Which Deal Is Right For My Music Goals?
In the new music business, a lot of start ups are forming with the goal of helping independent artists, a classification which has never had the numbers and power it does now at any other point in history.I consider this article my duty to you, the artists, to remind you to check for disconnect between the what a music company labels themselves as, and what they do for their artists.
music business, record deal, music publishing, artist manager, artist service agency,
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Which Deal Is Right For My Music Goals?

In the new music business, a lot of start ups are forming with the goal of helping independent  artists, a classification which has never had the numbers and power it does now at any other point in history. Pop of Colour is one of them.

As part of the daily work I do, I hang out with a lot of people also dedicating their lives to helping creative people, in particular musicians, shine brighter. However, a large share of them aren’t classifying what they do correctly, and damaging their growth – and artist trust – at the same time. 

I consider this article my duty to you, the artists, to remind you to check for disconnect between the what a music company labels themselves as, and what they do for their artists.

Record Label

WHO OWNS WHAT?

If they paid for your recording time (even through a recoupable advance), they own your masters. Depending on the deal, they might own your artist image, artist name, and social media accounts too. 

Clarence highly recommends getting your own personal entertainment lawyer to review and negotiate a contract with you before signing a record deal.

However, you, the songwriter, own your publishing – just not the original recordings. This can sometimes lead to problems down the road… Ask Taylor Swift.

** READ NEXT: Build A Villainous Record Deal, And We’ll Give You An Evil Disney Animal Sidekick **

HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?

The record label is essentially a highly involved investor. They loan you the money to record, tour, and produce merch… You pay them back through the money you make through the projects, and then royalties.

HOW DO I GET ONE?

You can’t just email that you want a record deal, and get signed on the spot (if a “label” is offering this, run). Build up a buzz around your music and artist self, and they’ll come knocking.

Music Publisher

WHO OWNS WHAT?

Most publishing deals have the songwriter split 50% of their publishing royalties with the publisher. A pure publishing deal should not be asking to own anything else.

** READ NEXT: Olivia King on TikTok, Creative Control, and Making Music Moves **

HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?

Publishers will pitch the song from an artist in their roster to popular vocalists who don’t write their own music. If the vocalist records it, put it on their next release and (jackpot) picks it as a single, the performance royalties start rolling in.

Pro Tip: Stop your single from competing with the same album track on streaming services by making sure the ISRC codes match!

Posted by Pop of Colour – Music Marketing on Friday, November 15, 2019

HOW DO I GET ONE?

Like with a record deal, a publishing deal isn’t something you can sign up for without being vetted first. Publishers have the connections, and their ear to the ground for what’s new and bubbling under. Chances are that they’ll hear about you if you’re active, interesting, and educating yourself further. 

Clarence highly recommends finding other songwriters with publishing deals and asking them further questions, as this is something that varies widely between genres, cities, and artist goals.

Artist Manager

WHO OWNS WHAT?

The artist owns everything, the manager works for them.

** READ NEXT: Your Personal Brand Is An Ice Cream Cone **

HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?

Traditional managers typically make between 15-20% of what they artist makes, however salaried managers are not uncommon anymore, especially at the emerging stages.

HOW DO I GET ONE?

There are different types of artist managers – from ones who are on the ground running beside you (in which case you’ll need to look locally), to ones to call you on Skype once a week for big picture strategy. Do you research, ask other relevant artists in your genre, and make some phone calls from there.

Did you get a birthday card from me this year? Do you want one in 2020? If so, email clarence@popofcolourmusic.com with your birthday month and where to send it!

Posted by Pop of Colour – Music Marketing on Saturday, November 16, 2019

Artist Agency (Pop of Colour is here)

WHO OWNS WHAT?

While the agency may own the process of creating something, the artist owns the final product. For example, I, Clarence who founded Pop of Colour created a template for artist brand style guides – that’s my company’s. However, the artist’s brand that gets developed is theirs 100%.

** READ NEXT: Why Musicians Need To Be On Twitch by Melissa Lamm **

HOW DO THEY MAKE MONEY?

Artists pay for services à la carte – what you ask for is what you get. Permissions and rights will be clearly stated before starting. There should no strings attached, and no surprises for either or you.

If you hire me to write you an artist bio, you don’t legally need to credit me on your website, or every festival application you copy and paste it on – it’s yours.

If you hire a local graphic designer to create a logo, you can put that logo on merch without needing permission from them (unless it’s in your agreement). 

If you hire a videographer to shoot a music video, they don’t get a cut of your YouTube channel’s ad revenue (unless it’s in your agreement).

These are the 3 pillars of a worthwhile gig: Good Pay, Good Time, Good Opportunity. Aim for 2/3 or higher.

Posted by Pop of Colour – Music Marketing on Thursday, November 7, 2019

HOW DO I GET ONE?

Book a consultation today 😉 Every artist agency is different, some will work with any artist who will pay, while others are more exclusive and only take on `projects they see themselves producing high results for. Do your research, ask artists at your career level, figure out what your goals are, as well as your budget.


Label Publisher Manager Agency
Non Exclusive

X X
Owns Masters X


Owns Publishing
X

Artist Pays Them Fixed Sums

X X
Artist Pays Them Royalties X X X
Artist Works For Them X X

They Work For Artist

X X

Hope this helped, and Stay Colourful, – Clarence

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