THE BUZZ: When To Sign A Recording Contract

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Welcome IndustryPlug.com readers and future moguls alike. I intend to share my experiences and insight to help empower the next generation of music executives. It’s a competitive cutthroat industry, but if we share our knowledge and resources, we’ll make it far in this game. Agreed? Now lets goooooo!

I wasn’t exactly sure of what to write about for my first IP piece until I had an interesting conversation with an aspiring manager the other day…it then all came together. Managers, Artists….DO NOT RUSH INTO SIGNING A RECORD DEAL!  I’d say that 90% of artists who sign a recording contract, sign at the wrong time or aren’t ready to be signed. In this day and age, you can pretty much accomplish everything on your own with a solid and passionate team. You want to be in a position where the label executives are harassing you to come in for meetings, and quite frankly by then, you won’t need them. With the abundance of resources the Internet provides, all that’s needed is some good music and creativity. There are people out there whose job is to introduce others to fresh new music. Bloggers…there are thousands of em around the world. Build relationships with all of them. It will take time, but Rome wasn’t built in a day…

The 3 first and most important jobs of a dope manager, is understanding timing, knowing when music is ready to be released and being able to generate exposure and awareness via social media vehicles and other outlets. If this is accomplished successfully, you will then start seeing your fan-base grow. As your fan-base grows, create a database to store their information so you can remain consistent with building your relationships with them (turn a regular fan into a loyal fan). The marketing plan will only take you as far as the music. As Chris Lighty always told me, it’s all about the music. Before you know it, you have acquired a term we here call “BUZZ.” Buzz translates into more press, more shows, and more people talking, which then gets back to the labels, and all of a sudden your blackberry is vibrating more frequently. As you’re buzzing, you’re networking and creating opportunities that lead to more awareness.

So now, you’ve created a loyal paying fan base, you are booking more shows, you’re creating merchandise via zazzle.com, and maybe even releasing free music or an EP through Tunecore.com or Topspin; all on your time without the worry of being pushed back, being shelved or having meetings with folks who don’t understand your vision. Once you have a full grasp and all of the above are being accomplished, you now have a term we here call “LEVERAGE.” Leverage means, “hey we’re doing super alright working this project independently, but if you want to work with us, you have to give us what we’re asking for. If not, call us when you’re ready to talk business.” Believe me, if a label understands that you’re generating all of this on your own and making money, the checkbook will open. You are now in the position to sign the deal that makes the most sense for YOU instead of trying to convince a label to have a meeting with you. The least amount of work the label has to do, the better. It’s a business, labels are trying to cut costs and if they can sign you for peanuts, they sure will. Everybody wants a hot item…when the time is right, expect a bidding war. Just make sure you have the right entertainment lawyer and a smidget of patience.

Keep makin’ that Noize!

A few websites all managers should know about:

• Topspinmedia.com
• Tunecore.com
• Zazzle.com
• Gigmaven.com
• Reverbnation.com
• Bandcamp.com

(Next week’s article: The Importance Of A Management Contract)

About The Author:

le’Roy Benros

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My Twitter » www.twitter.com/noizycricketLB
My Facebook » www.facebook.com/lroy320

Bio:
le’Roy Benros is the founder of the Noizy Cricket!! Artist Management & Marketing company. In his final year of attending Manhattan College in 2007 , he took on 3 internships to get his feet wet in the music industry. After gaining valuable experience as a marketing intern for Kanye West’s G.O.O.D Music and A&R intern for Sony Urban, he landed the glorious position of receptionist at now defunct TVT Records. Looking for a way to become more of an asset to the label, he proposed and co-directed the music video for Keke Wyatt’s “Ghetto Rose”. Shortly after the viral success of the video, he discovered, signed and developed his first artist –Charles Hamilton.

With his creative and relentless approach as an independent manager, le’Roy caught the attention of legendary Violator Management’s founder – Chris Lighty, who then offered him an exclusive joint venture to build Noizy Cricket!! in 2008.

le’Roy has since revolutionized the music industry with his digital marketing and branding strategies; developing and shaping the careers of artists such as XV and most recently Das Racist. Fresh of executive producing Das Racist’s critically acclaimed project – “Sit Down, Man” and returning from a successful world tour, he is expanding his company into international territories and pursuing exciting ventures.

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5 Comments

  1. joe

    May 4, 2011 at 12:43 pm

    Le’Roy : Great read…. Talent, Practice, Buzz, Leverage! TPBL!

    I look forwarding to next week’s column

  2. Sandy

    May 4, 2011 at 1:48 pm

    Congratulations,job well done! You are definetely giving many inspiring artist some of the most credical insight in the music business. keep it coming!!!

  3. le'Roy

    May 4, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    @joe @sandy, thx for the feedback.. lookin forward to ur readership.. till next time!

  4. Erica

    May 4, 2011 at 7:28 pm

    Great article Leroy! Aspiring artists need to take note. Keep em coming.

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