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Types of Recording Deals

Getting signed to a record deal is one of the greatest things in the hearts of aspiring musicians. It could be an independent or a major record label. Naive of the business side of a musical artist’s skill, be it innate or acquired would definitely not guarantee the success of the artist. In order to annul this, it would require the managing of expertise to ensure the financial growth of the artists. It requires the managing and overseeing by a business oriented record group or manager. It is therefore necessary to know what entails a recording contract before getting signed. Below are the main types of recording contracts.

  • Traditional Recording Deal

This is a classic recording deal and the most popular in mainstream and major label artist. In this contract, the label offers the artist a hefty advance for their masters ownership in exchange for 80% of the artist’s royalty. This recording deal involves an 80/20 label/artist royalty split where the recoupable cost lie on the recording and the label owns the masters ownership.

  • 360 Deal

This deals with the label taking a percentage of all forms of income from the artist, be it touring, merchandising, fan club and many others in order to earn the artist popularity. Some artists have gained wealth for signing this deal and others have lost greatly and even speak against these deals. Whichever deal taken, the deal should be carefully understood before agreeing to it.

  • Distribution Deal

With this type of deal, the label pays for the expenses regarding press and distribution. The rest of the cost lies on the artist involved. This mostly happens when the artists is infamous in the musical artistry and the record label wants to hop on the fame.

  • Single Deal

This type of recording deal is based solely on singles instead of albums.

  • Production Deal

This is generally not considered a record deal since it doesn’t cover distribution. These offers are mostly from production companies or producers only for recording and producing the music of the artist significantly when the artist lacks the wherewithal in doing so.

  • Artist Deal

This a 360 concept but involves up and coming artists signed to the same record label. The up and coming artist benefits immensely from the renowned counterpart. The renowned counterpart gives visibility to the newer artist.

  • 720 Deal

this type of deal involved the record label deduction costs from the income of the relatives of the artist signed on that label.

  • Anti-360 Deal

With this type of recording deal, artists are able to exercise control and music leverage without losing the funding they are portioned to.

  • Profit Split Deal

This type of recording contract deals with the investing in the marketing of the music. This is suitable for artists with projects still unreleased due to financial misharp.

  • Standard Deal

Unlike the name suggests, Standard Recording Deals are not standard and not currently used in this era of modernisation and high technological demand. This record deal is archaic and was used for physical and not digital ones in this present time.

  • Major label Deal

All expenses lies on the label, including tours, press, recording, distribution and all others. The artist gets all advances but the label would recoup this and the royalty rate of the artist would be minimal. This is in favour of the label as the music label owns the music even after the artist and the label part ways.

  • Licensing Deal

This is offered to artists with already established fame and sales under their control, hence have entitlement of music and recordings and prevents the label from having control over subsequent released.

  • EP Deal

This entails the label and artist producing an EP together without publicly announcing they worked together. This is meant to test the waters before signing an artist full time.

Definitely there may be outliers, but these are typical of most recording deals. There is no perfect deal for an artist. Some recording contracts while limit the creative freedom of an artist others open doors and increase an artist’s platform. It is advisable to understand the type of recording contract before venturing into that very record deal to prevent intense issues and complications.

written by Ruth Ama Onumah



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