You might well want to learn some of the basics of what’s in a record deal before you ever find yourself presented with one.
The major record companies, like it or not, do still have the monopoly on big league marketing and promotion – you can succeed without it, but I know from experience that many artists grab that deal with the devil when it passes by….and some even do well by it!
This post has some great advice and good basic information on what to expect.
Recording contracts are extremely complex and it’s almost impossible to explain all possible provisions a contract might contain in simple terms. If an artist finds his or her self presented with a recording contract the absolutely most important thing to do is to find an attorney with experience in the music business (not a cousin’s friend who closes real estate contracts for a living) to review the agreement and negotiate on their behalf with the record company’s legal department or outside attorney. Recording contracts are written by the record labels and their attorneys and can be structured as less than advantageous for the artist.