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Wednesday, June 11, 2008 

How To Get Labels Knocking At Your Door!

Last week I had the opportunity to chat with Rosie Lopez, Vice President at Tommy Boy Entertainment in New York City. She gave me some great insight that I would like to share with you today.

But before I get to that, here is Tommy Boy's company profile according to Yahoo! Finance:

Hip hop is all grown up, and Tommy Boy is now a man. Pioneering record label Tommy Boy has produced gold singles from historically significant rap artists such as Afrika Bambatta, De La Soul, and Digital Underground. Other current and former artists include Queen Latifah, Biz Markie, and Handsome Boy Modeling School. Tom Silverman founded the company in his New York City apartment in 1981. In 1986 Time Warner purchased 50% of Tommy Boy; it bought the remaining half in 1989. Tommy Boy operated as part of Warner Music until 2002 when Silverman bought back his label, making it independent again.

When I asked Rosie what is the number one thing she looks for in a band that she's interested in, her response was, "I want to know how many people they are pulling in at their live shows."

Her second question to bands is how many CDs have you sold.

I think these are both no-brainers for any indie artist. Whether you want to get signed to a major, indie or do your own thing you should always strive to consistently draw people in to each show and sell lots of CDs and digital downloads.

My next question to her was the age factor. We know major labels are interested in signing very young musicians. Rosie said age does not matter to her. But she said if you ask the men it's their number one question. They want to know how old you are. Sad isn't it?

The thing to keep in mind when it comes to labels, they are a business. It's about making money. You need to be able to draw a crowd to your shows. You need to make sales. But also remember, these things are just as important if you go the DIY (do-it-yourself) route. If you are serious about your music you should be treating it as a business. Your number one question to yourself should be how many people are coming out to your shows. Your next question should be how many CDs are you selling. If you expect to earn your living in the music business you have to re-think what you are doing, what your goals are and how to get yourself from point A to point B.

Give me your two cents on this. I would love your comments!

Copyright © 2008 Madalyn Sklar, IndieMusicCoach

Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach, consultant and author. She founded IndieMusicCoach and has spent over 12 years working with a wide range of independent musicians all over the world - U.S., Canada, Ireland and Japan thus far. Her goal is to help indie artists achieve greater success in the music business by working smarter not harder. She is also the founder of GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest and largest online community of indie women musicians, with a vision of bringing together and empowering musicians from around the world.

Madalyn is available for one-on-one consulting and coaching at affordable prices. Check out http://www.indiemusiccoach.com/ for more info.

Its almost like a catch-22. My theory is that if you are selling tickets, CD's and digital goods on your own, they why take a shot at losing all that with a major?

Not to say that a record deal is evil, because they still have the major media outlets, marketing power and connections, but hey if you are selling out shows by yourself, you might not need that.

With the exit of real artist development, labels need established acts which will hopefully, ultimately put some power back into the artists hands.

Great post.

Well said, Greg! It's totally a catch-22. And I agree, you don't need the majors when you can do it all yourself. I firmly believe that if you 1) have extreme talent and 2) build a great team, you can make a living in the music business.

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    Madalyn Sklar is a music business coach & consultant, blogger, social networks expert and author. She has spent over 15 years helping independent musicians and music business professionals achieve greater success. Her motto is: working smarter not harder. She also founded GoGirlsMusic.com, the oldest + largest online community of indie women musicians.

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