Should You Take The Record Deal or Not?


There is a saying that one bird in the hand is better than two in the bush. This has a lot of truth to it unless you are willing to gamble. Basically this means that if you could get something today then that is worth more than possibly getting twice as much tomorrow. The reason being is that things change as time passes, see people will change their mind or their situation changes therefore everything that was promised can go up in smoke. Also waiting on people can lead you to pass on lesser opportunities that will no longer exist later. Yet the flip side to this is a lack of patience makes you settle for less than you are worth.

At the end of the day I believe having an understanding of your status and product is the key to determining your path. For example I have known two acts who legitimentally has had record labels give them record deals to sign. Neither act actually signed and to this day neither act is actually doing anything in music. I understand the first deal is always a 360 deal that takes complete advantage of you but if you have nothing else going for yourself then that may be your best chance. Most bet on themselves that they can continue to build their notoriety and get a better deal down the line yet don’t have the hustle or organization to do so. One of those acts was financed by big money, the cost to build the buzz was more than the deal offered so they turned it down. Yet that money dried up and the buzz went with it, all but a waste now. When you think about it sure they could have gotten a terrible deal but they could have flipped it into more instead of hoping for better. The two bird theory played out exactly here.

Yet the flip side of that coin is when you look at artist who bet big on themselves and were able to endure until it payed off. Look at Nipsey Hussle who finally signed a deal and will be releasing his first major album. There has been many deals on the table on the table for him but none fit. Reportedly Rick Ross wanted him on Maybach Music but he turned that down because he wanted to be the boss and you can’t be that under someone like Ross. Record Labels also made offers but all of them were 360 deals so he turned them all down. The difference here is that Nipsey Hussle could live forever off the fanbase he has that buy his mixtapes for $100+. Therefore he had all the time in the world to get the right deal because his business was making money. It made no sense for him to sell himself short so he had the ability to trap the two birds in the bush.

The moral to this story is to know your position in the game to determine if you should sign a deal. Understand that 99% of all deals given in music is terrible for the artist until they prove themselves. If you aren’t already self sustained with money coming in based on shows, sales, merchandising, streams, etc then it may be a wise move to take the terrible deal. At least from that point you will have the opportunity and notoriety to continue to build. Sadly most people don’t have the hustle to be able to endure but they paid for a buzz that will fade away putting them in a tough spot. The best way to do it is to not get the money investment until you are ready with an action plan in motion that is seeing results as well as being developed musically enough to gain respect of your peers. From that point you can wait for the right deal. If you don’t have this then take the deal.