5 things frequently said about record labels (that aren’t true)

Spinnup is here to help unsigned artist become signed, that’s why our scouts uniquely have a direct line into the world’s number one record label Universal Music.

But speaking of record labels, if one of your goals as an artist is to join one then you should be aware that there are a lot of self-declared experts out there who claim to know what record labels are like “these days” but in actual fact really don’t. Fortunately here at Spinnup, because of our ties to Universal Music, we do. So allow us to shed some light on some of the more common misconceptions out there…such as:

1. Everything is run by the ‘suits’ who don’t even like music
Firstly one of the thing that characterises the clothing choices of people who work in record labels is the distinct lack of suits. In fact if you see anyone wearing a suit in a label there’s a very strong chance they’re a visiting salesperson. And getting a job at a record label is usually very competitive. It makes no sense for a label to give one of those sought after jobs to someone who doesn’t even like or care about what they do. Of course what people who say this really mean to say is…

2. It’s all about money, not music
A record label’s job is to find ways of making money from music so that those who make and support music can continue to do so. Nobody gives away money and labels are no different but what does makes them different is that they invest all their money in music and artists. They’re still the primary investors in new music and probably always will be, and they only make money if the music they back makes money which is why they think very carefully about what they will invest in.

3. Labels are only interested in chasing the next big thing
Labels are in the business of selling music so of course they want to be associated with big selling artists. Why on earth wouldn’t they? But every big selling artist was a no-selling artist at first and successful labels like Universal Music have been in this game long enough to know that today’s next big thing can come from the unlikeliest of sources and everyone has to start somewhere.

4. Record labels only want safe and boring artists
Record labels are looking for artists who will connect with music fans and who will become very popular. Record labels release what they think will go down well with people, and then it’s down to the music buying public to decide if they like those releases or not. It really is as simple as that when it comes down to it. The labels use all their resources and skills to make people aware of their artists and hopefully support them, but ultimately it’s the public who have the final say.

5. Labels don’t support artists the way they did 10/20/30/etc years ago
Yes for some people life was always better in the old days. But unlike them you don’t long to live in the past. Leaving aside the fact that this is an inherently subjective opinion and impossible to prove either way, you’re not looking to sign to a record label 30 years ago, you want to sign to one in the present day. So understand how they operate today and leave the wistful ‘everything used to be so much better’ sentiments to those others who have far less important things to do with their time than you do.