Why Ignoring Labels is the Best Way to Get Signed

Although the music industry is evolving, it is still hard for artists to get out of the “pick me” mindset, which has been drilled into bands’ heads through a combination of the traditional record business model and endless stories of A&R scouts signing bands in dirty bars.Crane Game

I often hear artists declare from day one that their goal is to get signed to a label. The problem with this line of thinking is that it distracts you from the unbelievably difficult task of building a fanbase and developing fantastic material. You might argue that you can do both, and that, in fact, the goal of signing to a label will only excite you further and drive you to put more effort into your work. But I wouldn’t believe you.

I believe starting a project with the goal of making the most deliberate music possible, coupled with an absolutely relentless focus on turning your supporters into a true community, is a much better use of brain-space than having phrases like “would a label want this?”  in the back of your head every step of the way.

Labels don’t sign artists that want to be signed by a label. They don’t sign artists who know in their hearts that, if only a label signed them, they could do big things. Labels sign artists who are already starting a movement and turning heads. They sign artists that are completely engrained with conviction in every song they write, every stage they step on, every mailing list email they send, and every post they make on their Facebook page.

If you take it upon yourself to start your own movement and truly create something that spreads, labels will come to you. It may seem backwards, but ignoring labels is the best way to get signed. If you begin by hoping to be validated by someone else, you’ve missed the point completely.

Pick Me

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6 thoughts on “Why Ignoring Labels is the Best Way to Get Signed

  1. If you’re the shit labels will come to you they basically want you to do all of the leg work it’s they that the benefit of your already fledgling movement. If hour build it they will come

  2. i don’t know many new artists who care about getting signed … it’s so much easier to sign yourself: make it, ship it, get into communities and spread it. tony

    • Glad you think that way – still far too many do. Most experiences I have with artists revolve around their ultimate goal of being chosen by some sort of gatekeeper.

      Thanks,
      Ethan

  3. Pingback: A Few Reminders For Artists | SchiffBlog

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