Archive for September 4, 2011

Industry Tips and Advice: Should I Stay Independent Or Sign To a Major Label?

In This Article Written by Jeff Mclaughlin he tackles this question….
I have been asked often, “Are you anti-major label?” My answer is, “No!” I am pro-major label AND pro-indie. Even after all of the shifts in the music industry, there are still times that it is advantageous for an artist or band to sign with a major label.

I did an interview with Brad O’Donnell – Sr. VP of A&R for EMI Christian Music Group back in June of 2003 while he was actually still the A&R Director for Sparrow Records before they were bought out by EMI. A lot of what he had to say then is still relevant for today. I am going to post a portion of that interview below.

JEFF: When is it more advantageous for a musician to stay independent rather than to sign with a major label?

BRAD: Good question! I think there are times when it’s more advantageous. I think there are hundreds of reasons. You have to decide what it is that you want to accomplish (like anything else in life) and the best way of getting there. For example – this is just one example of literally hundreds of reasons why it might be better to stay independent. If you’re at the stage in your life where you don’t want to travel anymore or really support your record, and you can’t imagine going on the road for two hundred, three hundred days a year supporting your label, it’s probably better to stay independent. Any record label that’s going to invest many hundreds of thousands of dollars in your career is going to expect you to be out on a national level promoting your record full time. And I think some people get to a stage in their life where they just don’t want to do that anymore, or, it’s just not how they’re wired. It’s not how they want to spend their time. They love making music, but they’re not willing to put up with all that.

I think another reason to stay independent is when it’s only about the music for you. I’ve seen a lot of really talented musicians, really gifted people [decline signing with a major label] once they find out everything that goes into having an artist’s career. You know, music is a huge part of it, and certainly the most important part of it – but there’s also going to radio stations and promoting your record. There’s going to retail stores and meeting and supporting the people who support what you do. There’s going to sales conferences to let your distribution company and your record label know who you are and what you’re up to. There are so many things that don’t involve music that are required in order to give your record a shot to succeed. If those sorts of things aren’t interesting then you’re probably better off staying at an independent level.

JEFF: When is the optimum time in a musician’s career to sign with a major label?

BRAD: Again, a tough question because it’s hard to be specific. There are a lot of different reasons that it might make sense to sign. When there’s enough heat, when your song is getting played on local radio and you’re getting lots and lots of opportunities to tour, play and to open up for people; and when you have a mailing list that you can barely keep up with. All those things say that your ministry is ready to move on to a national level and you need the support and the help of a record label.

This is great advice from Brad. But now, let’s look at the other side of the coin. There is a friend of mine who is independent and plays nationally. He has been offered major label deals, but has turned them down. I am not going to share who he is with the public because I am going to share some personal things that he has shared with me. He told me that he generates well over $300,000.00 worth of revenue as an independent artist that tours nationally. Why would he decline those major label offers? A better question is; why would he sign with a major label? He already tours nationally. He has a very commercial CD and an incredible band that tours with him. He does very well without the help of a major label. Why would he share his revenue with them?

So, if you get a major label offer, you must weigh out all of the options/pros and cons before signing. Signing with a major label can be a huge opportunity! It can also be exactly what you don’t need. Ask yourself the following questions:

• Am I able to accomplish everything that the label can offer without the label?

• Am I able and willing to do everything that is necessary to support the record that is funded by the label while remaining within my own mission and ministry focus?

Pray and ask for guidance. You will know if this is a door that was opened by God. If you never get a major label offer, don’t be discouraged. It simply may not be in God’s will for your life. I am here to tell you that, for an artist or band that works hard, it is possible to tour nationally or even internationally on a full time basis without the help of a major label. It can happen.

Jeff McLaughlin

Article: Nas, Lauryn Hill, Wu-Tang, Mobb Deep, Slaughterhouse, Erykah Badu and More Rock The Stage at Rock The Bells.

NEW YORK — Thousands of rap fans gathered in hip-hop’s birth city for a daylong celebration of the genre’s classics. Nas, Lauryn Hill, Erykah Badu and Wu-Tang Clan’s Raekwon and Ghostface Killah all performed at the Rock the Bells 2011 festival on Governor’s Island in New York City on Saturday (September 3).

The musical tour was comprised of four stages, including the main Rock the Bells stage, the Wu-inspired 36 Chambers stage and the underground-themed Paid Dues stage. More than 20 acts, including Mobb Deep, Slaughterhouse, Black Moon, Big K.R.I.T., the Immortal Technique and GZA, performed, with some dedicating their sets to their own classic albums; others devoted their shows to just a gang of fan-favorites.

The festivities kicked off at approximately 2 p.m. ET, and started off slow. Wu-Tang Clan’s GZA fumbled through his 1995 sophomore album, Liquid Swords, as concertgoers ping-ponged back and forth between stages. Cypress Hill ran through selections from their Black Sunday LP. Marijuana anthems like “I Wanna Get High” and “Hits From the Bong” set the tone for a smoke-filled set that mixed equal parts rap, rock and Latin soul.

