You are lazy and not worth any label’s investment
Gone are the days when labels could take risks on just any artiste because the economy was smiling then and it was actually easier to invest in upcoming musicians. Nowadays, there’s way more pressure to show results because it’s now more about the business to the label than your passion, so you have to work hard.
Also, music managers aren’t willing to babysit and push you to do your work. If you aren’t mature enough to work when you should and prove your worth, then you would certainly be left behind. There are way too many upcoming musicians out there to be stuck with one who is lazy.
You are not playing the game
Honestly, this may sound unjust, but life ain’t fair. Sometimes you have to play the game right to get ahead.
So how can you play the game a little better?
For starters, don’t always go directly to the front door of a major label. An alternative approach is pairing up with a major manager. That manager will then try to get serious consideration from one of the big three. Sometimes those artists are signed to smaller labels, other times not. But the point is this: there are a lot of side doors that people don’t use.
You don’t exist because there’s no data on you
A lot of times, when you approach a record label or manager and you tell them your stage name, there’s one thing that almost always follows; they check the internet for any data they can get on you.
Imagine how a prospective record label will feel if they search for your name on Google and absolutely nothing comes up? Now let’s take it a step further and see how they’d react if they do research on you and find out that there are little-to-no one listening to you online, going to your shows, following you, remixing your music, etc.?
Forget about your talent because your data matters when you are selling yourself to a prospective label. Without data, all you’ll hear is the dreaded statement; “we’ll get back to you.”
It’s true that people cheat on their social media numbers, but you definitely can’t cheat hundreds of thousands of plays on music streaming platforms like Apple Music, MTN Music +, etc.
Something as small as being one of the regular performers in your school events can go a long way to becoming data in your favour.
“Most major labels don’t sign an artist now until they’re sure they’re on that path,” said Peter Leak of Red Light Management. “They are definitely studying everything. They’re looking at all the data and making sure something’s working before they sign them.”
“If they sign an artist without anything going on, that’s a real gamble.”
Your data is a pure scam
Too many people gas up their numbers with robots; social media followers, ticket sales, etc. Let’s say you are exchanging a ticket for a Facebook Like, then you’re technically playing the social media game. The problem is when you’re outright paying for massive amounts of followers, adding tons of fake engagement, and generally trying to create a social media presence with robots.
It’s extremely easy for a record label to notice these things because how can you have 100k followers and just 14 retweets and likes on your post? That’s more than a red flag right there.
It’s way, way more effective to work on your music and develop real engagement.
You are chasing the wrong label or you don’t even need one
Sometimes you either do not need a record label or you’re looking to get signed into the wrong label. So chill and ask yourself; do you really need a major label in the first place?
In many cases, a major label will actually set you back. A lot of labels now sign artistes that will follow trends and drop radio/club bangers and create pop-culture-influencing music. So if you are the kind of artiste who would rather release deep music like Asa and others in that category, then you should realise that you are making a mistake even trying to get signed into a label that prefers the aforementioned type of musicians. Once a major is involved, they care about blowing you up and making a ton of cash off of the results.
Also note that even if you get signed, it’s not a guarantee of success. There are artistes signed to major labels and do not have an iota of music out there, in fact, they are struggling way more than indie artistes.
Sadly, you just didn’t get lucky
Mayorkun is an example of a lucky artiste (please note that I do not mean he isn’t good). By luck, I mean all he did was post a video on social media and the next thing Davido slid into his DM telling him he wanted to sign him. That’s what I mean by luck. Sometimes people just get that lucky, sometimes they do not. Like I stated earlier, life isn’t fair, but, once you do get your lucky break, be ready. If you have one good song and a bad work ethic, no ‘break’ is going to matter.