As an artist should you have to pay an independent record label money upfront to make you be heard national, record a video,?

Asked about 2 years ago - Farmington Hills, MI

Me And my group just found an indie recorded label that seem like they could make us successful. now they are asking that we pay all together 10000 dollars or 447 up front or 150 month until we have the chance to pay it off. they want us to go to another state for 3 months to do somthing with their coroporate office then come back and record a video. but if we cant pay we have to have a meeting next week. my question is should you have to come out of pocket to pay? is it a scam ?, i really want to know before we proceed to pay them any type of money thank you

Additional information

I have just re-Learned that the fees of 447 are for to take a production class upfront on and other fees are just owed

Attorney answers (7)

  1. Daniel Adam Pepper

    Contributor Level 10


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This sounds highly questionable. Is the label also producing your work? You should ask for a written contract and have an entertainment lawyer review it for you. Most reputable labels will not require payment from you, and instead recoup their fees from sales of your content.

  2. Ivan Jose Parron


    Contributor Level 15


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . No respectful record label would ever make an artist pay to be signed with them. They would have no "skin" in the game so why would you trust them? Does your band retain ownership in their work product and your intellectual property? You should consult with an entertainment attorney to review your situation before signing or commiting to anything.

  3. Kyler Evan Mcgillicuddy

    Contributor Level 2


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . I concur with the other opinions given. Any label that isn't trying to rip you off will give you an advance, even a small one, that you then repay through your royalties. Don't be scammed, consult an entertainment attorney and make sure you get everything in writing.

  4. David M. Slater

    Contributor Level 11


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . This is highly suspect. The record company usually pays the artist an advance which is recoupable from the artist's royalty. I would steer clear of any record company where the artist has to pay them.

  5. Michael Andrew Upshaw

    Contributor Level 4


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . It does sound weird for a "label" to ask you for money. Generally, a label will advance costs of production and promotion (or just promotion with many indie labels). It is unusual for them to ask for money. You're likely giving them the right to a fair amount of the proceeds from your efforts--let them front the cash. You should have an attorney on your team to help you negotiate terms which will help you grow your brand and minimize any liability down the road.

    This answer is for general informational purposes only and creates no attorney-client agreement. Any legal issue... more
  6. Steven Todd Lowe

    Contributor Level 4


    Lawyers agree

    Answered . Generally speaking a record label pays the artist and not the other away around. While indy record labels are notorious for not giving artist advances, they generally will still pay recording costs. Sometimes, the indy record label will require the artists to deliver master recordings and not even pay the recording costs. However, I have never heard of a situation where the artist had to pay the label. Please contact us with any questions, 310.477.5811.

  7. Bruce E. Burdick


    Contributor Level 20


    Lawyer agrees

    Answered . This appears to be a scam or a vanity publisher. Some indie labels are very fly-by-nite as nowadays all it takes is about $10K to set up a decent recording studio in your basement. Many are underfunded and so they want to make money off you rather than off your CD/DVD and they want it quick before you get away. Of course they want to make you successful, or at least say they do, as that keeps you paying. What they want more is for you to make them successful whether or not you are successful. That's not the normal deal. No major artist would sign up to something like that. Is this 10K contingent in any way on this indie label making you successful? If not, then they have no skin in the game and you should be looking elsewhere for a label that is willing to bet THEIR money rather than YOUR money.

    I am not your lawyer and you are not my client. Free advice here is without recourse and any reliance thereupon is... more

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