A Label Is Interested in Me ... What Do I Do?!

Categories: Fan Landers

Are you a musician? Is your group having issues? Ask Fan Landers! Critic Jessica Hopper has played in and managed bands, toured internationally, booked shows, produced records, worked as a publicist and is the author of The Girls' Guide to Rocking, a how-to for teen ladies. She is here to help you stop doing it wrong. Send your problems to her -- confidentiality is assured, unless you want to use your drama as a ticket to Internet microfame.

Dear Fan,
I've been playing in bands pretty much all my life. They've all been pretty terrible to say the least, but it's been a learning process, so I think it's been worth it. However, in the past year I decided to take music into my own hands and learn how to write my own songs. Since then, I have released a ton of music, and toured a good amount. This is all in one year. Recently, a reputable label has said they have some interest in the band. We have been wined and dined, etc. Yet, it's been three weeks since they have gotten back to us. What do I do during this process? Do I simply sit back and wait? Or do I take it into my own hands and email or call them back? Are they disinterested? Help!

See also: These Bands Took Fan Landers' Advice: Did It Work?

Dear J,
Congratulations--this must feel vindicating after years of being in awful bands!

It's been three weeks, which is plenty of time and right on the verge of too long, so I can imagine it's kind of killing you and you are fearing rejection. Call! Do not email. Proactive counts! Don't give anyone the chance to misread your tone. When it matters and you want to show you give a shit--pick up the damn phone. Call and b.s. a little and be social, complain about the holiday with your family or how people were at your New Year's gig and then just ask. "It's been a few weeks since our meeting and I wanted to see where you guys were at, because, obviously, we'd love to be making records with you." Show your interest, but gently press them to show theirs. That should at least start the conversation. Don't get into passive aggressive power plays--don't invent other offers or say you are going into the studio next week to try to force their hand. All labels want bands that want to be on their label, want to work hard with/for them, have their acts at least moderately together. Show enthusiasm, but not desperation.

If they hedge a bit--ask them what their reservations are. Maybe it's something that could be easily remedied--or something you are working towards (SXSW! Better recordings!)--or maybe your bass player nodded off during dinner or something rubbed them the wrong way. Ask. Knowledge is power and real answers are valuable, even if it's "We're just not that into you," or "We have no money right now." Don't worry that you are pestering them (unless you are texting them stuff like "I guess you hate us now LOL") or being too forward--make a move. Hopefully they were just waiting for your signal that you want them the same way they want you.

Happy New Year,

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In my experience, as well as what I've heard from others, it's quite typical that labels that show enthusiastic interest are going to back out one way or another.

Labels are businesses, whether that be well run businesses or poorly run businesses.  In the case of the former, it's to their advantage to string you along, keeping the options open for them, until the timing and momentum is right for them AND they can estimate that you're going to be able to make them enough money.  If the perfect storm doesn't happen, they have no obligations to you.  In the case of the latter it could be a range of things from disorganized unprofessionalism to the A&R guy getting fired to whatever.

Don't take it too personally, and don't let it derail you.

Sylia Stachelrochen
Sylia Stachelrochen

http://www.foxnews.com/opinion/2013/09/03/todd-american-dispatch-christian-bakery-closes-after-lgbt-threats-protests/ "Christian bakery closes after LGBT threats, protests" The bakery didn't say it refused to serve homos. It said it won't bake cakes for 'gay marriages'. It's like a Ukrainian baker saying he will serve communists but will not bake cakes celebrating Stalin. It's like a Jewish baker saying he will serve all people--even Palestinians--but will not bake a cake celebrating Hamas. It's like a black baker saying he will serve everyone but will not bake a cake celebrating the KKK. It's like a Muslim baker saying he will serve everyone but will not bake a cake mocking Muhammad. Now, supporting the Hamas in speech, praising Stalin, joining the KKK, and making fun of Muhammad are all legal in the US. But that doesn't mean one who has the right to force others to support and serve those views. After all, NY Times has the right to reject ads they don't like even if the ad is perfectly legal and protected by free speech. A publisher has the right to reject certain books even if the ideas are legal. A publisher can choose not to publish a book that denounces 'gay marriage'. So, why must a bakery be forced to bake 'gay wedding' cakes? Just because 'gay marriage' is legal in that state doesn't mean everyone has to celebrate it or support it. It's NOT like how businesses in the South refused to serve blacks. The bakery didn't hang a sign saying 'no homos allowed'. It was willing to serve all people. Instead, the bakers refused to make cakes celebrating what they find to be offensive, an abomination. Similarly, professional writers can refuse certain assignments if the subject offends them. And painters can reject certain commissions if the subject offends them even if it's legal. Surely, the homos could have found plenty of bakeries to make them a cake, but they decided to harass this one--with full support of the Jewish-homo dominated government. Homos are out of the closet and using their might to shove anyone opposed to their agenda into the oven.

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