There is a long process of dating that goes on between artists and labels before they settle on what they hope is the “right one”. It is intriguing to me understand the walk from the artist’s point of view. Therefore I asked a few of our artists a couple of questions. This is part 2 of the story.
1. How did you know the label you signed with was the right fit?
Seth Mosley (Me in Motion): One word, family. Centricity music has really become that in a lot of ways to us. I feel like I have a great relationship on at least some level with each person that works with us there. We’ve spent a lot of one-on-one hang time, and did so even before signing, just to make sure we all shared the same vision and had the same passion for creating life-changing experiences for our audiences. They have gone above and beyond to help further our ministry, and we have no doubts in our mind that it is the best place for us to be in this day and age.
Jason Germain (Downhere): There is no perfect match but there are lines of operation which run cross and ones that run parallel. You know you have a fit when your two operations have more parallels than crossings. For instance, if Big label A has a strong traditional radio connection, and Huge label B is known to move both 3D and digital product, and small but hip label C allows a lot of artistic freedom, which label best fits an artist who works full time at something else, and has sold a bunch of product from an indie website and who’s chief goal is to conquer the indie polka pop scene? I know that is oversimplifying it…but one does need to look at goals and strengths in a pro’s and con’s kind of way.
Josiah Warneking (Sixteen Cities): After speaking with several different labels, we found that Centricity was the best fit for our band. This was mostly due to compatibility, like-minded vision, and the feeling of trust we had in the ability of the staff at the label. We are also firm believers in knowing the heart behind any organization we partner with. After meeting everyone involved with Centricity, we realized they truly desired to see their artists thrive in an ever-changing music industry.
Brad Rempel (High Valley): John Mays was recomended to us by our mentors “Mid South.” When we met John and the staff we felt really excited about the environment.
Jason Gray: I don’t want this to sound like a Sunday School cop out, but I guess the way I’ve always tried to approach things is to not force anything, not kick down doors, but to just try to be attentive to what doors open, and then walk through them and trust that the Lord is leading me where He wants me. When this door opened, it just felt right. I liked the people, the spirit of the label, the story of the label… All of that. I feel like it’s more a matter of trusting it’s a good fit than trying to cognitively measure that kind of thing. I believe I’m right where the Lord has led me and Centricity has been the perfect fit for me. I’m grateful.
2. What advice would you give an indie making this decision today?
Josiah Warneking: Evaluate the kind of audience you want to reach, and take an honest look at your own ability to successfully accomplish your goals. If you’re content with the indie music scene, and have the ability to reach them, then a label might not be for you. But if you are aching for a partnership that will maximize your efforts to reach a larger, more mainstream audience, then a label would be a good idea.
Brad Rempel: Make sure you weigh out the pros and cons of the label situation and be realistic about your goals and dreams. Always work hard to keep the “indie” hard working mindset even if/when you sign a record deal.
Jason Germain: Define your art, business, and ministry. Write down your goals, dreams and aspirations. Think in terms of two plans, one with label, one without. I would suggest having a cup of coffee with a couple full time signed artists and indie for council. Dismiss the critics and cynics. Meet with artists on the label you are looking at. Define your art, business, and ministry. Ask a lot of questions of the label. And pray about it, ask for guidance and peace. If you decide to sign to a label communicate your expectations in contractual form.
Seth Mosley: There isn’t really one end-all, be-all for you. There isn’t one manager, label, or booking agency who you could pinpoint as the “best”. The reality is, what’s best for you might be a bad situation for another artist. Really look into what it is you need, what it is you can offer on your own, and what a particular label is great at, making sure you don’t settle on the first thing that comes along. Take your time with this decision to pray and think it over thoroughly, as it will be well-worth it to wait for the right deal for you, or none at all, if that is what is best in the end.
Jason Gray: Don’t expect a label to solve all your current challenges. In fact, you can
count on them introducing you to new challenges! Also, if you are talking
with a label, try to not be defensive. I meet so many artists whose
identity is so rooted in their artistry (which isn’t healthy) that every
voice that speaks into their artistry feels like a threat. Trust that
whoever you’re working with is doing their best to help everybody win. One
of the things I’ve been most grateful for in working with a label is to have
a somewhat objective voice offering perspectives I can’t see on my own.