I never liked the idea of having a record label, because you’re too deeply invested into something you don’t control.
So if I were to have a label, my decision of who to sign wouldn’t be decided just by the quality of the music. There are plenty of people with great music but destructive work-habits or an unsustainable approach to their career.
To confidently invest in an artist (as a label), I’d want to see:
- every song has been absolutely improved repeatedly — every note/syllable crafted to be the best it can be
- vocal performance is not just perfect but striking
- arrangement is everything it can be to bring out the song
- arrangement offers a new idea to the world, and not just the usual paint-by-numbers
- photos/image are striking and amazing, and capture the essense of the music
- live show is so entertaining that even a deaf person would enjoy it
- band has been around, recording and gigging, for at least two years
- artist has done this for a few years and still believes that this is their real calling in life, regardless of external rewards (or total lack of)
- band members don’t need unreasonable amounts of money to perform (can perform profitably)
- band can entertain a crowd without props or big sound system (in-store appearances)
- off-stage persona is sustainable (stamina, dealing with fans well, etc)
- no addicts — to anything
- a persistently healthy attitude to the immense amount of work it really takes to be successful at anything
And so you see why I’ll never have a label. Who could possibly fit this list?