Former The Downtown Fiction drummer and current From Indian Lakes manager, Eric Jones, wrote a blog about signing a record deal, what it means for bands, the misconceptions behind it, and advice for young bands - check it out here.
I think a big misconception amongst young bands is that signing to a label is the end-all be-all. That it is the pinnacle of your career. But hereís the truth: at best, itís a platform to build off of. I wish someone wouldíve told that to me when I had first signed. I hate to say it, but I got a little lazy. The entire band did. We waited for the label to make us rich and famous, as if the label could churn out the hits, put a few 0ís in our bank accounts, and afford me my mansion in Bali.
Sound advice and straight to the point: bands can never stop creating and being hungry. What some bands (maybe) fail to realize is that they need the label more than the labels need them. This isn't always true, but I would argue that today it most definitely is. If the band doesn't deliver, the label can find one that is more committed and hungry, who absolutely will deliver. It's as simple as that.
I would also say that smaller labels, who help smaller bands, need to share equal workload when pushing the music. That's not to say the band should use bullshit tactics - ie twitter and "follow" bait I see all the time in this scene - but they need to care about their music just as much as the labels who are taking a chance and representing them.
Great read. Well said Eric. Good honesty in there. While working at Fueled By Ramen, I tried to convey the same message when speaking to young bands and bands I was able to sign. If anything, the real work starts when you SIGN the deal.
Bands should remember that they are an investment to the label. Bust your ass, build your platform, show the label you are a sound investment, (have your lawyer) make sure they heavily invest in you, and then work with them and make sure they are chasing their investment. Dude is right, don't get lazy once you sign - you'll just show them they may have made a bad investment.