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pix What Do You Know About Getting Signed And Working With A Record Label? pix
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pix pix by Christopher Knab  

Page added in August, 2008

About The Author

Throughout his fprty year career in the music business, FourFront Media & Music's Christopher Knab has shared his experience at many industry conventions and conferences, including the New Music Seminar and the Northwest Area Music Business Conference.

Knab was owner of a San Francisco music store, co-owner of the 415 Records label, and station manager at KCMU Radio in Seattle.

He currently provides a unique consultation and education service for independent musicians and record labels. His new book is entitled "Music Is Your Business".

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Visit FourFront Media & Music's web site.

Send comments or questions to Christopher Knab.

© Christopher Knab

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A True/False and Multiple Choice Test

(All questions based on material found in the book Music Is Your Business, and if you want the answers to this test, e-mail me by clicking the e-mail link in the side bar.)

1. The Demo packages you send to A&R Reps should contain exactly the same information that you would send to a club owner.

2. A&R Reps will listen to a demo as long as it keeps their attention.

3. A&R Reps participate in developing the marketing plans for their acts.

4. A&R Reps must study the current marketplace for musical trends on a regular basis.

5. Cover letters are generic. You send the same exact letter with the same content in it to all recipients.

6. The first paragraph of a Bio should contain background information on the artist.

7. An A&R Rep can help arrange the recording for an act they have signed to their label.

8. A&R Reps get paid by the artist from a percentage of their royalty rate.

9. An A&R Rep can assist in finding the right songs for an act to record.

10. When you register your copyrighted songs you are giving any potential licensees the rights to use your material for free.

11. The 4 key areas or 'Fronts' used to develop an artist's career are: Product Development, Promotion, Publicity, and Performance.

12. When designing graphic/packaging materials for demo recordings or CD releases it is important to remember that your cover art can help emphasize the music style you have.

13. After an act has been signed, the A&R department at most many major labels provide the information to be included on a CD and on all promotional materials.

14. Shopping for a record deal in this new digital music-business era is still the best way to get your music known and recognized.

15. If an artist/band insists on recording and shopping for a record deal they should include at least 7 or 8 songs on the demo recording.

16. The best way to get a contract with a major label is to party with the stars of the music scene.

17. Designing stationary with an act's name and Logo design, and contact information is an effective tool for presenting a professional impression to any gatekeeper in the music industry.

18. It is always a positive thing for an act to be involved in a "bidding war".

19. Because more and more artists and bands are building their own careers by running their music careers as a business, more acts are getting better deals whenever they occur.

20. '8x10 Black and White glossies' are standard practice for press kit photographs.

21. When a photograph is sent with a Demo package, it is important to include contact information either on the front or back of the photo.

22. MySpace.com and other social networking sites are a waste of time for bands/artists these days.

23. It doesn't matter who takes the photographs for your demo kits. Any person with a digital camera can do the job professionally these days.

24. The first sentence of a cover letter should introduce yourself, and the reason for the cover letter.

25. "Just because you can record, doesn't mean you should".

26. A controlled composition clause is a clause in a recording contract that deals with the fact that only 75% of mechanical royalties due to a songwriter and publisher of the songs contained on a recording will be paid by a record label.

27. A bio differs from a fact sheet in that the bio can elaborate on a certain fact or anecdotes about the artist, but a fact sheet must simply list those facts or anecdotes. 28. In writing a fact sheet, all the key information from the Bio should be in it.

29. To have 'ears' in the music business means you are the type of person who hears and spreads a lot of rumors.

30. When hiring a music business professional to shop for a deal, the issue of whether or not a payment up-front is due, is a negotiable point.

31. These days it doesn't matter if a person can spell or write a coherent sentence, because in the music business all that matters is the music.

32. In a bidding war, it often happens that the labels bidding for the services of a certain act want the act solely because other labels are interested in them.

33. Sending unsolicited demos to the major labels is an ineffective method of shopping for a record deal.

34. Using quotes from music industry professionals in a bio can be less powerful than describing the music on your own.

35. A good Bio, like a good song, should always have a hook, or a specific angle to it.

36. The best way to get attention to your music in the beginning of your career is to give-a-way a few songs on your website so that people can hear your music as mp3 files.

37. Today there are fewer new releases coming out each week than anytime in history.

38. 'Deal Memos' from record labels are not legally binding as a recording contract.

39. The advances given to an artist in a recording contract are exactly like the loans given by a bank, and must be paid back, with interest, by the artist.

40. Getting your music on TV shows, into video games, and other licensing deals can be much more effective these days than shopping around for a traditional record contract.

41. The subject matter of each paragraph in a bio is written in the following order:
* History and band formation info
* Comments from fans
* Current summary of activity-what you are doing now
* Additional Data and Elaboration, and
* Summary/Closing.
42. It is easier today than any time in music history to get a distributor for your music. 43. An A&R reps responsibilities at an indie label are exactly the same as an A&R job at a major label.

44. For new and/or aspiring acts, getting airplay on commercial radio is the better way to go, compared to getting airplay on Internet stations, or non-commercial college and public radio stations.

45. If an artist has not filed for registration of their copyrighted songs, it is the job of the A&R Rep to take care of that job.

46. Most Major Labels know what they are looking for when they audition new talent.

47. Leaving out contact information on demo recordings and CD labels is a leading reason why many demos get thrown away in the trash.

48. When a recording contract is being negotiated, the only people directly involved with the legal negotiations are the label's attorney and the act's attorney.

