December 4, 2013 - submitted by Fred, United Kingdom

Q. Heyy,

So I recently got interest from a very large independent label. They said that off the back of my music they would sign me but due to fanbase I'm not signable as of yet. They put me onto a smaller label. My question is that I can't seem to find any bands who have really really made it who are on an independent label. The first label I was talking about said they do a 3 year deal. However, if the first label don't actually get me out there then I may be stuck with them for the 3 years. Should I go with the independent label and then not possibly get signed to a bigger label e.g. Parlophone, Universal. I need help, thanks.

The Oracle replies:

I'm going to get a little tough with you here, Fred. Brace yourself.
You don't seem to be remotely excited by the opportunity you have - whether you take it or not. It's great to have ANY interest and offer.
If you're not signable yet but have been offered a 3 year deal (er, isn't that therefore signable) it seems to me, they have hope for you. As a very large independent with a smaller label, they're not insignificant.
I would hope you would have done more research than it appears.
Who else is on their roster? What success have they had previously? Who are you working with? What are their strategies? If you haven't asked yourself any of these questions for starters, maybe you should.
Oh and if you can't find bands who have had success through smaller labels, you're not looking hard enough!

Now to you... they obviously see some potential in you but they are right. You have no fan base and that will not come just by signing a contract. There is hard work to be done and not just by them. It's as if you think the label are 100% responsible for your fanbase but they're not; you are too!
You've got to crack on & write some great material. Radio won't play you and press won't write about you if they don't know who you are so getting fans will help spread the word. 3 years may seem like a lifetime but try to be patient as this could be the exact right route for you.
I shall impart another pearl of wisdom. I asked 2 heavyweight managers the same question (on two consecutive days) and their answers will probably confuse you even more but I say there is no right or wrong - go with your gut.

"If you were offered one deal but it wasn't the right one, would you take it if it was the only offer you had?"
One said no, he would hold out for his artist even if another deal never came.
The other said yes, a deal is a deal - take it.