A decade back, record labels were considered the golden ticket and the only route to a chart-topping career for artists. At that time, if an artist gets a chance to sign a record contract, he feels so lucky, like his dream come true. It was tricky to attract A&R attention and pretty hard to get signed. Because record labels owned the power to make or break any artist’s career. However, in recent years, the internet has reversed its roles and made artists independent. Similarly, numerous artists now distribute their music online rather than approaching a record label. They are making the most out of social media and some streaming platforms and releasing their music by spending less money.
So, in this era of social media, when artists release their stuff on the internet, do record labels still matter? Many young and upcoming hip-hop artists, rap artists, and others wonder if it is crucial to join a record label today. In this guide, we will look at the future of traditional record labels and point out for whom a record deal is necessary. So, read more, and let’s find out whether artists need a record label.
Role of the Traditional Record Label
The role of the traditional record label was to make money; similarly, that’s why most artists wanted to get signed by one. Record label used to find artists, financially support them, train and promote them, and then manufacture and distribute their music in exchange for a percentage of revenues. In parallel, when things go well, and the artist and record label succeed, the label and artist both get a chance to make money. Whereas, when an artist and label’s distributed music does get recognition, both the artist and label have to suffer and end up with a substantial financial loss. That’s how the traditional record label worked when there was no concept of social media and online streaming platforms. However, today, record labels require to reinvent themselves if they want to get continuous profits.
As when the internet took over, most artists trusted the internet rather than record labels; this is why A&R and distribution departments of record labels had to suffer a lot.
Contemporary Condition of Record Companies?
No one thought before that one day an artist would be his own distributor and possess their label. However, it demands a lot of hard work and versatility from artists to pay attention to everything along with creating music. Artists must have in-depth knowledge about how the complex legalities of the music business work and how to monetize music. Back then, events like concerts were the main revenue streams for artists. But now, the online revenue streams platforms and downloads facilitate artists perfectly in making money. Today’s music placement in TV and movies is also one of the top revenue generators. While things will change tomorrow, and any other revenue stream will most likely benefit the artists and consumers.
Today, most artists own their distribution network under which they release their music albums and directly earn money. Especially electronic music artists never get out of the content and, most of the time, have songs ready to distribute. Also, these artists own a large fan following on their social media accounts which aids them ideally in getting people’s attention to their work.
Apart from this, record companies also have social media accounts and a huge fan following. Because of the huge following, most young hip-hop artists and upcoming R&B artists find them beneficial and get signed by them. Because of the changes in the music industry, today’s record labels are giving more leverage to artists than traditional ones. Undoubtedly, there are numerous ways an artist can get famous today on the internet. Still, a record label for upcoming artists is beneficial financially and professionally. The main reason why artists go for a record company is money.
Do Artists Need A Record Label in 2022?
As mentioned above, the primary reason most artists approach record companies is money. Also, it depends on an artist’s goals and needs; if the artist is seeking financial security and wants a team to do all behind the scene efforts for him, then joining a record label is perfect. Whereas, if an artist wants to make music using his creativity and doesn’t like interference, he should not join a record company. Always go for the beneficial deal; don’t take an offer if you think you cannot be able to show your creativity. Therefore, it’s up to the artists always whether they need to go for signing the deal or distributing their music independently. If you want to manage all alone, then it demands you to be incredibly versatile in everything from creating and promoting your own tracks.