Relationship between record labels and independent artists
By Nazifa Kamal
The relationship between the record
labels and artists can be a difficult
one. Many artists have had their
albums altered or censored in some
way by the labels before they are
released (songs being edited,
artwork or titles being changed).
Generally, the reason for this is
because they believe that the album
will sell better if the changes are
made. Often the record label's
decisions are practical from a
commercial perspective, but this
typically frustrates the artist who
feels that their artwork is being
diminished or misrepresented by
Record labels provide artists with useful resources such as
marketing teams, press teams, radio pluggers, accounts
departments and more.
As the artist can create great quality music along with high
quality music videos, the audience will be more interested in
them therefore more revenue for the record company and the
There may not already be an artist for the audience the record
label are specifically targeting (niche market).
However, the Internet has caused a problem for record labels
as artists can use it to become independent artists through
sites like YouTube and Spotify.
Also, once artists are signed with record companies, they are
under their control so this means they may have to alter
themselves as well as their music.
Artists are able to create music which they enjoy
and have a passion for unlike with artists signed
with record labels.
They are able to take financial risks.
However, they lack in resources such as a
professional music studio which may not produce
the best quality music.
The money they make from their music goes to the
artist themselves and a few other people compared
to record companies.
The record companies and artists may be asked if their music
can be featured in movies and adverts or may be asked to
release a single solely for a movie, e.g. Bruno Mars – It Will Rain
for ‘Twilight: Breaking Dawn’
• Record labels must get radio stations to play the music of the
artists they represent, and radio stations need a consistent flow
of new material for their listeners. While record companies
make their money by selling albums, radio stations make money
by broadcasting advertisements.
• Music artists also make money by licensing their songs to stores,
restaurants and nightclubs that allow these places of business to
play their music.
Using social networking sites such as YouTube and Facebook, to
showcase their music and talent.
Through ‘word of mouth’
According to Music Biz Academy, the reason that so few
independent record labels succeed is due to the sheer amount
of money it takes to run a record label.
Independent artists also use the first two points as a form of
Record labels are able to easily distribute artists
music to shops such HMV, supermarkets or online
Also, at concerts and meet and greets, fans are able
to purchase the artists CD.
Music can be distributed through social networking sites such
as Facebook, Twitter via the share button on YouTube. Also,
you are able to embed music videos on blogs.
Another way, is ‘word of mouth’ which corresponds to the
sharing via social network but its more personal as, for
example, a friend may know what music you are into and
tag/send/post a message with a song attached which they
recommend to you and as this is visible on you social network,
others are able to view this and may also listen to it.
Also, at concerts and meet and greets, fans are able to
purchase the artists CD.
For record labels, they are more able to
produce media content over different formats.
However, more difficult for independent artists
as they do not have the means to do so.
An example of how record labels using cross media synergy is in
Christina Perri – ‘A Thousand Years’ for Twilight: Breaking Dawn P1
The artist receives the necessary funds to produce,
market and distribute their material and also recognition
across the professional industry market, which leads to
featuring with popular artists.
The record label gain two things:
Become well known in the industry for producing
They invest in the artist and in return make a lot of
money from the artists.