I got signed by a record label today.
Any And All Records sign anyone and everyone through their website without any money changing hands and without there being any strict legal ties between the artist and the label. So you could get signed, too!
The idea may seem to be just about giving music labels the finger, but I think it’s also about getting over this idea that getting signed is a musician’s ultimate goal. I could maybe understand that mentality from someone living in an era when the only way one could ever dream of having one’s music heard any further than the local pubs you played in and the only way of increasing the possibility of living a life where your main source of income was music so that you could just devote all of your time and efforts to the thing you love was to get signed. But with the way we can distribute music online now, getting signed is not something quite as pertinent. Getting signed with EMI would certainly help things along, and the big labels are still most likely in charge of the tracks that are finding their way to the top of the charts, but there are just way more possibilities now outside of these big labels and they’re growing all the time* (big surprise, yeah? Insightful stuff happening here. The Internet has changed things. Probably the first time you’ve read someone pointing that kind of thing out, I’d bet).
Any And All Records launched today and it already has more than 100 artists on its roster. Tom Robinson posted about it on Twitter and I followed through to a blog post by one of the founders, Steve Lawson (http://bit.ly/LnJsHE) explaining the reasoning behind it.
It’s a really smart idea, I think, and another way that the Internet is democratising music and all that kind of thing. I wanted to do a “proper” blog post talking some more about it on my “main” blog but I’m currently in a hostel on my phone and so might wait until I next get access to a big old proper computer machine to do that. So you get this little nugget of something or other, Tumblr. Don’t mention it.
I’ll just leave a quote from Steve’s blog post which sums things up nicely and explains the ethos of Any And All Records, I reckon:
“We’ll sign you, I promise. As you’ll see on the site, we offer nothing by way of finances, support, resources or promotion, but neither do we ask for anything from you. It’s entirely non-exclusive, you owe us no money, you’re just no longer ‘unsigned’. So we can stop talking about it, and get on with the life-long task of making the most amazing music we possibly can.
I’ve never – as a listener, journalist, musician or friend of musicians – found any remotely useful distinction between being ‘signed’ and not signed. the idea of labeling ourselves (or other people) as ‘unsigned’ is about as useful as describing us as ‘untall’ – just so you know the music was made by tiny people. Unsigned implies that either the ideal state is to be signed and this person isn’t, or that there’s some qualitative meaningful difference between an artist on a label and one who who isn’t. Both of those statements are steaming piles of bullshit.”
So any future releases from me are going to be on Any And All Records. So there’s nice, eh?
*RETROSPECTIVE EDIT: I don’t want to give the impression that I’m dismissing all music released by record labels. You may have heard of The Beatles, for example? And I’d be reasonably confident in placing a bet that, because of the era they were making music, we may not have heard of them had it not been for them signing a record deal. Also, I wouldn’t be signing with this record company if i thought that. What I’m saying is that the signing of a deal is becoming less relevant, there’s quality stuff being released by both record companies and independent/unsigned artists alike, and so having the ability to say that you’re signed leaves one less thing to have to bother with so you can just get on with making music.