Tag Archive for: Atlantic Records

Deal Feature Collage

Atlantic Records just signed Danielle Bregoli, a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie, a.k.a. The “cash me outside” girl.


She got a deal but you haven’t yet.


That sucks, doesn’t it?


It certainly isn’t fair!


I mean after all you’ve worked (or feel you’ve worked) so hard on your craft but this seemingly talentless hack gets a deal?


Yes, because regardless of her talent, she has an audience and it’s a big one.


Deal Bhad Bhabie Instagram Account11 million followers on Instagram.


I can hear you. I’m inside your head. You’re thinking this is BS because the record business should be about talent (maybe specifically your talent) and this is egregious as it gets!


It’s not egregious. This has always happened throughout the history of the record business.



In the old days, the labels were responsible for developing you artistically. They would help you find your audience because artist and market development were cost prohibitive to an indie artist. Financially impossible would be more accurate because we’re talking millions.


In the old days, an artist couldn’t really reach a wide audience, outside of their local or regional area, without millions of dollars and a marketing machine behind them.


Although, many found a way to do it back then without a label…but I digress.


Bhad Bhabie did it with one freakin’ TV appearance.

Deal Me MEME


I can’t be positive on this, but it would seem Danielle and her mother were broke because it would be hard to understand her behavior if she comes from even a lower-middle-class family with her disastrous lack of communication skills.




They didn’t pay millions of dollars to make her famous.


Think about it, there have always been artists that were signed that you thought didn’t deserve to have a deal.


We all subjectively judge the talent, don’t we?


Here’s the harsh reality with a real, tangible silver lining.


Bhad Bhabie wouldn’t have been signed back in the day because they were looking for talent they could develop into an artist that can make money. I just don’t think she’s a player. I don’t think at 14 she’s an operator (if she was older I might suspect a hustle or Schtick here, but I genuinely think she’s this stupid). I don’t think she has any talent let alone enough talent to outweigh a lack of intelligence.

Labels had to play the long game in the old music business. They set up systems for scouting and cultivating artists because it was so expensive back in the day.


The labels could AFFORD to do that because they were making the 2017 equivalent of $16 per CD selling through distribution. You and I were paying the 2017 equivalent of $30 a CD at the record stores.


deal develop talent



Do the math, a platinum record costs maybe two million to three or four million dollars to create and promote it with a return of 16 million dollars. But then if you sell 2 million records…


See my point?



The labels had a reliable marketing pipeline called radio, music television networks (in all genres), and magazines with circulation to expose these artists to a promising audience. They had a direct pipline right into consumer heads.


Now they don’t.Deal Refine Talent


This is the reality you have to get through your head.


THEY DON’T HAVE THAT ANYMORE. They don’t have it to give. Wishing and hoping they do isn’t going to change that.


You’re on your own in the beginning.


Today, labels are forced to play the short game. Or at least a shorter game. They can’t afford to develop you, so you’re not going to get a deal because you have a life-changing demo tape. If by some chance, you do get a deal solely based on your talent, you’re not going to get any label-love or a budget because they can only afford to focus on the artists that are making them money.


Deal Deliver Talent




This is how a record deal becomes a curse.




But Danielle Bregoli was signed in today’s market because she has an audience.


They don’t really care so much about her art. She didn’t get signed for her art!


Deal Car Shots

Via Bhad Bhabie Instagram





Labels are acquiring small businesses and she created one. Whether you approve of the way the business was created is irrelevant.






Riddle me this, Batman, why is it that your default response is to hate on this situation because you feel she has no talent?


Why do you sour on the music business because she got the deal with zero talent and you haven’t yet?


Deal dissapprove MEME


As if she somehow took the last record deal that was meant for you.


My knee-jerk reaction is that this situation provides concrete proof that any artist can create art on their own terms and get a deal provided there is an audience that wants to hear it. Create the business and they’ll come-a-calling.





Trust me, in the old days, the lucky artists who got into the label system were met with a TRUCKLOAD of artistic compromises.


But that can be different now if you want it to be.


If the labels only care about the audience, the pure artist with a viable business gets carte blanche on their art.


That scenario was an anomaly in the past. It was the exception to the rule.


Now, you may be thinking that it came easy for her after one horrifically daft Dr. Phil appearance. I think you’d be correct on that.


But she got the audience!


deal audience MEME




Your next thought should be I need to start building my audience immediately. I don’t have time to waste!





