Record deals are dead.
Bil Carpenter (Bil with one l as I like to call him) is the C.O.O. of Capital Entertainment, a PR firm in Washington, DC. He is known for his work with many music artists, and for authoring the Gospel music encyclopedia, “Uncloudy Days.” He recently posted something excellent on Facebook that I thought you should read– it’s about “getting a ‘record deal’ these days… It’ll make you wonder…record deals are dead?
FROM BIL CARPENTER: Almost daily I get these calls from well-meaning people (usually over 40-years-old and not the age bracket any record exec is “looking” for) trying to break into the music biz. They say, “what are you looking for?” I’m honest. “I’m not a record label so I’m not looking for anything.” Then, they say, “Well, what are the record labels looking for?” I say, “They aren’t looking for anything either because 9 times out of ten they have a roster full of artists that they have not completely exploited because of a lack of interest, budget resources or both.”
So, my advice is that you have to create your own opportunity and identify the demographic for your music (and if you say you’re trying to reach everybody then you’ll reach no one – so select your focus group and make the music they want to hear) and then sell it to that demo and after it catches on, labels will come looking for you because the model or brand will have already been successfully established and a quick profit is within view.
Very few labels – these days – are willing to completely invent the wheel and start an artist from scratch so you’ve got to come to them already scratched up and ready to be polished. They want you to bake the cake with cage free eggs, hormone free butter, King Arthur flour, and then come to them so they can place the cherry on top of your dessert. If they really like you, they may even toss in a few crushed nuts but if they don’t dig ya, then they may just crush your nuts.
Meanwhile, rocker Joe Walsh has said that everything today is programmed; the “mojo” is missing from popular music. In other words, the human element has gone buh-bye and now it’s all computer-made sounds. Record sales? What are those? Hear Joe Walsh speak about today’s music industry here: