A note on “music labels” that EXPECT ARTISTS TO PAY UP FRONT for their services.
When you sign with a label or music group of any kind (sync licensing, gig booking, etc.), you are entering into a partnership. The exchange is that you provide quality music and any expertise you have in other matters (social media, design, etc.), and the label provides you with promotion, distribution, and othet opportunities to make money from your music. For that service, the label gets a percentage of profits.
This is entirely reasonable. It’s reasonable because it’s a fair exchange based on trust, respect and mutual investment. The label trusts you to provide great music and be generally timely and responsive. You trust the label to represent you and hustle for you. The end result is both of you get paid.
Which is why you should NEVER enter into an agreement with a label that asks you to PAY UP FRONT.
Why? It’s a breach of trust. It’s the label saying they don’t trust that your music will make them money, so they need to take it from you first. It reduces, if not eliminates, the label’s incentive to hustle for you and make mutual profit, because hell - they already got paid. It takes advantage of an artist’s ambition, determination, passion, and let’s face it desperation to make a living.
If a company truly respects your music, and truly believes your music is worth the investment, then it believes you will both make money by working together. It doesn’t need to take it from you.
Hold out. Believe in yourself and the value of your music. The right offer and partnership will come. Don’t pay for the “privilege” of being represented. You’re worth more than that.