Because yours probably isn’t going to grow that fast. Sorry.



But it will grow consistently if you want it to (think “The Tortoise and The Hare”).


Deal The-Tortoise-and-the-Hare



If you’re an artist who cannot afford to pay a team but still desire to make a living in the music business, then you must learn to market. Period.




No if’s, and’s, or but’s about it.


It’s not OK to state that you don’t understand marketing, you don’t like marketing, or you think marketing is beneath you but complain about a lack of market attention.


This is the way the game works now. Play it or take your ball and go home.




You must do the work.


Deal work MEMEGet THAT through your head.


I understand you don’t know how to market, but you must learn or face the fact that your music will never be heard.


Any artist who says they make their art for themselves and nobody else cannot contradict that statement with any manifestation of frustration because they can’t make a living doing it.


Art for you is art for you. That’s fine, but that definition means nobody else needs to know or care.


If you have any desire to make one penny playing your music then you’re going to have to become a marketer.


Too many of MY artists feel they are somehow above marketing. We do a ton for them but they still have to play in the sandbox with us to make it work.


Too many of my artists want to play the rock star game. Many are seriously rock stars, and some others are developing quite nicely but not there yet.


But if they don’t adapt, nobody will ever know.


My final thought is that if you’re pissed about this signing, you’re entitled. You feel you deserve the deal and she doesn’t. That’s entitlement.


Entitlement is the gateway drug to a victim mentality.


Deal victim


Victim mentalities presuppose that your success, your livelihood is somehow out of your control.


Victims get to pass the buck because it’s not their fault.


It’s ok for victims to fail.


You have everything you need to significantly ratchet your career up.


Don’t be a victim.







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Prove Your Worth

We are constantly hearing comments from up and coming indie artists like “I just need to get my deal [and then I’ll be successful]” or “If I could just get in front of the right person, I know I could be successful.” I got news for you, the record business doesn’t work like that anymore. These days it’s simply not enough to have talent, you have to PROVE that you’re worth it.

You have to PROVE that your art has value in the marketplace.Prove Show you are valuable small


In other words you have to create success for yourself before anyone of value or power will believe that you can generate revenue for them.

Do you see the naïveté in those comments?

You cannot intelligently approach this dream of yours thinking that someone else is going to make you a star.

Record labels are no longer developing artists, they are now buying small business and turning them into big businesses.

Prove Daredevil Production

The Daredevil Production, LLC business model is built around this fact. Kelly and I develop artists artistically and in the marketplace to help them become small profitable businesses so they will be more attractive to the big money players.

You can’t build your business model around a 20 year old music business model.  Yes, there are exceptions to the rule.

  • What intelligent business model is built around exceptions to the rule (A.K.A. winning the lottery)?
  • If you did win you would actually lose because your deal would suck so bad you might end up being a broke country star.

Prove National LotteryFYI, there were plenty of broke rock stars in the 80’s and it wasn’t because they were bad with money, it’s because they were rock stars making $400/week.


Pretty sad, huh?


Do you want your deal to look like this?




I got more news for you, even in the heyday of the record business, the “easiest” record deals came to the derivative acts.  The acts that were signed simply because the labels saw some quick money to be made with an artist that could capture a little Prove Iconicmarket overflow from a lane forged by an iconic trailblazer.


The game-changers, the icons we know today HAD TO PROVE THEIR VALUE IN THE MARKETPLACE because they were so different.

The story hasn’t changed much.

This statement is relative to every decade in the music business.Prove High Risk

No one wants to sign something that is different from what is happening right now on terrestrial radio because it’s too risky.

How do they know if the market will like it?

If a genre or artistic lane is getting a lot of love on terrestrial radio (like “bro-country” for instance) there is proof that the style is popular in the marketplace and therefore money to be made.

If you are different or new, in any decade, YOU would need to provide evidence that even though terrestrial radio is currently not playing your style, your music has VALUE in the marketplace.


Prove DIY

You are going to have to do this yourself.





Here are 20 artists who had to prove their music had value to get their record deals.


