Major vs. Indie: What really happens when you sign a record deal

Category: Contract

By Bandzoogle


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As the recording industry continues to battle against the steady decline of physical album sales, and now steady decline in digital album sales, it can be difficult as an independent musician to determine the best path to take for long-term growth and success.

Ultimately this crossroads is met with three separate avenues:

  1. DIY (Do It Yourself)

  2. Independent Label

  3. Major Label

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There are pros and cons to each avenue, which should be weighed carefully against what type of musician / band you are and how you expect to see growth.

DIY Pros and Cons


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100% Creative Control: No label means you have complete control over the direction of your music. You also have complete control over your marketing, and the free will to say yes or no to any opportunities that come your way. Simply put, this is the most ideal scenario possible for an artist.

100% Rights Retention: Without a label, any revenue generated from things like album sales and sync licensing deals goes right into your pocket.

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Build Your Own Team: While DIY means Do It Yourself, it doesn’t mean do it alone. You are your own boss, so you can surround yourself with the people who share in your vision and have the skills to help you to move your career forward.


Limited Resources: No label means any money for things like recording, distribution, marketing, etc. all come from your pocket.

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Limited Network: One of the biggest benefits to a label is the access to their existing network which can open significant doors and create opportunities for you and your music. Without a label, your network can be limited to those who you know directly. [...]

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