Mobb Deep didn’t disappoint. Although they were advertised to perform only their 1995 breakout album, The Infamous, the Queens, New York, duo did so much more. In addition to tracks like “Shook Ones Pt. II,” “Survival of the Fittest” and “Give Up the Goods,” the Mobb dove into their catalog of street bangers, including “G.O.D. Pt. III” and “Quiet Storm,” as well.

MTV Jams’ 2011 Fab 5 inductee Big K.R.I.T. found his set overlapping with that of the Mobb’s Havoc and Prodigy, but he was still able to draw a sizable crowd on the Paid Dues stage. The gatherers bounced energetically to Southern-fried selections like “Glass House” and “Country Sh–,” proving that it wasn’t just a day for rap veterans.

After drawing fan criticism about her previous live shows, Lauryn Hill promised at the beginning of her set to perform the songs from her The Miseducation of Lauryn Hill album as they were recorded. Unfortunately, the plan was thrown out the window pretty quickly as she rapped to a ridiculously sped-up version of “Lost Ones.” In fact, many of Ms. Hill’s classics were performed quite differently from how fans may have remembered. Still, she did thrill audiences with almost-flawless renditions of “Doo Wop (That Thing)” and “To Zion.” There was also a Fugees reunion of sorts when Pras joined his former partner to rock “Ready or Not,” but the warring Wyclef was nowhere to be found.

Before Hill could finish her set, Raekwon and Ghostface took to the 36 Chambers stage on the other side of the field. They opened with “Striving for Perfection,” the opening skit from Rae’s Only Built 4 Cuban Linx … , and then tore into “Incarcerated Scarfaces,” “Criminology” and “Ice Cream.” It was a ’90s-era dream come true, but unfortunately hip-hop’s faithful were forced to choose, because halfway through Rae and Ghost’s set, the night’s headliner Nas, started his show on the main stage.

At around 10:30 p.m., the crowd gathered at Nas’ stage, which was decorated with props made to mirror his native Queensbridge, New York, housing project. There was a backdrop with buildings, a real lamppost, project benches and a gate that stood as the entrance. It was 17 years ago that Nasir Jones dropped his highly regarded debut, Illmatic, and on Saturday night he maneuvered through the 10-track masterpiece starting with its opener, “Genesis.” With DJ Premier backing him, Nas rapped the words to “N.Y. State of Mind” and “It Ain’t Hard to Tell” with a ferocity that recalled the young MC in 1994.

Nas did, at times, depart from the Illmatic theme, treating his day-one fans to something special. First, he brought out MC Serch to perform their 1992 underground banger “Back to the Grill.” Next up, he invited Joe Fatal, Akinyele and Large Professor to do “Live at the Barbeque,” the 1991 song that gave Nas his rap debut.

From there, it was a full-on party as the Braveheart MC did his new single “Nasty,” invited Lauryn back out for their collabo “If I Ruled the World” and closed with the hyped-up “Made Ya Look.”

Before he left closed out the night, Nas shouted, “I love you New York City,” and it was apparent that NYC loves him back. MTVNews

Quote Of The Day

‎”My will shall shape the future. Whether I fail or succeed shall be no man’s doing but my own. I am the force; I can clear any obstacle before me or I can be lost in the maze. My choice; my responsibility; win or lose, only I hold the key to my destiny.” – Elaine Maxwell

Industry Tips & Advice: How to Recruit People for Your Street Team

Learn how to approach people to be a part of your street team. Learn how to get people excited to join your street team and market your music. Distributed by Tubemogul.

Article: Oscar De La Hoya Admits To Taking Pictures Dressed In Drag.

Boxing superstar Oscar De La Hoya has finally admitted he posed in a wig, high heels, and ladies’ lingerie for photos he previously claimed were altered and paid $20 million to cover up, according to a Spanish-language interview with Univision.

When the photos with model Milana Dravnel first leaked in 2007, the world-famous boxer, often dubbed “the golden boy,” originally claimed they had been altered to include his likeness, but now says he posed for them while high on alcohol and cocaine, reports the New York Post. De La Hoya, who has been sober since May, finally admitted the truth Tuesday, saying he contemplated suicide at the time.

“Let me tell you, yes, yes, it was me [in those pictures],” he now says. “I am tired now of lying, of lying to the public and of lying to myself.”

In 2007, De La Hoya attempted to discredit Dravnel’s photos, so she filed a federal lawsuit against him, claiming that the boxer’s representatives deceived her into agreeing that the photos were manipulated.

They eventually settled the lawsuit out of court with a confidentiality agreement.

But, according to the Post, “courthouse sources confirmed Wednesday that De La Hoya paid $20 million to buy her silence. The deal also called for her to give back the heels, lingerie, and fishnets that she kept after their kinky photo session.”


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