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Is getting signed really like this????

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by FunkySpoo, Apr 18, 2003.

  1. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
  2. Davehenning


    Aug 9, 2001
    Los Angeles
    I read it and it is pretty much on the money....

    Been there, done that. No thanks.
  3. Christopher


    Apr 28, 2000
    New York, NY
    Yes and worse.

    The only money you'll probably see from the record label is the advance. If you're smart, you'll try to make it as huge as possible.

    Make sure to hold onto publishing rights and tour as much as possible. That's where the money is. Recording a CD for a label is close to slavery.
  4. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    this albini article has been floating around for almost a decade. many of the fees listed can be avoided or lessened if the band doesn't try to live like a rock star.

    nix the bus. nix the catering. you can get a pro level mastering for ~1/10th the cost they have listed there - the guy who mastered our cd cost us $1200, and he works out in l.a. with major film and recording studios all the time - www.promastering.com . his name is jay and he is an excellent mastering engineer. nix the $5000 for album art - that's just ridiculous. there's no reason why it should cost that much for a band's debut album. the studio fees section was ridiculous too, especially in this day and age when studios are fighting just to keep above water. with a little research anyone can find a serious bargain for a tracking studio with good gear.

    we had our cd mixed at engine studios - http://www.enginestudios.com/html/aroom.html - , in their a-room, 52 track ssl4000 board, studer 24 track r2r 2" and protools suite. normally $2000 a day, we got it for $800 a day because of using neil kernon as the mixing engineer. these are the kinds of deals that a band manager hunts for - that's one of their jobs.

    albini has set aside a $150,000 budget for the recording - that's not much compared to major label projects now, but it doesn't have to be that much with a little planning and foresight. neil kernon has offered to produce us on future recordings. working through him with the studios that he deals with, such as engine or sonic ranch in texas, it would probably cost less than 1/2 that for us to record, and we're pretty high maintenance in the studio.

    i guess my point is that, just like any other fixed budget, a record advance has to be dealt with wisely, or it can be squandered. if a band has a decent manager, the chances of this happening can be minimized. ultimately, though, band members have to pay attention to what's going on with their money. take albini's list, and shave off a thousand here and a thousand there all the way down and all of a sudden the band has some real money at their disposal.

    another thing - just because a band is signed doesn't mean the members don't have to get a job. alex lifeson of rush worked as a plumber while their were recording their 5th major label release. getting a job is something that a lot of indie musicians trying to "make it" consider a bad thing, but if they are serious about making music their career, they really ought to consider it.
  5. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    Note that the article refers to "major labels." That's why I don't watch "American Idol". The judges are major label whores after pre-packaged product. To make a lame analogy - we want steak and they give us turkey franks. And their formula doesn't work. Major label sales continue to nosedive and the reason isn't "free music on the web." Their lawyers are about worn out.

    Indie labels are where it's at. (Make-your-own, sell-your-own is a noble thing, too. But, so tough to pull off). The downside is that if your indie label sales are good, a major will come in and buy you and put their professional scam artists to work on your contract.

    But there is hope. Clear Channel has recently shoved the "indie promoters" (actually, music-prostitutes hired by major labels to get their lame "artists" into rotation at radio stations), out the door. I guess it's dawning on the major labels that relying on fools like the American Idol judges and Fred Durst as an exec-VP (Innerscope) is killing their bottom lines.

    I read about it in "The Wall Street Journal" so I can't reproduce the article here. But here's a piece about it you can access http://www.antimusic.com/news/03/april/item19.shtml

    It basically means that the artist who has worked on their craft for years may get a better chance to compete with undeserving schlubs like Kelly Osbourne. :rolleyes:
  6. brianrost

    brianrost Gold Supporting Member

    Apr 26, 2000
    Boston, Taxachusetts
    You're missing the point. Clear Channel no longer NEEDS them because they own a huge number of radio station, concert venues, promoters and sound companies. Basically they own a significant portion of the entire system except the artists and the record labels.

