Sunday, July 20, 2008

My biggest gripe with major record labels...

In 2004, I got excited when I heard the band Trading Yesterday, got signed to Epic Records. It was a major record deal and I felt that with Epic's support that they'd be led to major success.

That is until the summer of 2005 when Epic decided to relegate them to the soundtrack of a movie that nobody cared about. Epic also decided to keep pushing back their debut album More Than This until Trading Yesterday left the label in November of that year.

My biggest gripe with major record labels is that they have the confidence to sign an artist, but when it actually comes to putting out their music, they don't release it. It doesn't just happen to new artists (although there are plenty of examples of that). It also happens to established artists.

Fiona Apple's Extraordinary Machine was meant to be put out in 2003 and almost didn't get put out at all. Tracks subsequently leaked and the Internet response to the Machine led to its release in 2005.

However, even when some things are released, record label executives don't have confidence in their artists. Kelly Clarkson's My December, is the perfect example.

It's unfortunate, but I said in my last article that the music industry is a business first and artist creativity be damned if it's not commercially successful enough.

Sometimes though record labels don't know what they're missing. I think that when they sign particular artists that they know what they're getting, but they're more into trying to sign an artist to keep them away from the competition rather than sign an artist to put out their music.

Is there an example that you have in which an artist that you like got signed but didn't actually release anything with their record label due to the label's inactivity?

What do you think is a reasonable amount of time between a signing and a debut record?

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