bars (might happen, but probably not), then there is plenty of room for success.
  15. Mr_Krinkle


    Apr 28, 2008
    This is also a response to ErebusBass.


    In the beginning, no record label would sign Rush, so they decided to bypass getting signed, and create their own record label "Anthem". They started putting out CDs under their newly created record label, and now they're one of the top 5 Gold-Album selling bands of all time.
  16. Well it may be true that people have a tough time earning a living on music alone with being on a "label", but I know of quite a few bands that are signed acts that still work "day jobs". Biggish names that tour frequently and have multiple albums in chain stores. So at the end of the day which is better?
  17. Oooo yeah! Sign me up! I want most of my earnings to go up some label exec's nose!

    As others have pointed out, the technology has gotten to the point where DIYing it is more sensible. Look at our gear: A Mackie 1640FW and an iMac, 3 apex mic kits (2 DP-2s and an SP-2) and a few odds and ends. For less than $10K, we have a HQ 16+ track studio that would have cost over half a million with analog gear 15+ years ago, when we started playing together.
  18. This much is totally true. Cheap communication and digital distribution have made record companies largely obsolete.

    This is totally nonsense. Recording gear at the the level of a half a million dollar studio from 15+ years ago still costs at least a half a million dollars, probably more.
  19. you are joking right??? or do you really not know the story of Minor threat /Discord/fugazi/Ian Mcaye???
    IMO, having someone else put out material for you is nice, a lot of small labels put out music because they love music , and make little or no money, and as a band, it is nice to have that done for you. you cant expect miracles, a band still has to do some work. but if yo find a small label that you can work with, consider yourself lucky that you are not taking the risk all alone,because the odds are pretty good your gonna lose money...espescially if the goods are pretty odd...
    Now if you actually have the juice to make putting your record out profitable for an indy, you should still be pretty jizzed that they are chosing to do it , because i gauruntee they will make you more money than you would make doing it DIY, and with a lot less headaches...and if you are talking about a big label putitng your material out there ,and promoting you... well for that you probly ought to get a lawyer cus those folks seem pretty dangerous to me...
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