Find the Music in Your Heart!
Want to talk about music? This is the place to be. Keep it clean – please!
In an interview with Bobby Martin, Founder of Time Records Publishing, we requested if he could give up and coming talent an idea of what will happen, if you’re being considered for a record contract. Here goes…
Q.) Maria Elena Singer Songwriter Hi Bobby – can you please write a piece on what record companies are expecting the talent to bring to the table when they’re being considered to be signed, i.e. fans, tours, etc. I want the talent out there to understand what experience they need to have under their belt – what they need to do to prepare for their career. Let me know if this is possible.
Maria Elena Sanchez
Response from Bobby Martin, CEO, Time Records Publishing Inc:
When an Artist gets noticed by a Record Label, then it depends on the A&R (Artist & Recruitment Department) also known as A&D (Artist & Development) it usually depends on what the specifics of their contractual agreement would be, or the desires of said label. Not the Artist. The PR (Public Relations) person or promoter for the Artist who knows the ABC’s of this Business, have to know someone in this business to even get your foot in that door.
• Knowing what they are doing is the difference between getting through the door, and getting thrown out of it, or a shotgun in the ear in a very politely obnoxious manner.
• It’s not that we in this business are mean or insensitive but everyone who comes to the table believes that their work is “The best thing the world will come to know”. Or “we invested a lot so we want more…That won’t happen until you are made don’t get offended we really know what we are doing. You are an investment and like any other commodity you are going to cost lots of money that we will get back.
• That is a big mistake, and nothing could be further from the truth! If I had a dollar for every Artist who said “ I will never let you down, I will do everything you ask” I would be rich just on their empty words, but it does not work that way, we know that is very hard to accomplish for any Artist, why? They don’t know what to expect. Many try to cut corners, cheat, and do things behind their backs thinking they won’t find out… Wrong we already know everything and when we don’t we will!
• So the things that have to be presented to a label are the following: Must Do’s!
• First and foremost one must know who they are going to present your material to
• Present a portfolio of not only Fan Base, former and current venues to show the former exposure, News articles then the growth, from that time on….
• Pictures, Videos, Original Songs, Masters if available, copyrights. The less you know makes you vulnerable to the sharks that lurk right off the shore.
• Then the A&D will sit with your representative and listen……. oh about eight bars of every song if it goes any further maybe, just maybe you might have peeked their interest in perhaps one song.
• If they don’t see the A&R person really like it, they will bump it & move on to the next one and so on.
• If you hear the words “We will get back to you” forget about it. They will with a formal letter ending with, “We wish you the very best, good luck in all your endeavors” But we passed.
• Then once you are up for consideration, the bottom line is always green. You then must always prove yourself better that the first time. It is a very huge challenge! Everything will change they will get a life insurance policy in your name for the company, should anything happen to you, they get paid.
• Now the disparaging, condescending, remarks from people that don’t know anything about this business is and would be very harmful to you, your career if one listens to: “smoke gets in your eyes” from people that simply don’t know. Like I said before this is not in any book. I would love to do a book one day. I had an offer from Harvard University, from the Dean himself at the time, who was Christopher Queen to teach this: The Music Business, I put it on the back burner because I wasn’t ready to deal with the whole relocation process again although he had offered Marjalea & I everything. It is yet a consideration.
• Stay away from EGO TRIPS! They will hurt you! Be humble be who you are, if you don’t you can be replaced quickly, and blackballed in the industry.
• Make sure you go over every detail with an ET attorney (Entertainment Lawyer) before you enter into a formal agreement, what you miss they won’t, and the Industry won’t care about your ignorance either.
• The Contract Says it All! I strongly suggest it!
• I suggest singers & musicians join their local music unions in your state or several states so when a well-known artist comes to your city the union will pick the cream of the crop to play with them. (Called a RIDER) You can get that recognition, and that is very helpful and in the meantime you are making some kind of income. Maybe that is all one want’s
• Union Scale isn’t bad at all. Also not expensive.
Make many appointments with different labels so you can get the input from all, and then see where you stand. Listen…… what I write I have had firsthand experience of or i would not write it. I too was once in your shoes. Remember I was born before computers & cell phones. Now that I’m set for life, I still have to keep a watchful eye all the time!
NOTE: It is a very hard decision to give up ones entire catalog to anyone for it is ones entire life’s work not yours, or theirs to rely on.
There is a lot more to explain
I hope this has been helpful for now.
• Bobby Martin, Time Records
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