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Music Beat

May 14, 2011

Music Industry Tips

You've expressed interest in being signed to a record label, but you've also said that it's possible to do a lot of your own sales and promotion. Those two points of view are actually quite compatible since record labels are looking for bands that have already proven their success.

Thirty years ago, record labels signed new bands and helped them to develop. The label often signed the band for a three album deal, expecting the first album to lose money but help to build the band's reputation so that the second and third albums would be more profitable. Labels funded tours as a means of helping album sales grow.

That world has changed forever. Now, labels only want to sign bands that have already proven they have a large following, good sales and a strong electronic fanbase.

Because of file-sharing and illegal downloading, it's difficult to make money selling CDs, so ticket and merchandise sales are critically important, and record labels expect to share that income.

You've already shown a good understanding of how to promote your band, so here are a few reminders of how to achieve that goal:

Build your local media contacts to get more airplay.

Join ASCAP or BMI to be eligible for performance royalties when your music is broadcast on radio, television or the Internet.

Register your songs with the Copyright Office for copyright protection (www.copyright.gov). Make a written agreement among band members about ownership of your songs and shares of any band profits or debts.

Make your website attractive, fun and customer-ready. The website should include bios and pictures of each band member, samples of your music, information about ordering your recordings and products, such as T-shirts, and an up-to-date schedule for live performances.

Get organized with social media, networking and online marketing, including Facebook and Twitter. Know how many fans follow you electronically, and have plans for increasing that number.

Work very hard, but have fun and share your fun with your fans.

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