It’s an age-old argument, but that doesn’t mean it’s any less pertinent. Indeed the pros and cons of a label services deal vs a traditional record deal have scarcely been more relevant than in 2020.
As Music Week’s recent Special Report on the sector illustrated, there’s more going on in label services than ever. Kicking off with new Caroline International recruit Aitch – whose NQ Records has just joined up after initial success with Sony’s Since ’93 – we looked at what’s hot in the services world.
Aitch's first release for Caroline, new single Mice, debuted at No.34 on Friday, thanks to 13,234 sales, according to the Official Charts Company.
Subscribers can click here to read the feature in full online, which includes contributions from Caroline International, Ingrooves, software company Reprtoir and Believe. Here, they debate a significant question – should artists and managers stick with traditional deals, or explore label services?
Nicola Spokes, UK label head, Caroline International
“We offer passion, attention to detail, honesty and creativity. It’s about people at the end of the day, and all these qualities come from people, not data and spreadsheets. All the data in the world won’t help you if you don’t have a brilliant team to interpret it and act upon it swiftly and creatively. That’s what the labels we work with are paying us for.”
Dominique Rottet, CEO, Reprtoir
“Using labels services means saving time. It means delegating time-consuming activities to tech solutions to focus on creativity. The music industry is usually slow to adapt to changes. But today, as the amount metadata and rights to deal with increases, change will impose itself upon industry professionals. Using label services is thinking ahead and anticipating the changes.”
Label services deals require a more hands-on approach
Nick Roden, MD, UK, Ingrooves
“Choice is important and ultimately it depends on what’s important to the artist and label. We can add the necessary expertise, skills and resources to your team to reach your audience globally, but while still retaining control over your masters and your campaign itself. The infrastructure provided by a traditional deal undoubtedly still has relevance for the right projects, but the nature of label services deals requires a more hands-on approach, meaning you can therefore be more flexible and react in real time to market changes.”
Malena Wolfer, director of artist services, Believe
“The obvious benefit of a label services deal is the artist’s ability to retain ownership of their masters and to release music on their own terms. Having creative and strategic freedom is something artists usually lack when working with a major label, so signing a label services deal really allows them to be in control, but with the necessary funding and services available to them. It’s great to see that artists and managers are thinking long-term when it comes to signing deals and are incredibly savvy in running their own business, knowing what services they need to complement their existing setup and to build their career.”
Look out for more Special Reports from across the business in Music Week this year. To subscribe and never miss a big music industry story, click here.