Record labels convince naive kids they’re rock stars. Then they “cast” artists in a role to fit what they need, they write songs by committee, and their whole world revolves around the “second single.”
Now before all of you in the recording industry start writing nasty comments and emails to me, I’m not the one who said all that!
Former Universal Republic artist Spose said he learned some great lessons from being signed to a label; and the comments above are his, about some of those lessons.
So does this mean a record deal is bad? Not at all!
I read these comments by Spose when music industry analyst and critic Bob Lefsetz pointed them out in his article Odds & Ends a few months ago, along with this comment, “This is the best non-sour grapes delineation of what it means to make a deal with a major I’ve ever read. It illustrates that first and foremost major labels are about money, not art, and you should never forget this.”
Lefsetz and Spose both point out something I’ve always said… the record industry generates income by selling records (of course!). But for the artist, those recordings shouldn’t be the “be all and end all” of their career. Those recordings are really promotional tools for their live show — and the live show is where the artist will generate income!
Of course there are a few artists whose recording will “win the lottery” with a hit. But for every artist who writes & records the hit song, there are millions of artists who make nothing (or virtually nothing) from their recordings.
Is that all bad news? Not necessarily.
Spose says his #1 lesson learned was that he didn’t require a label to connect with fans and make a decent income. He has found that with a small, loyal fan base, he can make the music he wants to make and still have a profit from sales that will support his needs. Of course, he had a hit song to begin with and that helped him gain some notoriety. That’s part of the reason he can sell a lot of records. But even Spose continues to tour with a live show, and no doubt that’s because he’s found it’s a great way to connect in a “high touch” way with his audience.
Here’s my encouragement to those of you who haven’t had a hit song and sold millions of records: you have your live show — what you do onstage — and that’s what will generate most of your income.
Your live show — what you do onstage — is what will give you the opportunity to share your passion and love of music with others.
Your live show — what you do onstage — is what will give you the opportunity to emotionally connect with others, to encourage, and to transform their thinking with the message you are bringing.
Your live show — what you do onstage — is where your fulfillment as an artist can be realized!
So, how important do you think it is to learn the fundamentals, design, plan, and develop your live show?