49. Putting a short video of one of your songs on www.youtube.com is a waste of times these days.

50. Which of the following is not the duty of an A&R Rep at a major label?
a. discover talent
b. book tours for the act
c. participate in marketing
d. be a liaison at the label for the act
51. Which of the following is not a reason why demos get rejected?
a. the music sucks
b. lack of musicianship
c. poorly recorded songs
d. lack of originality
e. none of the above
52. Which of the following are not 'gatekeepers' in the music business?
a. fans
b. PDs and MDs at radio stations
c. Buyers at Distributors
d. Writers for blogs, magazines and newspapers
53. In a bio, concentrating on how good the music is, is the most effective thing to say.

54. When designing a fact sheet, one of the most important sections to include is 'Musical Genre or Style'.

55. What type of information should not be included in a bio?
a. too much hype
b. marketing plan info
c. background info
d. music description
e. city/area of origin
56. The 3rd and 4th paragraph of a bio should concentrate on the current activities of the artist.

57. The 'purpose' of a cover letter is most effectively stated in the first sentence.

58. Which of the following is not a good tip for writing a cover letter?
a. Tell the reader what you want
b. addressing an unknown contact by first name
c. keep the writing style natural, positive, and personal
d. reminding person of previous contact or reference
59. In a quote sheet, which of the following sources for quotes should be kept to a minimum?
a. writers
b. radio station contacts
c. producers
d. fans
e. none of the above
60. Small press or internet posted reviews should never be included in press clippings.

61. It is more effective to select _______ of the best press clippings:
a. 2 or 3
b. 4 or 5
c. 6 or 7
d. it doesn't matter how many
62. The best way to assemble demo kit materials is:
a. in a 3 ring binder
b. stapled together
c. loose in a folder that has 'pockets' inside
d. bound
63. When in doubt what to send in a demo kit:
a. put everything in
b. presume what their profession needs
c. ask the intended recipient what they want
d. none of the above
64. A Major label will have a lot of people working on a lot of releases at any given time.

65. Today, when giving contact info, providing the media with email info is essential.

66. A quote sheet is the same thing as a press clipping.

67. A song is considered published when copies of the song have been distributed to the public by sale or by other transfer of ownership, and/or by rental, lease, or lending.

68. Legal proof of copyright ownership is accomplished by registering songs with the copyright office in Washington DC.

69. Mechanical rights and Performance rights are different names for the same source of income for songwriters and publishers.

70. A song that is used on a soundtrack for a film or TV show is called a synchronization.

71. Artist and bands who establish their own careers, and demonstrate a strong fan following are more likely to be attractive to record labels in this day and age.

72. You 'trademark' songs and you file for copyright registration for your performance name.

73. A 'hook' is that part of a song that is most memorable.

74. If you have 'investors' willing to give you money to record and market your music, you do not need to have a written contract with them.

75. The business department at a record label monitors the funds allocated for the recording budget of an artist or band.

76. A&R departments at major labels do not contact any other departments at the label because doing so could cause a lot of problems for the rep and the artist.

77. One of the main reasons why so many artists/bands fail is they believe their music is so good that someone will come along and discover them and make them a star.

78. Which of the following is not important to remember when taking band photographs?
a. background objects that distract attention from the people in the band
b. clarity and brightness issues
c. using a professional photographer
d. artist or band's image
e. none of the above is not important
79. Photographers do not have the rights to the photos they take.

80. The best way to find a competent photographer is to look in the yellow pages.

81. Which of the following is not one of the 'myths' that new artists believe:
a. people in position of power are never wrong
b. putting out your own record and building your own career is a good idea
c. a record deal means success
d. the best way to make contacts is to party with the stars
e. record labels know what they are looking for
82. The world of the A&R rep is very structured, and every rep is trained and disciplined to evaluate, search, and discover talent in the same exact way.

83. Booking agents and Artist Managers are easy to get for new bands or artists.

84. It costs more money to promote and market a recording than it does to record it.

85. Most attorneys charge their fees on an hourly basis.

86. As an artist career develops, a business manager is brought on board to handle the money.

87. For new acts, which of the following are rarely negotiated when a recording contract is offered:
a. ownership of the masters
b. recoupment issues
c. term of contract
d. exclusivity issue
e. recording budgets
88. Traditional record stores are doing better than ever in this era of downloadable music.

89. There are no governmental regulations or statutes that affect music industry contracts.

90. 'Band Agreements' or 'Partnership Agreements' are essential for any band to have if they are serious about making it in the music industry.

91. Barcodes are not necessary when releasing your own CD.

92. A music publishing company is another name for a record company.

93. ASCAP and BMI are known as Performance Rights Organizations.

94. If you have a MySpace page, you don't need to bother having your own website.

95. "Artist Development" is a term that means the same as "Product Development".

96. Independent Labels are more likely to offer some kind of "profit split" deals these days.

97. SoundExchange is the first organization to represent labels and artists in negotiating fair licensing deals in the new digital age.

98. Program Directors at radio stations do the same job as a Music Director at a station might do.

99. Today, music oriented radio stations receive between 700-800 new recordings a week that they have to listen to and decide whether to play any of them or not.

100. Today, most artists believe that that the art of recording music can be separated from the business of doing music.

NOTE: If you want the answers to this test, e-mail me by clicking the e-mail link in the side bar ("Send comments or questions to...")

The book, Music Is Your Business, is available as a printed book or a PDF book at the website of Christopher Knab and FourFront Media and Music's bookstore.

If you didn't get at least 90% of these questions right... you need this book!

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