How to Land a Recording Contract


If you are a young independent music artist and you want to land a recording contract, you must understand how different the music industry has changed from the “old days.”

In former years, if you had a sound you wanted to get out there, you had to convince a recording label that you had something marketable, and then somehow convince them they could make money with you.  They would then take you under their wing and build you up gradually until you could create something that people wanted to hear.  That included vocal training, dancing lessons if you needed it, how to properly use a recording studio, and how to conduct yourself when working with accompanying artists.  Meanwhile, the record companies would take care of the marketing by promoting you and your music to the world.



In this day and age, you must be skilled in all of these areas, including the marketing of your brand and establishing a fan base, to have the greatest chance of landing a serious deal with a record label.

Before you approach these major music corporations about a deal, you have to be able to prove that you are serious about your music, confident in your ability as a performer, and knowledgeable about marketing your music. You have to be ready to perform on a moments notice, understand how recording studios work, know how to cut a record or a CD, and how to effectively promote what you put out. This includes online social networking sites such as FaceBook and MySpace, blogs, and other outlets to maximize your exposure such as iTunes and Sirius satellite radio.

The bottom line is that you must possess these key skills for major labels to take you seriously as a music artist.

Another key skill to have in order to land a recording contract is the skill of negotiation. When you are made an offer by these record labels, you need to be prepared. Knowing what these recording contracts entail beforehand can give you an edge during negotiations and prevent you from signing a bad deal.
Keep in mind that all contracts are open for negotiation. However, there are some basic things the music artist should know about what they are getting into. Here are a few examples:


  • The producer will ensure you have all the rights to your product. – You and the producer will agree on any fees paid to them.
  • Even if the work performed by the artist is halted, that will not affect his rights to the work he creates.
  • Recording sessions will be conducted by the producer and the artist will pay all costs associated with that production.
  • After the work is completed, the producer will deliver to the artist the agreed form of recording such as tape, CD, record, etc.
  • The contract will usually indicate that the producer will receive a percentage of the royalties.
  • The producer will usually warrant his work.
  • The producer will usually require the artist to give them the credit as producer of the artist’s product.
  • Both parties agree to hold harmless the other for third party interactions.
  • The artist will not be bound to the producer because of their relationship.
  • If the artist fails to live up to his part in the contract, the artist will give up all rights to his product.
  • Finally, if the independent music artist does something else with the product, he is under no obligation to compensate the producer any further than what was agreed in the contract.

If you are going land a recording contract these days, you must understand that times have changed. No longer do record labels carry their artists as they used to.  You must come to them prepared to hit the ground running with all the skills you need to start creating your product.  This includes vocals, any dance routines you may need, how to conduct yourself in a recording studio and how to effectively promote your product.

In addition, you must understand the recording contract itself in order to successfully perform your part of the agreement and successfully reap the benefits. Knowing all this will greatly aid you in landing a recording contract and live your dreams as a music superstar.

Of course, signing a recording contract with a major record label is one route you can take towards superstardom. The music artist that chooses the independent route has more tools to help them achieve their dreams than ever before. Thanks to the internet, gaining access to the talents of skilled music producers and industry quality instrumentals for your projects is only a click away.


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