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Alex Day Strikes a Chord with Record Labels are Rubbish

In December, 22-year-old singer Alex Day became the first unsigned act to reach number four in the UK charts after using Facebook and Youtube to promote his charity single, Forever Yours.

As a result, it would be relatively easy for him to sign a recording contract and get paid.

However, in this excellent video, Record Labels Are Rubbish, Day talks about the benefits of independence and explains why he’s in no rush to sign to a major label.

The story about his meeting with the A&R is hilarious, but sadly all too familiar.

Is Day an idiot for rejecting the six figure deals he’s been offered – or should he continue developing his career independently?

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Tags YouTube, Facebook, adele, Alex Day, Forever Yours, unsigned, record labels, independent record labels, Record Labels Are Rubbish, music industry
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COMMENTS (23) Add your comment
Lance, 12/06/2012 03:32

I had never heard of Alex before seeing this video awhile back, actually, but I found what he had to say both informative and a bit encouraging. If you find Steve Albini’s rant on the internet from the ’90s about the music business, I think you’ll find some similarities and will likely agree that Alex has a much better chance long-term of making money by staying independent. According to Albini’s (well-informed insider) diatribe, a record that makes “the business” seven million dollars will net each member of a band less than $5,000 for their efforts, including touring. What most labels offer guys like Alex is not so much a signing “bonus” as an “advance against sales,” which means it’s an interest-free loan that gets paid back before the artist gets anything. So in exchange for some commercial promotion, the artist gets to lose control of their music and their schedule etc etc. And having a major label back you can even be a negative in this modern climate where the public is leery of corporate sponsored art. Some labels have been caught trying to market their signed artists as independents like Alex simply for the cred, and plenty of label-signed acts have broken deals in order to go independent by means like Kickstarter. It’s a new paradigm, brought about by the digital revolution. Digital production, digital marketing, digital distribution. As MC Lars said in Download This Song: “Hey Mr. Record Man, what’s wrong with you? Still running your label like it was 1992. Hey Mr. Record Man, your system can’t compete, it’s the new artist model: file transfer COMPLETE!”

Lance, 12/06/2012 23:07

Day is most assuredly not an idiot. The deals offered by record labels sound enticing because of the dollar figures involved, but very little of that filters down to the artist. There aren’t usually “signing bonuses” like in pro sports, the label deals are “advances” — sort of interest-free loans against future sales. Steve Albini’s rant on the net about the state of the music industry circa the mid-90s is an eye-opener. Band with hit song tours the world and makes seven million US dollars for “the industry” writ large, and after the 6 month supporting tour, each band member has made US$6,000 for their part in it.

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