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How do you make a record label contract? is THE website for musicians wanting to start their own record label without spending thousands of dollars on legal fees. Under these deals, the record label pays for various expenses for the artist, such as creation, distribution, and marketing, and in exchange gets a (large) percentage of any money earned.

How long does a record label contract last?

In legal jargon, this is known as the “term” of the agreement. Normally, there is an initial term of one year. On top of that, the record label normally has the option to extend that typically also for a year at a time. Sometimes the option is unilateral for the record label, sometimes the option has to be agreed to by both the record label and the artist. Generally, record labels prefer longer terms, and artists prefer shorter terms.

What percentage does a record label take?

Obviously, it varies. For artists just starting out, typically 20% is a reasonable deal. The more popularity the artist already has, the higher the percent possible. Similarly, the larger the label, the higher the percentage they take.

Do record labels pay for tours?

It depends on the specifics of the deal. Typically, if this is done, the artist will receive a lower percentage of the profits, as the label is setting up and promoting the tour.

How much do record labels pay artists?

It depends what is negotiated. Anything from 10% to 50%, with 20% being a reasonable deal for an artist staring out.

What is a 50/50 record deal?

A 50/50 deal means that the record label keeps 50% of all profit and the artist gets 50% of all profit (revenues less any expenses).

Do record labels ask for money?

A record label pays the artist, not the other way around. If you are asked for money upfront, there is the strong possibility of the deal being a scam. There are also vanity record labels that work similar to a vanity book publisher, but these are unlikely to help the career of an artist much.

Do record labels own your music?

Sort of. Under the typical record label deal, the artist assign the copyright in all recording for the life of the copyright.

Why do artists sign to record labels?

The biggest advantage is that it allows the artist to focus on the creative aspects, and the record label to focus on the business and marketing aspects. Record labels can also help with funding, business expertise, connections, and handling a lot of tasks that would take up the artist’s time.

How do I start a record label with no money?

Well, “no money” is not possible, but you can start a record label on a budget with careful cost management. To do so, focus on what has the most impact at the least cost: a professional website, digital music releases, and handling press and publicity on your own.


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