After yesterday's mailbag entry on royalties, our friend Ken Muse pointed me to a great breakdown of the current record deal math done by Cord Jefferson at The Root.
By the math in the article, the average "signed" musician makes $23.40 for every $1,000 of revenue earned by the label.
Think about it in terms of downloads. Get signed to a label, and sell 1,000 downloads in your first week of release. That's still pretty respectable for most acts, and can even get you on some charts. With a coupon code, you can now have two pizzas delivered from Papa John's.
So why bother? What can a record deal do for you that you can't put together yourself?