THE BLOOM DIVISION ENTRY 07

WRITTEN BY ROSS THEISEN

WHY A LOT OF LABELS SUCK

No fancy introduction here. The title says it all. This is an opinion piece, and NOT about ALL record labels, but about most, well, A LOT of them at least, like the title says. 

 

Record labels mean less now than they ever have before. The power (when noticed) can now be in the hands of the artist, or independent teams working outside of the normal label format. People need to wake up to this fact. 

Why?

Because SO many labels are in fact hurting more bands than helping now, and yes, I’ve seen it first hand on enough occasions to say this. 

Now, is the harm always purposeful? Honestly, no. Many smaller teams/labels are trying what they think is their best efforts to help grow a band. The issue is, they just really suck at it, and aren’t thinking outside their own box. Most are trying to exact same copy and paste methods that MAYBE worked in the past, hoping that their next random signing will stick, become the next “big” thing, and make them some money. 

Money is of course, the root of all evil, but alas, it does need to exist. 

However, the problem is that you can still have your focus on making money as a label/mgmt agency, without that being the ONLY driving force behind working with a band. You can still work from a place of passion. 

 

I’ve seen far too many bands signed as tax write-offs. 

I’ve seen far too many bands have their potential absolutely WASTED by a label’s inability to capitalize on something good in the correct way. 

A big part of this, is most mgmt teams/labels DO NOT know how to market a band correctly anymore. They just don’t.

 

They produce terrible imagery for their bands and make them look the exact same as every other mid-level band they’ve signed. They put some half-assed (yes I cursed!) effort into promoting an album and then when it doesn’t naturally pop off, they move onto what’s next. 

 

Fun fact: There was a band I directly helped manage, and after the FIRST WEEK of their EP releasing, and it didn’t explode, we stopped hearing from the record label all together for about 2-3 months. When they hit us up next, they were simply reminding the band the amount of money they needed paid back on their back-end. 

No follow up plan for the release. No fresh marketing ideas. Not even pushing us, the band’s team, to come up with new ideas.
It was like their best effort was just tossing the band $200 for Facebook ads and calling it a day when that didn’t change the game. 

 

A lot of labels suck. A lot of managers and mgmt agencies suck. 

This is because they aren’t; working proactively with a development based mindset. They’re working reactively in the moment to everything and just answering problems with more problems. 

 

Here’s another hot topic: A $500 music video budget is an absolute JOKE to offer your band.

“But guys, we can’t just go tossing tons of money at a band that we don’t know we’ll get a return on!” 

Yes, business business business, Gary Vee vlog you watched once, blah blah blah…

What you’re actually saying is: “We don’t believe in this band enough, to put a lot of effort in trying to make help them succeed now, and we want to wait until it just happens, so then we can say we did it, and reap the benefit.” - And you can’t tell me any different. 

 

This goes with most things in life, that people work backwards when it comes to success and putting the work in. Most people want to do the safe bare minimum, hope its just enough, watch success just happen randomly, and then, and ONLY then will they claim part of it and say “hell yeah I believed in it the whole time!”.

This, unfortunately, is how many labels and managers work in the music industry nowadays. It’s backwards. 

 

So, will a blog from a small marketing brand that nobody knows about change this? No. 

But having this conversation more, spreading the word, opening up and placing blame where it needs to be placed, can be some steps that everyone can be taking to make this less of an issue. 

Bands need to be aware enough, and smart enough to TAKE and KEEP the control in their own hands. 

Labels SUCK at being creative most of the time, so be careful who you let be in charge of your creative dreams and passions. 

LET'S KEEP THE CONVO GOING

@BLOOMDIVISION

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