Naive music biz question
November 5, 2007 11:56 AM   Subscribe

Babe-in-the-wood-music-biz-filter: just suppose I come across an utterly winsome and amazing and yet unknown pop-ensemble from Eastern Europe:

suppose they sing in English: suppose they have never performed a concert: suppose they don't even have a Myspace page: and for the sake of this question put your skepticism on hold and suppose they are indeed winsome and amazing: to which Someone should I send a recording of their work and, in sending a recording of their work to this Someone, how should I safeguard my chance to make money out of them myself?

You're going to ask what they sound like: well, don't quote me, but it's a rich and slushy latino sound, highly ironic and parodic but can't help being sexy with it, the male-vocal lyrics too.
posted by londongeezer to Media & Arts (10 answers total) 2 users marked this as a favorite
Read this for a few ideas, and don't get your hopes up. I'm not sure why you'd plan on making money yourself though.
posted by ludwig_van at 12:06 PM on November 5, 2007

I don't see any way for you to make money out of it. I think it would be wrong to even try unless you had a formal agency agreement with the group.
posted by Steven C. Den Beste at 12:07 PM on November 5, 2007 [1 favorite]

(Particularly the bit about PR companies at the bottom)
posted by ludwig_van at 12:07 PM on November 5, 2007

You could basically start your own record label and release the recording yourself. What that entails is paying to have the songs recorded if they're not already, get the record mastered, manufactured, distributed in stores and online, get photos and videos done, then buy some advertising so it gets some press, and arrange tours). Like every venture under the sun, all it takes is money and some specialized knowledge, and there is no guarantee of making a particular amount of money due to the vagaries of pleasing an audience. Someone who already has a record label going would have that specialized knowledge already, so if all you're bringing is the discovery of the band, I don't think the label would include you in any profits. But you could potentially make an arrangement with a label by partnering with them -- invest some money towards the making and promoting of the band, and then you would profit share.

Your description of the project puts me in mind of Migala.
posted by xo at 12:35 PM on November 5, 2007

The way to make money is to become the band's manager, meaning you'd contract with them to handle affairs like business negotiations, contracts, tours, etc. Given your stated lack of experience in the music industry, this might be a hard sell to the band members, since they'll likely have no interest in handing over management responsibilities to someone who doesn't know what he's doing.

On the self-promotion side, put up a MySpace page, create a web site, get some money and make a record, even if it's just a demo or an EP. This part is relatively simple and straightforward (though not necessarily easy), though it does require money for making the record, touring, pressing CDs, paying for hosting, printing t-shirts, etc.

Unless you (or the band) plan on creating your own label, then most likely you'll just be using this as a jumpstart to the next stage, which is courting record labels.

Here are a few links: 1 2 3 (I just plucked these off Google and only skimmed their contents but they seem to be a pretty good general orientation. For more, just search Google for "how to get record deal" or something similar.)

In general, I think you'll find the whole process difficult and discouraging, and even more so if the band in question is in a different country than the label (and thus the A&R guy can't just go down to a club to check them out, assuming he likes the demo).
posted by camcgee at 12:54 PM on November 5, 2007

The way to theoretically make money ...
posted by camcgee at 12:56 PM on November 5, 2007

Response by poster: ludwig_van thanks for v useful link; steven c den beste i agree about agreement, of course; xo i liked migala, yes, but these people are taking themselves less seriously, in a way; camcgee the link you gave doesn't work for me, but i can see from your description what a hard sell all this might well be. i'm tempted to put up a link to let you hear what i'm talking about, but i wouldn't want anyone to think i'm shilling for people i have in fact not even met...
posted by londongeezer at 1:59 PM on November 5, 2007

Obligatory music biz reading: The Manual.
posted by papafrita at 2:05 PM on November 5, 2007

Get your cigar out, say "Girlsh, am gunna take ya to tha tapp" and become their manager. You'll get your dollar big time that way.

Link would be good too.
posted by fire&wings at 4:13 PM on November 5, 2007

you need to be a manager before you can think of approaching us labels, for legal reasons (i.e. something in writing saying 'we, band blahblahblah give londongeezer the right to represent us in all business matters etc etc'. After that, I would start with indie labels that have bands that sound similar. Can they tour in the US? Are they cheap to record? Do they (hopefully) already have music recorded? Feel free to MeFi mail me if you have more questions.
posted by softlord at 5:06 PM on November 5, 2007

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