This might give some tips and insight into the process that a record company will put you through when signing a record contract with said label. Don't give up all that you worked for without understanding that you are doing just that.
If you’re going to sign with or invest time and art into a record label, they're going need a contract to deal with the obligations outlined clearly for you and the label. Issues to consider include: how many singles or albums will you be releasing? What royalty rate are you going to be paid? Duration of contract? Are you getting an advance? Are you giving a commitment to releasing the record internationally? Will you be allowing the label to enter compilation and sync licensing agreements, because these are potentially lucrative areas which will help the label to recover much of the initial investment.
The recording contract should deal with copyright ownership of the master recordings — and make sure you look at any inserts that could be an "assignment of copyright clause" into the contract, these are usually in favour of the label NOT the artist. You don't want your songs to be a part of the labels catalogue for years to come, even after you are no longer on their roster. An indie label contract might also entitle the label to an ‘override royalty’ in the event that a major label buys you out. Did you give the permissions to use artwork, photographs, trademarks or logos that may be included on sleeve notes, posters, or on the labels web site?
This is where you the artist or producer retains copyright ownership of their recording, but allows the label or distributor to sell the record on their behalf. Record labels can negotiate licensing deals for a whole album just a single, for a specific amount of time, and usually for specific international markets. This is a way the labels avoid the development costs associated with nurturing you, the artist. At the same time it allows the label to earn royalties from sales and build a catalogue with your songs.
Samples and Covers
If a label releases a record containing samples of other music, they’ll need permission from the rights owners. Clearance is needed from not only the owner of the musical composition, and a separate permission from the owner of the sound recording. If your song has samples it will cost the label since they will have to pay fees to include the samples, so this will be factored into any release budget before the label will proceed. Take this into consideration if you are remixing or rapping over other peoples music. Its not going to help you get signed.
Publishing income from songs can be substantial, especially if you have a hit. Labels usually create their own publishing company so that they can take full advantage of any PRS or mechanical royalties, cover fees and synchronisation income arising from the exploitation of your songs.
Take your band and turn it into a brand. Make sure you have the right to use the name you’ve created for your band. You should also consult a lawyer regarding making a trademark registration of the band name. Think of Kiss and their epic logo, or the Rolling Stones. Gotta own that name and logo!
Hopefully some of these tips were helpful. Check back next week for the release of my new music! FOR SURE!