    From their web site (notes added by me):

    Clear Channel Worldwide (Clear Channel Communications, Inc., NYSE: CCU), headquartered in San Antonio, TX, is a global leader in the out-of-home advertising industry with radio and television stations, outdoor displays, and entertainment venues in 66 countries around the world. Including announced transactions, Clear Channel operates approximately 1,225 radio and 39 television stations in the United States (NOTE: this is an average 25 radio stations in EVERY state) and has equity interests in over 240 radio stations internationally. Clear Channel also operates approximately 776,000 outdoor advertising displays, including billboards, street furniture and transit panels around the world.

    Clear Channel Entertainment is the world’s leading producer and marketer of live entertainment events. Each year, more than 66 million people attend approximately 26,000 events staged by the company, including live concerts, Broadway productions, West End and touring Broadway shows, family entertainment shows, sports and motor sports events.

    Clear Channel Entertainment’s network of world-class promoters, live entertainment venues (including 41 U.S. amphitheaters), and lifestyle marketing resources provides an unsurpassed one-stop shop for entertainers and corporate marketers. (NOTE: read the previous sentence TWICE) This unique blend of resources provides consumers with a high-quality live entertainment experience at every touch point – from purchasing tickets to attending shows. (NOTE: the above means they control every stage of the process)

    Clear Channel Entertainment also owns the independently operated SFX Sports Group, a leading talent management and marketing agency that represents several hundred of the world’s elite professional athletes in basketball, baseball, football, hockey, tennis, golf, soccer, figure skating and the Olympics. SFX Media represents top sports and news broadcasters. (NOTE: anyone see a conflict of interest in being both the manager AND the promoter?)
  7. FunkySpoo

    FunkySpoo Supporting Member

    Feb 6, 2002
    That is scary on so many levels
  8. rickbass

    rickbass Supporting Member

    I know what they own, brian, from the info on the PBS website.

    But they are changing the rules and making it a freer market, albeit, not a solution. Sure the rules are tilted in their favor. But I don't think, from what I've read, that it will be a long-term strategy they can rely on.

    They aren't the only one riding herd over what people see and hear. It often depends on where you live. Not to disrespect you, but in case someone doesn't know one of the themes that are behind Pink Floyd's "Welcome to the Machine" or Tom Petty's "The Last DJ" - http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/cool/giants/

    I just see them as a "positive", relatively speaking, because they seem to be the first to recognize their s**t isn't working.
  9. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    a few more random thoughts on the albini article...

    you know, the real problem that the albini article is trying to illustrate, imo, is that the most bands don't look at their future and their endeavours like they are trying to start a business.

    you have to be an entrepreneur to make _anything_ happen. you've got a new widget (your music) that you want to get out to the right segment of the public. you need money to do this, and if you don't have an alternate source, you need to find financial backing.

    my wife is a cpa and she has worked with small businesses trying to get started and make something of themselves. some of them failed, some of them succeeded, but the common thread was the financial backing - the entrepreneurs who were poor but had the ideas ended up really sacrificing alot to the financiers. those that did so naievely, "hoping for the best", got raped, regardless of the product. however, those that did so with a little common sense and the balls to be able to push away from the table when someone was dangling a check in front of them with one too many stipulations almost always found some level of success, and they found it on their terms.

    my band set out to record 2 cds of original music, ~70 minutes a piece. all the stuff is tracked, and the first one is all but ready for prime time (mastered and good to go, just finishing touches on the liner notes). all told, we spent ~$50,000 of our own money to get as far as we are, and before we're done we'll be spending ~$15,000 more, probably, to get both cds retail ready, and 1000 of each, or so, in hand. by albini's math, that means that we each are in the hole ~$16,000. sounds terrible, don't it? and yet, at the end we'll have 2 pro level products, mixed and mastered by experienced pros, that we make all the money on, own all the rights to, and have complete control of, not to mention a very good studio at our disposal 24-7 that we also financed, useful for other/future projects.

    this was over about 5 or 6 years that this project spanned, which boils down to around $3000 a year that we all put into our project. anybody with a job, discipline and a dream can afford to make that happen.

