Here, Kimo Arends
gives you information on how things will go when you get a record deal. This is very interesting for all of you who think their
self-made music is good enough to be pressed on vinyl. Kimo has experience with this issue, since his group; the Deathlok Hardcore Team
got a record deal at Rotterdam Records.
Assuming that the music you make is good enough to be released, make sure it is properly mixed out before sending it to a record company. Sound quality is also something that is being judged!
Remember three important rules of expectation:
Let's be positive and say you get yourself a record deal. How does it go from there?
Well first of all, they make an appointment with you, so you have to get your ass down there.
When you get there, there is nothing to worry about, because they just want to release your
tracks, so they will be nice to you! They will try to get to know you, how school goes,
where you work, how long you have been making music, if you are a turntable junkie
And you get offered a nice cup of coffee ofcourse.
- They don't like your music and you hear NOTHING.
- They don't like your music, and you get informed by standard letter that 'it sucks'.
- They like your music, and they give you a call to make an appointment!
The Listening Session
During this appointment, you will listen together with the A&R (Artist and Repertoire) manager
(like Paul Elstak, Martijn Mobron, Jeroen Streunding) to your demotape. He will give you
advice about details that have to be changed before they will release it. This is a
standard procedure. Even the best producers still have these "listening sessions"!
This will probably be the first time that you will hear your music on a real AUDIO SET and
Write down all the advices you get. You can only get better! And during this session you
will hear things in your tracks that you haven't heard at home. Simply because they have
much better equipment there.
After this session you will be all excited, you heard your music VERY LOUD and you got
good advice. And most of all, they are gonna release your shit! You got yourself a record
The contract will be sent to you by mail, or they give it to you the same day. They will
not let you sign anything right away, nor will they discuss the contents with you. You will
have to read it quietly at home, reading all the pages, all the paragraphs. Mostly it will
be a standard contract. It would be wise to have the contract checked by someone that knows
all about it.
Nowadays, most contracts are "Title Contracts" which means that you get a
contract offered for one or more records. They hardly give you a contract for 3 years
or so, and especially with hardcore, this is out of the question. The Title Contract
features that the names of the tracks that are going to be released are mentioned in
the contract! That's why "Title Contract". Mostly there will be an option in the contract
that says you have to make another record, and ofcourse you don't mind making a second
If necessary, changes can be made in the contract. If you don't trust anything, go
ahead and ask! Do not sign a contract that you do not trust for the full 100%! You
better have no record deal at all than a record deal that sucks!
One of the things mentioned in the contract is that you are a member of the Buma/Stemra.
So when you sign the contract make sure you become a member of the Buma/Stemra. Most
of the times you will have only to do with the Stemra, because they pay you a price
for every record that is being pressed by the record company.
The Buma is concerned with broadcasting, which isn't normal for hardcore records. This
only gets interesting when you score a Top 40 hit.
Editing Your Tracks
With the advice you have been given you can change your tracks in the way the record
company wants it. You can then sent it by tape (preferably DAT, CD or MD) to the record
company where the A&R manager will listen to it and will approve or ask you to change it
again. When everything is ok, you have done your part of your first record release.
The Record Sleeve
Ofcourse every record has to be provided with a record sleeve. The GFX-department of the
record company will design this sleeve for you. If you have any ideas about how it should
be, don't hasitate to say so! It's your record, so you can determine how it is gonna look.
You also have the right to turn a design down if you don't like it.
The record sleeve is an important selling mechanism. People are intended to buy a record
with an outstanding sleeve quicker than one that looks like shit. Ofcourse the music still
determines if you buy the record or not, but a well done sleeve helps selling the record!
Ofcourse you want to make some money out of this. As mentioned, the Stemra pays you about
70 cents for every record that is being pressed by the record company. This has NOTHING to
do with how many records you SELL!
The record company pays you royalties. This is a percentage, as mentioned in the contract
that you signed, and the amount of money you receive depends on how many records are sold
from the distribution centre (or wholesale dealer) to the record stores. With most contracts
this means that you receive a percentage of the ppd (price per dealer), which is the price
that record stores pay per record to the distribution centre or wholesale dealer.
Both the record company and the Buma/Stemra pay twice a year. Both are at least half a
year behind with payments. So it could take some time before you see your first money.
If people have questions, they can mail me at email@example.com.