There are five (5) major record label companies (AOL/Time-Warner, EMI, Sony, Vivendi-Universal, and BMG), who have many starving artists on their rosters, these companies are facing financial problems, and while they are receiving literally thousands of e-mails, CDs/tapes, and promo packages every week from aspiring artists, musicians, and songwriters.
Major labels spend a minimum of $250,000 to promote an artist. They also buy "research" from consultants, all of which are charged back to the artist, along with the costs of unsold CDs. Under an artist agreement, the record label also gets the publishing royalties to defer the costs and minimize their economic risks, with another avenue for financial recovery. Remember, they are in business to make money and lot's of it.
As the result of this, an artist could record their song, it not get a lot of marketing/promotional support from the label (compared to other artists) and because the label owns the publishing on the song, they can give it to another artist, making the original artist pay for a very expensive demo. The original artist would get the songwriting royalties, if they hadn't signed away some of this ownership, just to say they have a record deal with a major label.
If you have an investor or money to invest in yourself, you can probably find a major label who will give you a contract for your project. Be prepared to have a substantial amount of funds available for the production and the promotion costs. The major record labels have been in a financial slump, due to diminished record sales caused by illegal downloading on the web, and quality of product issues. They could use new artists, along with all money that they can bring to the table, taking their own financial risks; given the financial states of the five (5) major labels. You should also have your own attorney and accountant/manager in these negotiation processes. It is also advisable to do research on your own regarding copyright and contracts law.
If you have your own legally recorded CD, you have a fully functional e-commerce web site, you're making on-line CD sales, you have quite a few club dates, and you've got your marketing (inclusive on-line marketing) in place, you may also attract the attention and interest of a major label. Certainly if your web site and your listing on other web sites appears prominently and professionally.
If your listing is mixed in a site with thousands of artists, the chances of being "discovered" are diminished, because record label executives and producers do not have the time to visit these sites and weed through all of the artists, including those who made their recording at home or didn't use union musicians to qualify for distribution and radio station airplay. This is even true for BMG Music, who owns MP3.com.
Thus if you are looking to get rich quick in the music industry by getting "discovered" by a major label, spend your money on your state's or neighboring state's Lotto or lottery...the chances of winning and getting your money back are greater, and it not to cost nearly as much to take your chances on the better odds.
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