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What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

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What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 11:32 am

My son is a would-be rapper with some fairly good songs (Lil Mosey/Post Malone trap style) and is chatting with a start-up rap label in the US that, as far as I can see, has no track record, only a couple of artists and the people involved never seem to have been in the business, even. Being a teenager, my son is very excited at what he sees as an instant route to Lamborghinis and gold Rolexes. But I simply smell a rat.

Tough question, I appreciate, but I was wondering if anyone out there knows what you should expect from a small indie in terms of contract, type of promotion, type of support, etc etc.?

Thanks hugely, for any input, no pun intended.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby BigRedX » Fri May 24, 2019 12:00 pm

The way I look at it with any small labels that have approached any of the bands I've been in over the past 20 years is: "what can you do for us that we can't already do ourselves?"

Unfortunately IME small labels can't do very much for artists unless they are well-established and have a recognisable "house style" - if you like one artist on a label you are likely to like most of the others.

When you can release your album on all the major streaming and download services for about $50, why do you need a label unless they have lots of contacts and they are going actively promote your music, or lots of money they are going to use to pay for record with a big-name producer, make an eye-catching video and buy you a tour slot with a suitable established artist with a decent sized following.

Otherwise all they are going to do is take a slice of royalties for essentially doing nothing.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 12:08 pm

Thanks. That is practically word for word my exact instinctive feelings.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby ManFromGlass » Fri May 24, 2019 1:05 pm

Or they may have a good lawyer who can slip in legalese language that says they own the copyrights to all the music your son creates. Or worse. You should ask to see a contract. And then what happens if there is a disagreement? Chances are the contract will include a phrase about the contract being valid in the USA so you would have to take them to court in the USA.

An electric violin virtuoso friend sent a recording of himself jamming to a Prince tune to the Prince organization. They liked it and sent him a contract that included phrases like "all the music you create with Prince will belong to Prince forever" and this is the kicker "any music you create in the future for any project will belong to Prince forever"
My buddy didn’t sign.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby CS70 » Fri May 24, 2019 2:11 pm

Not much, I guess.
The point of a label is contacts and marketing and, sometimes, financing production costs. Two guys with a name have likely little of that.

Of course there's moral support and the feeling of not being alone and being taken seriously, which can also be valuable, especially to a young person.. question is whether or not they will provide any of that.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby Dr Huge Longjohns » Fri May 24, 2019 2:37 pm

You should ask to see a contract.
Well obviously nothing happens without one. He's a minor so he can't even sign one.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Sat Jul 13, 2019 11:14 am

Have you looked into Ditto Music?

Prior to signing a distribution deal with Ditto, I remember signing something with a company, then they just disappeared. So ask them to send a copy of a contract, read it carefully. If you like the look of what they are offering, sign it and, most importantly, date it

Also look at getting his music / tracks with the PRS if you can to protect your sons work. Get registered with the PRS BEFORE anything else.

I do all my promotion myself, I have set up my own Facebook page, I have a twitter account and so on.

Hope this helps.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby hobbyist » Sat Jul 13, 2019 6:47 pm

Dr Huge Longjohns wrote:My son is a would-be rapper with some fairly good songs (Lil Mosey/Post Malone trap style) and is chatting with a start-up rap label in the US that, as far as I can see, has no track record, only a couple of artists and the people involved never seem to have been in the business, even. Being a teenager, my son is very excited at what he sees as an instant route to Lamborghinis and gold Rolexes. But I simply smell a rat.

Tough question, I appreciate, but I was wondering if anyone out there knows what you should expect from a small indie in terms of contract, type of promotion, type of support, etc etc.?

Thanks hugely, for any input, no pun intended.


An analogy. In book publishing there are a few large ones. Many smaller ones. And millions of self publishers.

And a number of really bad vanity publishers out to fleece the naive who think they are really being published and will succeed that way.

You need both a good book and great promotion to succeed. That means having a following and constantly growing it.

The days of signing and getting a million bucks while the publisher does the work just because your book was so great are over.

Music is pretty much the same. Does your son have a web site and a following? Does he blog? Does he get his name spread on social media?

Who says his songs are that good? Does he have reviews that laud him and help make him better known?

Without having made it already, a large label wont be likely at all. A small label will be fighting hard to get distribution and sales.

And there is the chance that it is a scam out to fleece the naive.

Check theirs reviews and ratings. Google name AND also reviews scam fraud etc.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby Stickman0_3 » Sun Jul 14, 2019 11:57 am

One most important thing I forgot to mention. Your son is talking to a small startup label in the US. You may come across ASCAP - the american equivelent of the PRS. Be aware that if your son is going to be releasing the material in the US. When you join the PRS, you will have to instruct them to collect any US royalties as I don't think you can join ASCAP if you're outside the US. Maybe someone else on here can confirm that for you. Talk to as many people as possible to get the best advice.
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Re: What is the advantage (if any) of signing to an indie label?

Postby ManFromGlass » Sun Jul 14, 2019 1:08 pm

I receive royalties from the US. There are 2 Performing Rights Organizations there - ASCAP and BMI. My PRO in Canada gives me the option of which PRO will collect on my behalf in the US for every song and cue.
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