  1. Mötley Crüe – Nobody wanted to sign Mötley Crüe. They were too weird.  They created their own record label Prove Motley Crue Too Fast For LoveLeathür Records and self-released Too Fast for Love.  Mötley’s local popularity was so huge in 1981 that they sold 40,000 copies in Los Angeles alone.  FYI the wiki link says 20k but I’m pretty sure my sources are more accurate. ;)  These sales led to an Elektra Records deal in late 1982 where they remixed the Crüe’s debut record and re-released it. Mötley Crüe incarnated the glam-metal-hair-band genre of the 80’s.  Thank you fellas!
  2. Ratt – Since 1976 many self-financed singles, records, and live show recordings were being distributed to galvanize Ratt’s (previously Mickey Ratt) LA club following. This led to a Prove Ratt Out of the Cellarmeager indie record deal where they released the Ratt EP in 1983.  After 20,000 units sold that was enough to convince Atlantic Records that they had value. Atlantic released their debut full length record entitled Out of the Cellar in 1984.
  3. Bon Jovi – Jon worked at a shoe store while mopping floors at The Power Station Studios in NYC where he was granted access to the storied recording facility after hours. When did he sleep?  He recorded 50 + demos of Prove Jon Bon Jovi“Runaway”(one was produced by Billy Squier) and shopped them to the labels.  Nobody cared. At the time, Jon was also WORKING for WAPP “The Apple” writing and singing jingles.  DJ Chip Hobart asked Jon to include “Runaway” on a compilation record for the station (a move Jon was very apprehensive about) and that single became a huge “local” hit.  Local was NYC which was the #1 market in the country and that was enough proof to entice A&R rep Derek Shulman to sign Jon to Mercury Records.
  4. Skid Row – The first Skid Row record was written by Jon Bon Jovi, Richie Sambora, and Prove Skid RowJack Ponti. Skid Row band members Dave Sabo and Rachel Bolan were listed as writers for the purposes of street cred which was mission critical to hair metal bands of the 80’s. This record was entirely created and funded by Jon Bon Jovi after the Slippery When Wet album tour was finished. He had proven his skills had value in the marketplace. Even with all that power behind him (Bon Jovi was probably one of the top 3 acts in the country at that time), and the record completed, Jason Flom from Atlantic Records wouldn’t give Skid Row a deal until Bon Jovi agreed in writing to allow Skid Row to open every date on the upcoming New Jersey World Tour.  After that contract was signed guaranteeing massive exposure for the band, Flom gave them a $1,000,000 cash advance.
  5. Florida Georgia Line – FGL was developed by one of the most powerful and successful Nashville songwriters, Craig Wiseman. They were produced by multi-platinum engineer/producer Joey Moi.  All this power and marquis Prove FGL Cruisevalue and every label still said “NO”; they were too different.  They STILL had to prove they had value.  They exercised a relationship on satellite radio where “Cruise” became a smash hit.  Then they orchestrated an 8 month tour to support the single (privately financed) where they succeeded in selling 100,000 downloads of the single. The record didn’t change, the songs didn’t change, and the production didn’t change. The only thing that changed was the perception.  Every label then said “YES” and they signed with Scott Borchetta’s Republic Nashville label under the Big Machine umbrella.
  6. Zac Brown Band – Zac had been touring over 200 dates a year with an acoustic trio Prove Zac Brownsince 2002. Constantly writing and recording and shopping to record labels. They were “too pop” for all the country labels and “too country” for all the pop labels. While Zac was touring they were selling records, tickets and merch. They managed a small profitable ZBB business for 10 years which was enough proof to garner one of the sweetest deals in town which is really a Joint Venture between Zac’s own Southern Ground (formerly Home Grown) label imprint Prove Luke Bryanand Atlantic Records.
  7. Luke Bryan – reached success as a songwriter to prove his music had value. He penned the title track to Travis Tritt’s 2004 release My Honky Tonk History. Which helped him get a deal with Capitol Records.  Here’s the thing, while he was working on his debut album he managed to co-write Billy Currington’s #1 single “Good Directions” which certainly helped when it came time for the label to allocate promotional funds for Bryan’s debut record.
  8. Brantley Gilbert – Proved his music had value in marketplace by writing hit songs first. Prove Brantley GilbertHe had cuts like “The Best of Me” on Jason Aldean’s 2009 release Wide Open. This resulted in an indie record deal where he released his debut record that included “My Kinda Party” which became a #1 after it was re-recorded by Jason Aldean for his 2010 release of the same name.  Brantley’s 2nd #1 was “Dirt Road Anthem” co-written by country rap artist Colt Ford.  This effort led to Brantley’s deal on Scott Borchetta’s Valory label and insured proper attention to Brantley’s releases once he got his shot.
