5 Things to Consider When Choosing Agencies and Labels

When offered a deal it is natural to become excited and feel a sense of relief. All of the applications, auditions, and networking seem to have paid off. Not all the stress is over just yet. You now have the need for a vital decision: whether or not to accept the offer. How do you know if the offering label or agency is right for you and your talents? Or, what if you have to choose between two attractive offers? Considering the many pros and cons can certainly become a bit overwhelming, so here are some of the most important factors to keep in mind when you’re considering your options.

1. The People

As the famous Jerry Maguire quote states “Show me the money”.  It is easy to assume that the offer with the highest monetary value associated with it is a sure win. One may be surprised to find that money is not the number one satisfying factor amongst any type of talent/employee. While money will in fact make most industry experts top ten list you will not find it here at number one. More so, the number first item that should be addressed is the people. Your management, your label-mates, and the other models that will surround you everyday are crucial for your happiness and success. It may be challenging to judge people after only meeting them briefly, but think about how they treated you during the interview process. Were they friendly? Did they ask personal questions as well as professional ones? Did they call you back in a timely manner?

The answers to these questions may reflect on how well you will be treated at the agency/label. I recently interviewed with a record label management company who mentioned during our brief interview/meeting that they were looking to fill the position very quickly like within the next seven to ten days. They didn’t call back for several weeks after our speed-interview. When I finally got the return call, we proceeded with a 10-minute interview, and then they made me an offer. Is someone who’s ready to hire you after 15 minutes really considering how well you’ll fit into the team?

2. The Environment

Consider the pros and cons of working for different agencies and labels. There are many to consider such as corporations, agencies, non-profits, start-ups, and indie labels. They each are unique in their own rights and provide very, very different environments.  It is essential to understand and decide which structure you will thrive in. If you tend to me more of an individual who likes structure and competition, a more established corporate path may be suited for you. If you prefer a fast-paced environment that’s fueled by constant change, an agency or start-up may be a better environmental selection.

3. The Stability

A lot of labels and agencies are able to influence prospective talents with their past work or current industry earnings. These are great and should be considered; but in addition, take some time to do research on the labels/agency’s recent signings and talent opportunities. Also consider has it been operating steadily during the recent turmoil in the economic climate? If so, this may be a huge advantage for this particular label/agency. If not, proceed with caustion: the last thing you want to do is get very excited for an opportunity that may be gone 12-24 months down the road.

4. The Money

When considering a label/agency, or comparing two, often the most tempting thing to do is to go for the one offering the most money. In many cases this is not the best approach. Ironically, sometimes this approach may be debated as the worst approach. Making a decision to accept an offer solely on money and opting to ignore critical other factors could lead to unhappiness and short lived tenure.  I’m sure many of us may have been tempted by higher paying gigs or may know someone who has. Unfortunately, I have heard one too many times the situation ending with that person hating the higher paying opportunity and eventually taking a pay cut to work somewhere they love.  Let’s not be confused here…Money is extremely important while considering opportunities, but always remember that salary is only a small part of overall happiness while working.

A good rule of thumb is to consider what salary you know you can live with, as well as the amount that would make a job offer irresistible. Keep both of those numbers in mind and use this when negotiating your contracts. Think more about the potential of the entire package and less about the numbers on your paycheck.

5. Gut Feeling

By definition your gut feeling is a visceral emotional reaction to something.  Gut feelings are generally regarded as not modulated by conscious thought, and as a reflection of intuition rather than rationality. The phrase “gut feeling” may also be used as a short-hand term for an individual’s “common sense” perception of what is considered “the right thing to do”. After you’ve considered all of the important factors, take a moment to feel and listen to what your gut is telling you. People often say when asked how they met their significant other “you just know – you can feel it” Same advice here: if you are considering what modeling agency or record label to sign with – if everything feels right (or wrong),  pay attention to that feeling.

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