desktop-foldersI’ve grown to love my desktop folders. I never thought I’d have the need to write that line, but it’s true.

I love them because every time I create a new one it means something has come to pass. They represent forward movement. A new adventure in this musical journey needing a shiny new folder.

When I first decided to pursue a music career, my “Audrey Music” directory looked pretty sad.

It consisted of one lonely folder named “Facebook Music Page”. In this folder was a hodge podge of pictures I took myself at home, no music other than my poorly filmed and recorded YouTube covers and a pretty amateur looking cover photo (I just really felt the need to link to it. Visuals…it’s all about the visuals!).

It wasn’t much, but it was a start. Fast forward to today and that directory is filling up pretty quick!

Desktop foldersSome of my favorite folders have been:

  • Most recently Folder #1 (Awards).
     
    This folder was created because I won my first music award! I won San Diego musician of the Year from Raw Artists. Pretty sweet.
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  • Creating folder #4 (DNT) was awesome, because it meant that I now had a manager! Woo hoo! (I have a feeling this list is going to contain a lot of exclamation points)
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  • Folder #5 (Live Music) contains a ton of fun.
     
    It was first created though because of an awesome cover band that I joined and rocked the stage with for about 3 years. I ended up stepping down from the cover band to focus full time on my favorite folder of all…..Folder #8.
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  • Ahhh…Folder #8 (Music).
     
    The MUSIC to the AUDREY MUSIC directory. You were the goal all along, but it took the years of living life, chasing my dreams, failing, succeeding and failing some more before I could make you.
I could enthusiastically tell the story behind each folder, but I’ll save that for another blog post. The point of this particular post (believe it or not) is Folder #11 (Record Labels).

Yep, it happened. I got an offer!!

I also turned down the offer so don’t get too excited. Scratch that….get excited….I got a freakin’ offer! I know I’m still excited about Folder #11, even though I didn’t find my Record Label home. And honestly I’m not even sure I want a label at this point.

This label in particular was actually really great in terms of what they stood for. They only sign artists that create ‘positive’ , ‘thought provoking’ or otherwise empowering music which was refreshing. The people are great, what they stand for is great, but as I was reading through pages and pages of contracts, I was reminded of why I am an entrepreneur to begin with. Ownership and creative freedom.

Now, all contracts are different. No two are alike. But, what I’ve come to learn is that, many record deals are essentially a bank loan with a bad “interest rate”. 
If I got a loan for example, all I would have to do is pay it back. If I signed with a label, not only do I need to pay them back what they invested, but now they own the copyrights to all my songs, they own the publishing rights, intellectual property, they get a cut of my show income, my merchandise and much more for as long as I am with them.

Not only that, but I don’t have to run all my decisions by my loan officer. With a label you do. This particular label you retained a ton of creative freedom, but they still required a mutual final decision on everything.

Now I’m not saying to go out and get a loan. I actually wouldn’t recommend that at all.

I WOULD recommend earning some extra money using your talents so you don’t owe anybody anything.

Also you have to think about your goals as a music artist.
I’m not so sure I want the insane lifestyle that comes with being an artist signed to a major label. There are so many people making bank in their music careers, have sold out shows and tours,  a massive following and they’ve never been signed or even hit the “mainstream”. I feel like the politics is crap in the mainstream world. If I can reach people organically through social media, not owe anybody fat chunks of my income and avoid all the politics why wouldn’t I?

Again, no two record deals are the same. I suppose one day I could get handed a deal that makes sense for me. Until then….

Unsigned Artist,

signature-audrey-heart

P.S. I am by no means an expert on label shopping. On the contrary this is a brand new world for me and I barely scratched the surface of the pros/cons/things to consider. I recommend Googling “Pros and cons of signing with a label” and “360 deals” to start. There is a plethora of great info out there.

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