There’s a post on our main blog that adds some background steps on how to get a record deal – you might want to read it as well as these below.
Then there’s this great 2 part post from the Live Unsigned Blog.
Part 1 looks at the position you need to be in to get signed – you’re best off creating a ‘buzz’ with DIY musician efforts (although I believe sending in a demo if you’re at that stage is still a reasonable use of your time – a long shot for sure, but worth it if that deal is what you’re after).
Although it is possible to do really well completely independently some people still want a record deal, some see it as a form of validation. Some artists only want to concentrate on the music and let the label handle the business (although I’d argue that its easier to concentrate on the music if you have control of your own career). Signing to a label isn’t about forgetting about the business side of things – its the start. Labels expect you to work hard promoting your product and can often fail to do the same for you. Its not ever going to be that easy.
Part 2 lists a whole load of things you need to get straight if they offer you that deal!
Make sure you get a music industry lawyer to review anything before you sign it. I know of one indie label that signs a lot of indie acts then just uploads their music to Bandcamp and takes a large percentage of the sales. The bands could do this themselves and make far more money, they gain nothing from the deal. Don’t let this happen to you. If its a bad deal just walk away.
These two posts have a lot of good advice – check them out.