By -Last Updated: June 2023-

How record labels work is an exercise in organized effort to market artists to target demographics with strategy.

There is a lot more to what a record label is, however, especially from the perspective of the musical artist.

So you’ve just signed with your first record label or are considering seeking a record label out. The advantages of a record label are clear. You may be thinking to yourself, what exactly will a record label do for you? Well, the answer may surprise some.

The traditional record label in decades’ past would provide the funds for an artist to record music, oversee the selling and distribution of the music just like major record labels now do, and these labels would retain some pretty hefty fees for these services.

Today’s record labels work a little differently. It’s easier than ever to record music and so, advances of thousands are not necessarily needed to turn out a track anymore. Instead, record labels are more concerned with advancing an artist’s brand, getting them exposure, landing distribution deals, and using social media to get the word out.

Sure, some of that an independent artist can do themselves but a record label provides speed and expertise.

Record Labels Provide A Masterclass In How To Brand You As A Musical Artist

Business’ used to be a dirty word among musicians. Now not so much. Musical artists are more aware than ever that the music they’re putting out is building a brand.

Record labels are there to help advance an artist’s brand by overseeing their social media presence, consulting with them on how to interact with media, and helping to promote and publicize an artist’s voice through opportunities online and offline.

Unlike the days of old, today’s independent record labels are not looking to alter, change, or even refine an artist’s voice. They’re simply looking to help maximize an indie artist’s reach, ensuring they have the greatest opportunity to achieve success in the marketplace.

No matter your genre, amount of talent, or financial backing, if you aren’t able to maintain a coherent brand, no one’s going to understand who you are, what you stand for, or what you’re selling.

An artist must simplify to make their message to the listener clear. This is not only to be done visually but musically as well. To assert an identity by genre, sound, and image. The right record label provides a masterclass in how to do just that.

By helping to instruct and manage branding, a record label helps to keep an artist’s message clear.

Indie & Major Record Labels Work Hard To Secure Distribution For Your Song

So for argument’s sake, let’s say you’ve made the next ‘great song’ on your laptop. It’s going to be a game-changer and has the potential to change the world of music in your favor.

Well, the truth is that if nobody hears it, no matter how amazing the track is, it doesn’t count for anything.

Just because you write, record, and put out a track does not mean it’s going to get heard. A record label helps to get your track out on available online digital platforms, helps to negotiate opportunities to distribute your music through developing channels, and secures pathways to share your music in places beyond Spotify that you wouldn’t otherwise be able to.

If there’s one power that independent and corporately-owned record labels still maintain, it’s distribution.

Online and offline, they can help with direct-to-consumer campaigns, promotional planning, and cutting-edge marketing to help support these distribution efforts as well.

Your song will go further with the help of a record label than it would if you self-release an album. You stand a greater chance at achieving success with your target audience which is everything to a newcomer still looking to find recognition for their talent.

Fortunately, there is no shortage of ways to achieve distribution either, from music on TV to creative commercial advertisements.

Record Labels Can Help You Navigate Social Media & Gain Followers On Online Platforms

Social media platforms are an artist’s best friend and an opportunity to get their voice heard.

There are billions of users across Instagram, Facebook, Twitter, TikTok, and Reddit. Then, there are category-specific online communities on these platforms and elsewhere which can be tapped into. A record label has the resources to help you find clicks, achieving unparalleled likes, shares, and subscribers and growing your online popularity.

A record label provides guidance on how to use social media to maximize your reach, to promote your music in the most effective way, and on how to build on the audience you already have.

Although social media might not seem like something you need to assign to a third-party, you’ll be glad to have a record label to oversee your social media.

You not only get to bounce ideas off them relating to digital marketing and social media, but a record label also helps a great deal in targeting the audience that’s out there who are dying to hear new music from someone like you.

Modern record labels work specifically on branding, distribution, and social media marketing and promotions. Support on all three can help your music reach whole new audiences of people worldwide.

Can you try to go it alone without a record label? Sure, you can. At some point though, this will only mean forming your own organization of some sort. Record labels are not inherently bad. At the end of the day, all a record label really is is an organized team backing you. You can make your own but it’s a lot easier connecting with a team that already has the expertise to fully support an artist’s music. That’s the work a modern record label does.

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