    and remember, this is where we start, with the product in hand. now we can get to the selling and the money making, hopefully, if anybody salutes this thing when it gets up the flagpole.

    i think one of the biggest facts about the music industry is that from top to bottom the paradigms just aren't working anymore. that doesn't mean that there are no solutions. i think what's really needed now is for bands to think creatively, and to work together.

    something that i've noticed that is sorta sad is the competition between bands. i mean, the ego thing is sorta natural - that's why we all play, after all, without the ego we wouldn't get in front of someone and show our stuff, right? still, though, we've played out about 10 times in the past month and a half or so and the one thing i've seen a lot of is bands and band members talking about other bands saying "we're way better than them" or "they suck" and things like that. on two seperate occasions, bands that we've played with came up to us after we played and said they thought we were awesome, and after talking to us, they also thought that we were not cocky enough for how good we are. while that was flattering, and i'm sure also semi-humourous at least, i was struck by how disturbing that whole concept of "we're better than you" is for independant bands.

    i guess what i'm getting at is that indie bands that want to get somewhere need to cooperate, and come up with new ways to pool their resources, fanbases and experiences to help everyone make money and have a career at it.

    that's the best page in the underground/punk playbook, imo.
  10. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    John certainly has a point about the "ego,competing" thing,I like to call them the "Rock Police",you know,the band members that stand off to the side,arms crossed,convinced that they can be just "so way more happening than them man".
    There are ways to get your product done&out there in this century without the absurd amounts of money talked about in that article.I recently produced,composed and played on a disc here for a popular author/singer who wanted a music CD to accompany her new book.I did the entire disc in my basement(live drums)using digital performer and a Mac.Rented some happening outboard gear and mics and mixed down there too.I mastered at Audiobec with Jim Rabchuk who has worked with some of the biggest names in the Canadian music biz(they charge $100/hr if you're printing there too)All told I brought recording and mastering of that disc in at about $8000.Worked out a deal to print with happening art work on the disc it self at about a buck a piece." Chansons a faire Rougir " has sold approx. 15000 copies in 2 1/2 months.When I hear my disc on the radio,and hear the major label release after it,I don't hear the million dollar difference.
  11. thrash_jazz


    Jan 11, 2002
    Ottawa, Ontario, Canada
    Artist: JAF Basses, Circle K Strings
    Very, very well put.

    Local bands have to stop the infighting and undercutting and work together. In most cases, they do work together, but rarely is the big picture (ie, the scene in general) considered.
  12. Phat Ham

    Phat Ham

    Feb 13, 2000
    I've never understood why bands "compete" either. It's not like there's only room for one band and all the rest have to go home. Luckily for me all of my musician friends are all about cooperating and helping each other out. One kid with $20k worth of studio equipment let another band use all of it to record their cd. Didn't ask for a penny. I have noticed that of the people that do "compete", the majority of them are inexperienced and relatively new to the music scene. Maybe they just don't realize that it's not a competition yet. But then again there are guys who have been gigging for years and have the same attitude.
  13. Why wouldn't band compete???

    If you playing at you local bar once a month for your friends and a small fan base, ok why bother competing. I mean for what?

    When you get to a point where you are trying to get prime opening slots or showcases then that's something different. It's not like everyone can hold hands and you'll have 5 openers or a lable signing 3 or 4 bands at a time. You have a product and you are putting it up against other bands products.

    I live in a very competative enviroment for bands. A well populated, well off area with few local venues. There have been several major signings and quite a few large indy lable signings in the past two years. I can't help but think that this has something to do with the level of competition. If you want the spot at the show you have to be at the top of the pile to get the call.

