Which music album best represents your opinion
Sampling and cover versions
My advice is to avoid sampling at all costs, as you will need to obtain legal permission from the publisher and author of the master recording of the title you are sampling. If there really are elements of certain songs that you want to sample, I would check to see if any of these songs are pre-approved on the Tracklib sample licensing platform, which has thousands of entries. Perhaps you can also find the specific sounds you're looking for on the pages of a sample library like Splice. One of the members of my group FSQ, G Koop, is known as the "King of Sample Re-enactments". This means that instead of sampling, he actually records instruments and thus makes a new recording of an old track. If there's a riff that you really want to add to your song, instead of taking a sample of the master recording, you can also get musicians like G Koop to recreate and play the appropriate music, the riff, the hook. However, you have to contact the publisher of the song in order to get the necessary permission to publish your title with the elements (replays) of another song.
Getting a license to release your cover version of an original song is a little easier than licensing small components of another song. The process of licensing cover songs is made easier with platforms like Easy Song Licensing and Sounddrop, which charge a one-time flat fee of $ 9.99 per cover song license. Sounddrop also does a great job of licensing cover art for YouTube, which is a huge part of the repertoire of many YouTube video artists. Tunecore and Distrokid, previously mentioned, also offer licenses for cover songs starting at around $ 15 a year, provided an artist expects fewer than 500 digital downloads of their cover version.
Sign with a record company or not?
I'm primarily talking about signing your songs - be it a single with two, an EP with four to six tracks, or an entire album (eight or more tracks) - with an independent record label. Working with independent record labels can be great because they can expand your release schedule with a real investment and their own existing distribution and press networks. Some record companies are known as curators of renowned artists and certain genres, with real fans consuming all of the label's production. The ability to connect with an audience you don't already have is a tremendous addition to your release plan. There are two hurdles to overcome when signing with an independent record company. For one, it's about finding a label that is interested in your songs. On the other hand, you want to get the label to present you with terms and conditions for which it is worthwhile for you to sign a record deal.
Even if you find an ideal partner for publishing and promoting, you should stand up for yourself and make sure your music is protected before giving it away. In this column I urgently asked you to first protect your songs by registering with the US Copyright Office. If you have applied for your copyrights, you should feel comfortable offering your music to record companies. After all, you could take legal action against a record company if it steals in any form and releases your music without your consent. Another option is to upload your songs to SoundCloud, make the uploads private, and instead of sending the final masters to labels you want to apply to. One limitation is that the songs can lose some of their audio quality if you host them on a streaming service instead of sending audio in full resolution for sampling. And of course you want to show the label you are sampling your highest quality result.
Search for and application to an independent record label
There is no single best method for getting your music out on record companies. The golden rule (as with all aspects of this topic) is: the more experience you gain, the better informed you are. There are many strategies for applying. Whatever your approach, building relationships with potential partners is always a good idea. After you have had personal experiences with people at independent record companies and / or have introduced them to your music in a targeted manner, you will have an initial idea of the options available to you with regard to the release of your music with a record company and whether you can use them as your release partner wishes.
If you typically produce music for a particular genre, you will likely know artists who have a similar sound, as well as record labels that these artists release to. Unfortunately, too many independent record companies give the message "no demos please". However, many label bosses, especially in the world of club music, are also DJs. Relationship building is key when there is a label that you have an affinity with. Jack Priest, a UK based producer, sent his music to Wolf + Lamb (W + L). Behind it there is a DJ duo, Zev Eisenberg and Gadi Mizrahi, but also a record label operated by the duo. Jack sent the music to W + L with the note "Hey guys, please play my music when you hang up". So he did not try to persuade W + L to sign him as an artist, especially since there was the note "No demos" on the website. He started sending them music in 2014 and eventually W + L released a number of his DJ mixes. In 2019 they signed and finally released his album with their own compositions Harry Had to Work. Thus, it took Jack five years to develop a relationship with the label to get them to agree to release his album; Persistence is the key. Sometimes an artist's music shines so brightly that a label rushes to sign them. David Marston emailed an EP of music to club DJ duo Soul Clap without first establishing a relationship with them. They published his The Jamaicalia EP within a few months of this first email.
In addition to working with record labels that release the styles of music you like, you could also find organizations that are based on specific ideals or artist identities. While not releasing any records of their own, Discwoman is "a New York-based collective, booking agency, and event platform that represents and showcases cis and trans women and gender-specific queer talent in the electronic music community." Discwoman's slogan should remind us that alliances with like-minded groups often help us "mutually reinforce" and network.
Bandcamp and Soundcloud are great platforms for discovering the catalogs of independent record companies, for example when you are still looking for labels to sell your music on. Both platforms have direct messaging capabilities that you can use to get in touch with them. Jack Priest, whom I mentioned earlier, also signed a record deal with Green Velvet's Cajual Records by contacting the label directly through SoundCloud. These platforms have become great allies of independent music producers and labels. That's in large part due to the lack of support from major streaming services like Apple Music, Amazon Music, and Spotify, which haven't done a good job of promoting independent record labels as unique brands and curators of quality artists. So there are very few features on these platforms that support record label presentations.
The streaming / commercial platform Bandcamp is particularly attractive for independent labels because it acts as a shop window, comparable to a homepage for a label.
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