In Grow Your Band's Audience and Music Management for the Rest of Us, I write about how the best kind of record deal you can land is a "P&D." That stands for pressing and distribution, and it means you, the artist, are basically hiring a major label to manufacture and distribute your disc -- the two things that major labels are really, really good at.
When you have enough fans in place to make a P&D deal worthwhile for everyone, it's a great thing. You pay for your own production and marketing expenses out of pocket, but you own the masters and control your own outreach campaign. You won't find yourself getting backburnered by your own marketing department. And a label gets to pad out their roster with a surefire money maker.
Sure, labels don't exactly promote the fact that they do this -- it chips away at the mythos of record label as kingmaker. But smart music management agencies like The Firm and its chief, Jeff Kwatinetz, understand that these upfront deals are essential to keep the most money in his clients' pockets.
[ via The Digital Music Weblog ]