Definition of Record Labels: A record label is a company responsible for marketing and distributing recordings of musical artists, albums, and singles.
The term encompasses traditional record labels that use physical media such as vinyl records and companies using digital distribution to market music online. Releases can be recorded in physical or digital formats.
Major Record Labels
A major label is one of the highest tiers in the hierarchy of record labels in most countries worldwide; it releases commercialized recordings usually with a standard recording contract offered to each artist or band by a said company that commits an act to produce original material for the label within a certain amount of time, after which ownership rights revert back to the artist or band.
The “Big Three” Major Labels Are:
- Universal Music Group
- Warner Music Group
- Sony Music Entertainment
The Main Functions of a Major Label
1) To assist in the marketing and distribution of recordings of musical artists.
2) To provide recording, manufacturing, distribution, and/or marketing services in return for royalties on sales or other forms of compensation (see below).
3) To engage in related activities such as the sale of subsidiary rights (e.g., music publishing), sponsoring artists and events, marketing collateral (e.g., CD-ROMs, clothing).
4) To create subsidiary companies (“sub labels”) to release content under a different name or group. Examples include Columbia created Fueled By Ramen & Epic created Lava Records & Music with a lower budget than would be required if suffered from the main label itself.
Types of Record Labels
- Major Label
- Independent Label
- Major Independent Label
How Important are Record Labels in the Music Industry?
In the old days, record labels were the most important part of the music industry from the 1950s to the 1980s. They were responsible for promoting and getting their artists in magazines and radios.
With the evolution of technology, and digital music such as iTunes, Spotify, etc… it is more effective than ever to promote your music without a label.
Major Labels have been losing profit over time as technology has evolved. But for independent artists, it is more profitable to get signed with a major label than do everything yourself. Major labels are making money from an artist that they sign for many years after they have been forgotten by fans and stopped producing music because of their back catalog sales.
How to Contact Major Record Labels?
If you want to send a demo to a major label, be sure to follow their contact information and demo submission guidelines. You can also use online services like Sonicbids that will do all the work and submit your demo for you.
How to Find Record Label A&Rs?
Major Record Labels have teams of A&R members that are the ones who listen to demos and decide if they want to sign an artist.
How to Get Signed To A Record Label?
Record Labels are always looking for new artists so if you think you’ve got what it takes, do not hesitate to submit your music or contact them by any other means.
Major Record Labels in the USA
Warner Music Group (WMG) is an American multinational entertainment and record label conglomerate headquartered in New York City. It is one of the world’s largest music publishers and distributors, as well as one of the “big three” recording companies who dominate the global music industry; alongside Sony Music Entertainment (Sony) and Universal Music Group (UMG).
Can You Use Spotify to Find Record Labels?
If you are looking to get signed by a major record label, it is safe to say that your chances of getting heard and be discovered by someone from a major label are higher through Spotify.
What Should I Do If I Want to Start My Own Record Label?
There are several steps to start your own record label:
- You need a good budget. Record labels cost plenty of money.
- You need a good team of people who know the business. If you do not have much experience in the music industry, you can hire people from the most famous record labels, like Universal Music Group or Sony Music Entertainment.
If you want to become a music producer, how can you get started?
It is never too late to learn how to be a music producer. To start this career, it is better to follow these steps:
How do you create a popular label name for your business?
A good record label name is important to success. There is no exact formula as to what makes up a great name, but it should be simple, memorable, and without spelling mistakes or looks unprofessional. Some of the best names are ones that are straightforward like “Bad Boy Records” or “Def Jam”. Be sure to include your name in the company’s name so people can easily connect with you as an individual as well.