Chances are you can name a few well-known record labels. And the fact that they sign artists probably hasn’t eluded you either. But when it comes to the complete package, few know what a record label is all about. Read on, as we are on the verge of offering you an exclusive insight in the world of one of the largest Electronic Music labels of the globe, based in the Dutch capital Amsterdam: Armada Music.
How do I get signed?
If you think you’ve made the next chart-breaking, worldwide hit single and you want your music to be heard by Armada Music, you will be dealing with the A&R Department (Artist & Repertoire) of the record label in question. This department is widely regarded as the most popular part of a record label, as its main task is to scout future stars and talents from all around the world and reel them in to their artist roster. Depending on the size of the record label, the A&R department can be divided into smaller parts, based on genres. For instance, Armada Music’s A&R department is split into several classes. There’s an A&R manager for Deep House, Trance, Progressive House, and several A&R managers for the Armada Music label, where various musical styles can be found. In addition, Armada’s sublabel The Bearded Man releases music that is ground-breaking and genre-crossing, thus it can’t be labeled in one specific genre.
The odds are in your favor and the A&R-department thinks your track has potential! What’s next?!
The A&R managers get an overwhelming amount of daily demo submissions, more than often counting up to hundreds of tracks a day. Many of them, however, are not (yet) good enough to immediately schedule for release. When an A&R manager seems to take a liking in one of your submissions, he will contact you and guide you in fine-tuning the record.
How will my track be distributed?
As soon as your record is ready to be unleashed, all that remains is the artwork to give your record its very own identity and to promote the track with all music fans. In accordance with the A&R manager, an artwork will be made to carry out the message of your track or you as the artist. The artwork will appear on all portals, online (e.g. Youtube, iTunes, Beatport, Spotify) and offline (CDs & DVDs), and will feature as a promotional method to get the audience to discover your record. Subsequently, your track will be offered to fans through Social Media (e.g. Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, VK, Google+)
After your music has been officially released and promoted through the appropriate channels, you might receive an increasing amount of booking requests. Within some record labels, a booking department is part of the enterprise. In our case, Armada Bookings is the branch that is responsible for all ‘gigs’ of Armada artists and deals with the negotiations concerning those gigs. That includes terms like compensation for travel expenses, overnight stays in hotels, booking fees and – depending on the artist in question – personal wishes that should be honored.
And what about the merits?
Depending on the contract you signed, the record label owns your record and releases the music in your name. Owning and releasing music leads to certain obligations, drawn up by the Business Affairs & Legal department. In general, you and the record label agree on a percentage of revenue that you would receive, referred to as ‘royalties’. The Royalty Department makes sure that all artists receive an overview (‘statement’), in which the royalties have been calculated. All expenses that have been made to produce and promote the record are part of the equation. So in general, the work of all separate branches is gathered in the Royalty Department, to finalize the financial part of the release.