How Do Record Labels Help Artists? Complete Guide

By Tiara Ogabang

Mutualism at its finest

Few industries have seen as much change as the music industry over the past quarter century.

The presence and function of record labels to, has changed dramatically.

Well historically it has been true and is still somewhat true today) that record labels can serve as choosy gatekeepers, it is also true that there is much to be gained from a mutually beneficial partnership with a record label.

More than meets the eye

More than meets the eye

It can be difficult to see exactly what record labels do to help artists.

There is much that is obvious, such as providing a marketing budget, or access to “connections” that may help an artist accel.

I’ll record labels may be different, but there are a few key ways in which they should all help an artist.

This guy goes over some of the ways that a records label may help its artist so that both the artist and labor experience benefits of a working relationship.

First steps: Promotion

First steps: Promotion

What are the most clear-cut and influential things a record label can do for an artists to help them promote their music.

Marketing tends to be a factor that separates mid tier musicians from their low tier and high tier counterparts

People don’t often understand exactly how much money goes into breaking big artists. The artist you see on TV (And even some that you don’t) typically have multi million dollar marketing budget behind them.

Don’t take it for granted that you see those artists everywhere, behind each megastar there is a carefully oiled marketing machine that ensures their prominence.

Huge social media and YouTube numbers don’t come overnight. Promotion and effective marketing are the key strategies that can help an artist accel.

Self-promoting as an artist

We’re not saying this so that you feel bad for not having a gazillion dollar marketing budget. On the contrary, the reality is that these days, there are WAY more opportunities to market yourself independently than there ever was before.

Be aware that it can take a while for you as an artist or manager to learn about all the ways you can effectively market a musician.

We’ve put together additional materials to help you learn about self-promotion:

Next steps: touring

Next steps: touring

Another key way that record labels help artists is by helping them book shows.

Musicians often have a tough time getting books for shows, sometimes even in their local area. Record labels can take the headache out of finding and booking new venues both nationally and internationally.

Many record label employees and executives have access to competent booking agents across the industry for all sorts of different genres and themes.

Since booking and playing shark is one of the most important ways to market yourself as a musician (not to mention generate revenue), it makes sense that this is one very oft-cited reason as to why artists sign with record labels in the first place.

Self-booking gigs

If you are an artist seeking to book shows for yourself, do you want that it may not be a complete walk in the park.

Often times venues have a very tightknit network of people with whom they will confirm showtimes. Unless you know the right people, it can be difficult to break into any given net worth in a region.

At the same time, if you manage to wrangle success in the realm of booking shows for yourself, this is one good way to actually get the attention of record labels who may be interested in signing you.

One of the fundamental Truths of a successful music career is that it pays to do as much as you possibly can before you sign a record deal.

For most careers, there will always be a point at which it makes sense to sign a deal. But the more success you generate on your own, the more in your favor you can dictate the terms of your record deal-to-be.

Intangibles: otherwise known as “magic”

Intangibles: otherwise known as “magic”

Not every record label is going to be a good fit for any given artist.

The truth is that there always has to be chemistry between an artist and their label—to ensure that the artists in a position to best deliver their creations.

There have been countless examples of artists who have become stressed out or even debilitated on account of their relationship with their record label.

Working with a label that you don’t vibe with is a sure-fire way to not only kill your career but also your interest in music in general.

On the flip side, however:

If a label signs an artist that is a particularly good fit, there is a lot to be gained in the relationship between artist and label that is difficult to define by any one technical task the label may perform on behalf of the artist.

There are all sorts of intangibles that a label may provide an artist that are difficult to see and quantify but can end up paying off big when it comes time for the artist to start putting out their music.

These things include collaborations with artist that are signed the same label, access to festivals that the label my host or put on, etc. So long as there is a team that is dedicated to building up their roster of artists, you an artist well will derive massive benefit.