    You do need to have an 'us' and 'them' atttitude to make it. You have to go up on stage knowing you are the best and that will come thru in a stellar performance. Being a rockstar is all about attitude. :bassist:

    Bassically I'm not going to help someone else take MY money.
  14. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    Yes it is,and that's exactly why it has nothing to do with music.
  15. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    because music isn't a competition, and there doesn't have to be just one winner.

    then you "compete" by being the best band you can, without bringing down those around you. calling other bands "crap" isn't going to make you a better band.

    the musicians that i've been the most supportive of have been the ones who've been supportive of me. i've gotten a lot of folks to go to shows of fellow bands by being supportive, and we've enjoyed having fans from other bands come hear us through the suggestions of the other bands.

    see, there's no need to have an "us" and "them" attitude - in fact, i think it hurts more than it helps. the few bands that have been really cocky that i've met and played with haven't made any record deals yet. that cocky attitude becomes obvious to fans, and gets obnoxious eventually.
  16. Ok the rockstar attitude thing was a joke.

    Never said anything about one winner. Believe it or not lables do have budgets and only sign a number of bands each year. So there may not be just one winner, but there are a limited number bands that will get those spots.

    Never said anything about calling other bands crap. I will however go out of my way to not help another band get something that my band wants.

    Cocky or Confident? a fine line :rolleyes:

    Music BUISNESS, do you think KFC gives Popeys Chicken a helping hand when they move into town?

    I know ALOT of musicians cannot think about art and buisness existing together. When you're in it for money(not just money) you have to look at things with a different perspective. It's no longer a community of friends playing shows and chugging back beers, it's a competition.
  17. ConU


    Mar 5, 2003
    La Belle Province
    What goes around comes around my friend.

    You're also spending alot of energy worrying who's behind you and not what's in front of you.
  18. moley


    Sep 5, 2002
    Hampshire, UK
    I agree with ConU on that, actually.

    What you do to others, you do to yourself.

    What you want for yourself, be willing to give away to others.
  19. john turner

    john turner You don't want to do that. Trust me. Staff Member

    Mar 14, 2000
    atlanta ga
    getting a spot with the "lable" (sic) is going to depend on how many fans you have and how good a demo/product you have. putting other bands down, or "not helping other bands" isn't going to do squat for that, and if the label thinks you're worth having and will make them money, they're going to sign you. new bands with a built in fanbase and a self-financed product that can be sold commercially is money in the bank for a label.

    there's a difference between the competition for someone's food dollar - only can eat one meal at a time - and music. labels don't set out saying they want one band of a particular genre, they set out wanting stuff that will sell. similar bands that can encourage their fan bases to mingle and share mailing lists and such only end up ahead in the long run.

    dude, this sounds really pretentious and condescending. :rolleyes: if i were you, i'd stop being so smug. you don't know who the people are in this thread or what they've done to pursue the business side of independant music.
  20. Munjibunga

    Munjibunga Total Hyper-Elite Member Gold Supporting Member

    May 6, 2000
    San Diego (when not at Groom Lake)
    Independent Contractor to Bass San Diego
    The above reminds me of an interview I saw with Billie Joe of Green Day after they went commercial. He was lamenting how Green Day couldn't play any of the old rat holes they started in because they "sold out."

    I'm with jt on this one. Just do what you do best, promote it, and give the labels something they want. Don't worry about the other dudes. I work in a competitive engineering business, and I DO help out my competitors when the need arises. When they ask if they can rent a piece of high-tech geophysical equipment from us, for instance, I say, "No. Just come get the danged thing and let me know when you'll bring it back." I treat our clients the same way. That's why they prefer my firm over the others. It can be the same for your band.

    Both of my bands are part-time things, but one thing I've noticed about the clients we play to. They are blown away by our professionalism. When the start time is 8:00 p.m., Our first note is played at 8:00:00 p.m. We don't get drunk or stoned, we take 15-minute breaks, and we entertain the crowd. While we've never pursued a label to sign us (we only play covers), I do know that they can eat you alive if you don't tend to the business side. Artsy-fartsy is great for the beer-drinking, gig-playing circle of friends, but you're destined to be a one-hit wonder if you can't read and understand a contract.

    As far as competition, what other way to compete is there than to be the best band? There's no need for behind-the-scenes pimping. Just be better entertainers. The rest will take care of itself. You don't even need to waste your time thinking about the other bands. Our band motto is "We suck less." We live by it.

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