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DIY UPDATE: What Labels DON'T Care About - Find Out Where You're Wasting Time!

There are a lot of things that bands seem to think labels cate about that I can personally guarantee you they don’t care about or they care about only minimally. Ultimately, labels really just care about 2 things: Is this a fit for the label? And: Will this make money? I wanted to dispel three big notions that bands seem to have about what labels care about.

I’ll break these down further, but I think it’s important to understand the following. Labels don’t care about whatever staff you had on a record (Most of the time), they also don’t care about any of the promotional team you hired (usually), finally, barring extreme cases, most labels are not going to be incredibly swayed by one off opening slots. Let’s deconstruct.

3. Labels Don’t Care About The Studio Staff You Hired

Here’s the thing. You can work with any producer, mastering engineer or whatever that you want if you pay them enough. Labels understand this. You coming in here flexing about a known engineer mastering you is not going to change anyones opinion. The thing is – people like that are just doing their job. They aren’t random gamechangers.

The same goes for studio musicians, mixing engineers and the like. All these people are incredibly important to hire don’t get me wrong. They can really help you get a better final product, but ultimately, if they aren’t pushing you then it’s not going to magically get you signed. The one that could potentially move the needle is hiring a hot producer, but even then he’s doing his job. If he recommended you to a label personally that might change someones opinion but otherwise? That’s not what you should be hiring these people for. What you hired them for is the thing labels DO care about – making good music. It’s simple as that.

2. Labels Don’t Care Who Else You Hired Either

This is another common, huge misconception. It doesn’t matter if you hired the freelance PR that a certain label hires too. It doesn’t matter if you got me or someone running all your ads. Maybe we can put in a recommendation IF we like you, but odds are we are drowning in a bunch of other work and this isn’t top priority.

Also – generally speaking, especially on the independent level, labels really like curating stuff on their own. That’s the whole fun the whole appeal of the gig. They aren’t usually looking at their PR companies other clients for who to sign. They are looking through their own networks, and at their submissions inbox and within their communities to find stuff to put out. So while these people are very important to making sales and growing your fanbase (Which a label DOES care about) the simple fact of having hired them isn’t carrying any weight.

1. And No – Being First Of Five For A Big Band Isn’t Changing Anyones Mind

This is the thing that fucking kills me. Bands will come in and tell me ‘Oh we opened for X, Y and Z bands,’ on local shows as if this is something I should be impressed by. It gives me no context for who you are or how you got there. Did you open for them because you were handpicked? Or was it just another buy on? Were you first of five or were you direct support?

Unless you got a major opening slot in front of several hundred people or something, or got placed on a respected festival, local opening slots don’t really move the needle for labels. They are super valuable for growing your fanbase and winning over locals, but honestly when a band tells me they opened for someone, I assume it was playing to no one at 4pm unless they can show me otherwise. Yes, these things are important if you want a label to pick you up, but they aren’t sudden game changers.

In brief – all these things I listed above are very important in temrs of having great music, making sales and growing a fanbase. They really help with that. That being said, having worked with those people or opened for certain bands is not going ot be a random game changer for you. Simple as that.

MattBacon's avatar

Cigar chomping Matt Bacon is a consultant, A&R man, and journalist specializing in the world of heavy metal. Follow him on Instagram @Bacons.Bits for daily band advice videos! He can also be found at Dropoutmedia.net.

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