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FAQ Record labels
Worldwide, most label contracts include a specific rule. They don’t actually allow their artists to be signed to multiple labels at once. However, there are ways to circumvent this. Through either loopholes in those contracts or by gaining permission from the labels, on rare occasions artists may be able to release certain records (sometimes limited to “non-albums”, ie. EPs, singles, mixtapes, etc.) on other record labels. Always keep this in mind when you sign a contract with a record label.
In the music industry, a 360 deal (from 360° deal) is a business relationship between an artist and a music industry company. The music industry company will actively try to develop new opportunities for the artist. They will function as a pseudo-manager. In return, according to the 360 deal, the artist agrees to give the company a percentage of an increased number of their revenue streams. In a 360 deal this often includes a percentage of sales of recorded music worldwide, live performances, royalties, publishing and more. Costs for packaging, budget records and other costs might be deducted from the artist’s royalties as well.
When an artist signs a deal with a label, they should see themselves as an investment of the record label. Artists don’t get paid if they are with a record label. The record label lends them money that is to be paid back if/when the artist makes it. Suppose that a music label gives a band a $250,000 advance to record an album. The label agrees to do so in return for 90% of the sales. This percentage can vary from label to label and from artist to artist.
In most cases, when signing with a “major” record label, the label will offer the artist a large cash advance. This can be used for anything and everything in the artist’s music career. Keep in mind though, that every dime the record label invests in the artist, they expect to get back. If the music label never recoups what they’ve invested in the artist, the artist will never see any of the royalties that their music generated. All of that advanced money must first be paid back to the record label.
The music industry is a highly competitive and constantly evolving field, with a wide variety of record labels vying for the attention of audiences and artists alike. Among the most well-known and influential of these labels are the “big four”: Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group, and EMI.
Universal Music Group
Universal Music Group (UMG) is the largest record label in the world, with a diverse roster of artists spanning multiple genres. Founded in 1934, UMG has a rich history of discovering and promoting some of the biggest names in music, including Lady Gaga, Kendrick Lamar, and Taylor Swift. In addition to its impressive artist roster, UMG also owns a number of influential music publishing companies, such as Polygram and the Rondor Music Group.
Sony Music Entertainment
Sony Music Entertainment (SME) is another major player in the music industry, with a strong focus on pop and electronic music. Founded in 1929, SME has a long history of fostering the careers of some of the biggest names in the business, such as Michael Jackson, Beyoncé, and Calvin Harris. The company also owns a number of record labels, including Columbia, RCA, and Epic.
Warner Music Group
Warner Music Group (WMG) is known for its diverse roster of artists, spanning multiple genres including rock, pop, and hip-hop. Founded in 1958, WMG has a rich history of discovering and promoting some of the biggest names in music, including Led Zeppelin, Madonna, and Ed Sheeran. The company also owns a number of influential record labels, such as Atlantic, Warner Bros., and Reprise.
EMI is one of the oldest record labels in the world, having been founded in 1931. Throughout its history, EMI has been at the forefront of the music industry, discovering and promoting some of the biggest names in the business, including The Beatles, Coldplay, and Pink Floyd. EMI was acquired by Universal Music Group in 2012.
The days, record labels can have an elaborate list of duties. The details my vary per music label. In most cases, record labels work directly with artists and producers to coordinate the writing and production of the recordings. After this, the coordination of the manufacturing follows and subsequently the distribution, marketing, promotion of the recording. All this is done to ensure the recording sells well around the world.
The shorter the release time for compression, the louder a signal will be. The reason is that it takes less time for amplitude to return to normal after being compressed. Short release times cause distortion but the effect can have a beneficial result.
The distortion will amplify the signal, causing it to sound even louder, but this may not be ideal. A good mid-ground for your release time is 50ms if you do not want any distortion.
The general consensus is to use a short release time for all compression, but each compressor has its own quirks and you should experiment with the right settings.
Mastering can do a lot for your song but it really can’t fix it. This has to do with several factors. For starters, a mastering engineer deals with a track on macro levels. It can not effectively fix issues on a micro level. As you can probably imagine, mastering can’t add delays to just your vocal track. Despite the skills and experience of a mastering engineer, getting a good result naturally also depends on the material they have to work with.
For those who have never heard of LANDR before, we’ll explain. It’s basically an online, automated mastering service. So, it doesn’t use human beings on the back end and it’s driven by an algorithm. You simply upload your tracks to this service and it automatically masters them. Then it allows you to download them instantly. Although it works okay, the system can never replace a real professional mastering engineer like audiobyray.com.
The first spot is taken bij Abbey Road Studios, which is of course one of the world’s most iconic (mastering) studios. Runner-up is BandLab, which has become popular among indie musicians and artist. The third place goes out to Landr, a completely online and on algorithm based mastering platform. Fourth is Cloudbound, a mastering tool that is available 24/7. On the fifth spot we find Metropolis Studios and last but not least is eMastered. But of course, you can always choose for personal contact with a professional mastering engineer like audiobyray.com.
Not everyone thinks the same on the matter of whether or not sending music into a professional mastering studio is a necessity. If the mix doesn’t need any modifying, this means that it is at a perfect volume level, the fades are well done, the EQ is consistent throughout, the compression is right on, and so on. In that case there’s no need for mastering. If these basics are not covered, audiobyray mastering can help you out.
Mastering is the final step of audio post-production. The purpose of audio mastering is to balance sonic elements of a stereo mix. Mastering helps to optimize playback across all systems and media formats. Traditionally, mastering uses several tools like equalization, limiting, compression and stereo enhancement. Audiobyray.com is a specialist in all of the above.