Want To Be A 'Signed' Musician? Any And All Records Will Take You

from the sign-up-now dept

One of the more frustrating things in the startup world is the view that many have that the “goal” is to raise VC funding, and then everything’s “done.” The same sort of thing seems to happen in the music industry, whereby many musicians get so focused on being “signed” to a label, that they never step back and question if that’s even necessary. In fact, they seem to think that “unsigned” has a stigma attached to it, just as many startups that haven’t been funded feel as if they’re somehow inferior. To correct that “impression” two of my favorite thinkers on the music industry, Andrew Dubber and Steve Lawson, have launched Any And All Records. The basics are explained:

We want you to sign to our record label.

But before you do… you should know that we will do nothing for you. That said, we also won’t cost you anything, we won’t take anything from you or own anything of yours either. No exploitation – and there is no small print.

We want to sign you simply so that you will no longer be “unsigned”. We want to sign EVERYONE so that there are no more “unsigned artists” in the world.

That’s our mission.

So go ahead and join what should quickly become the largest music label on the planet, based on the number of artists signed. And, while the label won’t “release” your record, it certainly will provide a ton of useful resources for independent musicians to help create, promote, distribute and monetize their art. That page alone is a pretty good resource list. They also will provide some nice graphics if you want to show people that you’re “signed.”

Of course, some will argue that this is a joke, and it sort of is. But it’s one that is making a really good point. Artists shouldn’t be embarrassed by the fact that they aren’t “signed” to a label. These days, there are so many ways that independent musicians can do things, that not every artist needs a label and “getting signed” doesn’t need to be the primary goal.

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Companies: any and all records

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Comments on “Want To Be A 'Signed' Musician? Any And All Records Will Take You”

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VMax says:

Re: Re:

This just makes me sick. People spending their free time and effort doing something just because they love it. WAKE UP!!! You shouldn’t do anything without a monetary incentive. Where would society be if people did things for free? How can I collect money for selling your efforts if you just give it away? I’m the one with the initial money, I’m the one with influence, I’m the one who can steer policy to maintain those rights. How can you sleep at night knowing that my family can’t vacation in Aruba because you decided to give things away?

Anonymous Musician says:

Re: Re: Re:

“You rip off stuff from bands whether they’re on a label or not.”

You attack and verbally abuse people regularly whether they’re a file sharer or not.

“Your infantile, stale attempt at using label-hate as a rationalization for ripping off artists is an abject failure yet again.”

Your infantile, stale attempt at using sharer-hate as a rationalization for ripping off consumers is an abject failure yet again.

“You fools never learn.”

Right back at you ten fold.

fogbugzd (profile) says:

I wonder if this “universal label” will eventually get any bargaining or political power when it comes to claiming to represent artists.

If the label actually provides some useful services I could see them successfully doing a CwF, or in this case Connect with Artists. Building some loyalty with their artists could turn into a considerable force that could be mobilized politically.

Mason Wheeler (profile) says:


Interesting, but if they don’t do anything to help artists record, produce, promote or sell their music in any way, then how can they be honestly described as a record label?

Isn’t a label supposed to be a business that provides an actual useful service? Seems to me that this is actually unhelpful, since the implications are that “the only way to keep from screwing the artists over like the big labels do is to not do any of the actual useful and beneficial things that the big labels also do.”

That One Guy (profile) says:

Re: Hmm...

You seem to have missed a part of the article:

And, while the label won’t “release” your record, it certainly will provide a ton of useful resources for independent musicians to help create, promote, distribute and monetize their art.

Or in other words the idea is that they provide all the good services, and just skip the whole ‘your entire life and career is now owned by someone else’ bit.

Michael says:

Seriously, who cares in this day and age about whether you’re signed to a label or not? Believe it or not, people have been making music just fine for centuries without the existance of any record label. Indeed, the ‘record label’ is a 20th century institution built entirely out of greed and corruption. How many more horror stories must people read about artists being exploited, cheated, ruined and stolen from before they get the hint?

Cb (user link) says:

The Modern Music Label is an Accessible Platform for Most Professional Artists, But Still Very Selective ...

In this age, the idea of being “signed” with a label is more of belonging to a collective that is able to promote from a brand as a platform. That should not cost artists anything to do, if they are also producers. If you want a house loan because you want to spend 100k on your next album, then the “traditional” record label model is the route to go. We are fortunate to be living in a time that allows artists to literally reach most everyone on the planet with their art, music, etc. That is a good thing. This new paradigm allows the consumer to drive the economics of art – as it should be, rather than corporations almost exclusively choosing who should be marketed and presented to the consumer. That is a good thing too. All that said, “any and all records will take you” is misleading because you still have to be outstanding to be associated with most any serious music brand. Rather, any person with a computer and ReverbNation page can pretend to be a music label. But, I know that you have to be outstanding for most any professional collective to “take you” on its roster. Nice humor in this piece. Thanks, Cb

Jack says:


I agree with you on the volunteering aspect of this society… ridiculous to be exploited for nothing! But while it’s necessary to have money to support yourself, music and the arts are tools of freedom and expression. As soon as you gear it towards making money, it’s very likely to have the shackles of consumerism. If you are a musician, break away!! Forge your own path of meaning and spirituality in finding your own voice, and creating strong bonds with people with the message of love. If you have to have a day job have a day job, but don’t be a slave to the values of the current mainstream. We can be better than that.

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