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When Record Deals Go Wrong, Pt 2.

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#1 Jonathan Parker

Jonathan Parker


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Posted 26 June 2008 - 08:53 AM

Yesterday we began talking about how new artists can often lose their record deals based on a number of factors. In the first part of the blog, we talked about Tigah, an Atlanta based artist who lost his deal when his project was pushed to the back burner in favor of label mate Bow Wow, who was more popular at the time. Today, we’ll discuss other reasons why albums are placed on hold, or scratched all together.

Chris Standring is a contemporary jazz musician and the founder of A&R Online. He’s answered hundreds of questions from new artists on recording industry practices and standards. Chris was able to offer quite a bit of insight into why and how new artists’ dreams of stardom are deferred.

Here are a few of the reasons Chris offered:

- It can take a long time for a record company to court an artist or group, and then even longer for contracts to be negotiated. Once the deal is locked in, the label has to schedule the release and the band has to record their album. Therefore from the beginning of courtship to the time an album is slated for release could quite easily be two to four years, often to the disappointment of the artist.

- If the A&R representative that originally championed the singer or band gets fired or leaves the company, there’s a strong chance that the label will drop the artist unless they have a track record. Once a new A&R representative comes on board, he often has his own vision and is more interested cultivating talent that he or she has personally scouted.

- Bands sometimes fall apart during the courting/signing and scheduling periods. The label may determine that one member doesn’t have the right look for the band, or the personal problems or bad decisions of one member may chisel away at the band’s relationships. These changes and challenges can be difficult for a band to overcome.

- Sometimes artists that had potential simply deliver a poor final product. If the album does not contain any marketable songs (something radio stations can strongly get behind) then the label may decide to terminate their contract.

- Last but not least, the record company can go bankrupt, causing a band to be stuck in limbo until legal issues are resolved.

These scenarios are not meant to discourage you, but to give you a clearer picture of industry practices so that you’re prepared for the challenges that you may face.

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