We all that are in this arena wanna get a deal, right?
Some be like, "nah, f**k that joe! Im doin' me son...", but man, in order for us to provide for our families like we want to - it takes you (the artist) co-venturing with a Major Label or affiliates thereof.
Shit, since I was 13 I been pursuing this venture.
It seemed simple one day after watching LL Cool J's Driven on VH1.
He looked on the back of a tape, wrote down the address, and sent off his lil demo - BOOM!
DEF JAM is birthed!!!
ha! So what do I do eh...?
Didn't hear nothing back for years, matter of fact, STILL haven't heard anything back from them niggs/niggettes.
As the years progress and me being the "Critical Thinker/Observer" I am/becoming, I start to understand the ins and outs of actually having a deal.
Like, I understand the difference of the artist you are BEFORE the deal and after.
and guess what it is?...No difference
You don't get a deal off:
*you're talented (besides being Gods Gift to the world)
*your songs are "DUMB HOT!" says an A&R, Vice President, or Big Wig of a Label
*you dress nice
*you're metaphors are CRAZY!
*you have 1,000,877.6 mixtapes out
*you do ALL open mics, talent shows, etc
*your myspace page having a billion HITS lol (like anybody cant pay for that, ha!)
I wish I would've not only KNOWN but first-hand witnessed this before graduating school or stopped playin football.
Idk...it's all good now because I actually have a deal with Universal but just as I thought - things aren't as easy as they seem.
For an artist man, its all about the music - and indeed it should be.
I said to myself, "Marky, you focus on your music and being creative with each and every song you do this way you'll stay motivated and youthfully inspired"
yeah, all sounds good until "things" start changing around you.
I call these "things" *Factors* or *Variables* , sort of like Science Class lol
these variables sometimes are the essential pieces of the puzzle and one wrong move can lead
to...JENGA!!!! (google it)
Man oh man, the music industry is crazy so its hard to keep yourself 90% into the MUSIC and 10% into whats happening in your career (business wise), into the politics, into who's who, and then into the way music is changing everyday. (Thanks to Blogs tho, we can manage!)
You find yourself at about, uhm, damn near 50%/50% ya know...
and me, being the "Critical Thinker" I am makes the 50/50 seem more like 80/20, go figure!
I remember earlier this year I think...or no, it was around this time last year that Saigon was like, "I QUIT this rap game!"
Im like, how the hell you gonna quit man - you're signed dude!
This is what Im thinking while reading his blog.
This man had a nice lil buzz, was on Entourage, and signed to Atlantic Records via Just Blaze!
But then, I thought - there has to be a lot of BS behind the scenes that unsigned artist don't fully know about.
As far back as I can remember, I thought that getting a Record Deal was the victory!
That is what all the grind work is for ya know?...WRONG
You know what getting a deal means?...huh?
Well, incase you don't/didn't know - a deal means you have 1 shot and a deadline.
1 shot to pull something significant off business wise, which means bring the label back more than they dish out.
So you know those who brag on "BIG BUDGETS" and "oh, I got a 1 million dollar contract" - well, thats great but that heightens the chance of failure and null-n-void of your contract thanx to this music climate - not to say that the money doesn't/can't play a HUGE factor in your success (ie music spins on radio, video plays on tv, commercials, endorsements, etc) .
Thanx to internet and other means of stabilizing the marketplace using your own resources to get to where you need to be, smaller deals are the new "Big Budgets", I think...
Now, selling isn't a big deal anymore because of the digital marketplace and your quota (whether high or low in the sales dept - all depends on your deal structure).
The other definition of having a Record Deal, to me, is Deadline.
yeah, a deadline until you are released to the world as this artist that you are at this moment of release! (re-read slowly if it doesn't make sense lol)
What I mean is that you are now on a race across the USA to touch as many people as possible with your music.
ok, I relate it to politics - Obama wasn't as popular roughly 1 1/2 years ago right?
Well, he got on the campaign run across the country and touched the people - made them believe and feel like they are apart of him.
Back over to music - now if your music isn't all that tight meaning can't match up to what's hot now, you're coma-toast son... unless you're uniquely different lol (and not because your clothes fit extra tight)
If you can't produce something the label likes within a certain period of time w/o over extending your budget or for whatever reason, they'll drop you.
Oh man, I forgot about that point - yeah, they'll drop your ass in a heartbeat.
but the point I was talking about is now the pressures on up until your album drop to touch as many people as possible and have them believe you and feel like they are apart of you.
Before you are signed, you can go as you please.
You can develop, change your style up, try new things.
Well, all is changed once you're signed.
You can still try new things and all that, but no time - you're racing against the clock.
Note that there are 4 quarters to a year.
Jan-March (1st) Apr-June (2nd) July-Sept (3rd) Oct-Dec (4th)
These are essential in understanding buyers and customers.
People shop more when?
around holidays (obviously, due to deals and whatnot) but when else?...when the suns out! (2nd and 3rd maybe right)
Well, thats another breakdown for you guys later...but needless to say a deal isn't what you guys think it is.
I have to get across the world and I don't mean by feet neither or doing shows everywhere I touch down.
I mean radio, video, billboards, etc.
This is the resources that seems to make people BELIEVE that you are a STAR ya know?
Nobody knows you until your song is HOT and playing about 30-50 times a week.
and the messed up part about it is...its out of our (the artist) control on the first go around.
And like I said, you only get 1 shot - but its not me aiming the gun.
So does it count if it miss? :o/
(R.I.P Shakir Stewart - Vice President of Def Jam)