  9. Chase Rice – He co-wrote one of the biggest hits of the last 5 years “Cruise” by Florida Georgia Line. BIG time proof his music has value.  Now he has a deal and a gold single with “Ready, Set, Roll”.
  10. Sam Hunt – He penned Kenny Chesney’s “Come Over”, Keith Urban’s “Cop Car”, and Billy Currington’s “We Are Tonight” before independently releasing his own single. This led to a major label deal with MCA Nashville and his current #1 single “Leave the Night On”.
  11. Cole Swindell – wrote these songs to prove his music had value. Then he independently released “Chillin’ It” and THEN he got his deal with Warner Bros.Prove Cole Swindell
    1. Craig Campbell’s “Outta My Head”
    2. Luke Bryan’s “Just a Sip”, “Beer in the Headlights”, “Roller Coaster”, “Out Like That”, “I’m Hungover”, “I’m in Love with the Girl”, “Love in a College Town”, “Shore Thing”, “Shake the Sand” and “The Sand I Brought to the Beach”
    3. Thomas Rhett’s “Get Me Some of That”
    4. Scotty McCreery’s “Water Tower Town” and “Carolina Eyes”
    5. He also co-wrote Florida Georgia Line’s “This is How We Roll” with Luke Bryan
  12. Lee Brice – Co-wrote Garth Brooks 2007 single “More Than a Memory” which was the first single in the history of the Billboard Hot Country Songs chart to debut at #1. He also signed his artist deal with Curb Records the same year. Coincidence?
  13. Ani DeFranco – Ani has been independent all along. She started her own label Righteous Babe Records at the age ofProve Ani DeFranco 18. She recorded everything on her own with an 8-track reel to reel and toured her ass off.  She put out 5 records from 1990-1994 before partnering with Koch International to distribute her 6th independent release Not a Pretty Girl.  Who knows how many major label deals she has turned down?
  14. Granger Smith / Earl Dibbles Jr. – These are both the same person. By independently writing, recording, and releasing records Granger Smith has utilized social media to create an empire that generates over $1.5 million dollars per year in revenue. This activity created the college football picks on-air position Earl Dibbles Jr. holds every Saturday with CBS.
  15. Jamey Johnson – He co-wrote the huge Trace Adkins hit “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” which garnered him a deal with BNA Records in 2005.
  16. Randy Houser – Co-wrote “Honky Tonk Badonkadonk” with Jamey Johnson and Dallas Davidson for Trace Adkins in 2005. That proof of value led to a major label deal in 2008.
  17. Karmin – Proved that her talent had value in the marketplace by posting consistent YouTube videos of cover songs. Prove KarminThe breakthrough was her cover of “Look at Me Now” by Chris Brown, Lil’ Wayne, and Busta Rhymes. That video currently has over 93 million views and led to a record deal and a solid fan base.
  18. Macklemore and Ryan Lewis – Are the first duo in the history of the Billboard Hot 100 chart to have their first 2 singles go to #1, both without the support of a major label. The duo accumulated 613 million views of their video for “Thrift Shop” on YouTube. They currently have over 1.3 million subscribers on their YouTube channel.Prove Macklemore
  19. Noah – Posted a cover that he creatively manipulated to his own artistic lane on YouTube for 77 weeks in a row. He built a steadily growing subscribership until the 77th video which was this version of LMFAO’s “Sexy and I Know It”. This video blew up and went viral.  Around 2 million views he started monetizing it.  Around 6 million views, he implemented a pop-up to direct viewers to his IndieGoGo crowdfunding campaign where he was able to procure $100,000 for his first record.  He now has over 22 million views and a solid career.
  20. Thomas Rhett – is the son of hit singer songwriter Rhett Akins. Prove Thomas RhettStill, it took until he wrote “I Ain’t Ready to Quit” which was cut by Jason Aldean for his My Kinda Party album to prove his music had value in the market place which resulted a major label deal.




All these hit artists had to PROVE that their music was valuable BEFORE they got their deals or continue to prosper independent of major deals.


Nobody is going to come to your door and make you a star.

Nobody is going to risk their money on what you plan to do.

Major labels and big private money investors will only invest in your career based on your reputation.

You can only have a reputation based on what you have done, NOT what you are going to do.

Stay in tune.


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