How to Sign a Record Deal with Jay-Z


You want a record deal? What year are you living in? They don’t even sell records anymore, heck digital downloads will soon tank once the public gets a hit of streaming services.

Let me tell you there is absolutely no point waiting to be “discovered”. You’ll either end up waiting forever or you’ll get signed and be miserable.

Why will you be miserable? Because if you get signed without having a fan base, you’re going to have to build your fan base on the record label’s terms (and by terms the record label will be paying to promote you which will be coming out of your budget). Not only that but if you get signed without a fan base, you’ll have no leverage during contract negotiations and will really have signed yourself up to be a slave for a massive corporation.

If you really want to make it today sign yourself and be a slave to what works. What does this mean? It means you need to test yourself in the free market. That means put up a Youtube video of yourself singing or rapping and see what the heck happens. 99% of the time nothing ground breaking will happen. You’ll be lucky to get more than 10,000 views.

So what do you do? You try again and again and again, until you figure out what works. You’ll know what works when your video actually gets 100,000 views and has tons of comments, likes and dislikes. For example, 2 Chainz was able to blow up of one Youtube video.

You see Youtube is the free market. Kids these days don’t have subscriptions to spotify or rdio: when they want to hear their favorite songs they go to Youtube. Every song is free to hear on Youtube so long as you can sit through a 15 second commercial or whenever that “skip this ad” button appears.

You’ll know you’re music video is working when even months after its release, it continues to get thousands of views each day. You’ll know that your music is connecting when even months after you’ve released it, your twitter and facebook are lit up with people talking about you.

You see you don’t need a record deal anymore because all they’re going to do is try to sell you to old media which in turn will try to sell you to whoever pays attention to old media: old people. The new generation doesn’t care about old media. In fact, all the acts that you probably want to be just like, made it before social media took off. It is doubtful any of them would even make it in this era.

This is truly a “survival of the fittest” model for how musicians should blow. Youtube is the great equalizer. If you think you have the goods, put yourself out there and prove yourself. Don’t think Jay-Z discovering you is going to be your ticket to fame and fortune. It’ll be much more long lasting and meaningful if you build a few fans a day.

Remember the old adage: the quicker they come, the faster they’ll fall. Well the opposite couldn’t be any truer: The more time you take to grow your fan base, the longer you’ll be on top. And today that starts with building your following over Youtube, one subscriber at a time. The irony of this is if you do build a large enough following on your own, Jay-Z and a bunch of other labels will be beating a path to your door to sign you.



Andre is the head audio engineer at ADG Mastering, which he helped found in 2012. For the last 10 years, he has made it his mission to empower aspiring artists and musicians from around the world. You can see more of Andre's writings on our Blog.


  1. If this is you i just want to say that im a big fan i can sing and i really want to be signed by you so if you do not get this i just want to say thx for everythang you do. love your BIG FAN ps. hit me on facebook my name on it is tamaryn franklin.

  2. bro i don’t know what to say first but man i’m your fucken fan,i have to say you the realest, you say it like it is everyone needs people like you in this world full of deception. keep it real like that because there are a few people like you. much love

  3. De ar jzee,i have written a song about President obama,the title ib OBAMA OUR HERO,my friend mr ca rl douglas,kung fu fighting,and other friends say it is a hit song,please can you help me get it published. any profit i would make from this record,will go to building a new medical centre for orphaned aids children,where they will be able to receive free medical sowetta south africa.yours sincerly millie jackson i am a senior citizen,and i live in lLondon,and i was a singer and songwriter,with lots of other songs still to be published. yours sincerly millie jackson.

  4. Jay-Z Discovers 17 year old Rapper Hip-Hop Artist “Santino” Giuseppe LaBoy. Apparently they’re in Contract negotiation for signing a Record Deal. Santino has a lot of Youtube view and Like, a lot of fans everywhere and awsom Show ticket sales. This discovery that led to the record deal must of happened with in the last few day. So, I will be Watching for this kid-definatly! He is def. 1 to Look-Out for!

  5. Look I got this video on my facebook and the three boy that are singing are AMAZING when they sing it makes me happy and all I want to do is smile and jam out to their voices. PLease! PLEASE! check this video out to whom it may matter to 🙂

  6. Greetings: Jay Z Im not looking for a record deal, but I am looking to do business with you and you wife, on a whole different level . No magic, no strings or gimmicks, or fallacy. Just real life Oldest CiviliZation Bare Truthful facts that others refuse to beaware, our Secret brotherhood the Moores, Melchizedeke the high priest and king of Salem, who CHOSE And blessed ABRAHAM/Abrams with the Great books on Evolution, of the first black woman and Hermaphrodite Goddess Aphrodite. THESE Great Books that were kept in the Golden Ark found at the base of Acchur bin tunnel. Books were named after Abraham father TeRAH the ToRAH. Well thanks for letting me drop some knowledge on you be in touch L.L.L

  7. Jigga I just need a chance to prove am the future, I produce, am a writer and I rap. If you need a new school Ll cool j, am the right lyricist to look at. I live in SA and my name is aXetraordinary

  8. I want to meet up with jay z because everyone says i need to usr my voice, like i have a voice for a reason but dont use, its beause im shy, but am a weird type of shy ill sing in front of a famous person but too shy to sing in front of my own familly, u maybe not understand why, but dats me Idk, but Jay z i would love to work with u one day maybe you can get the shy bone all the way out of me..

  9. Jay I this is you I want to tell you that I’m 15 an I’ve been wanting to be a singer ever since I was 5 years old and I have participated in the homecoming production and talent show at my school and I sing on you tube and also on my Instagram so can you please just check it out this is my dream and I’m not stopping until it come true because you and your wife are my inspiration and I want to make it big like you one day because I believe dreams come true my Instagram is _december_2 and my YouTube is Francheska smith

  10. Hi,jay z ,I’m nineteen ,I’m from jamaica,I really want to be in the music industry,atleast.internationally,I have a really good voice,and I’ve been recording……since sixteen,and have big dreams however…..its hard,because of the system…..and since that I’m a female…and all that,I have plenty tracks which I can let you listen to,if you are interesting :(, I do wish you would reply please…….through email….or even my cell,my number is +1876-2958040

  11. Hi i,truly hear your advice jay z & i,am looking forward to try youtube fan base music videos maybe you can see what i,got i,got songs i,will try them thanks for the advise your boy GEE-Q from south africa

  12. Hi! I am singer, author, compositor. But not musician. I made six albums of rnb which are ready. The style of theses is comparing to singer like usher, Trey songz, neyo, Jason derulo, justin timberlake. I am french, come from paris and i sing in english. I would like to do theses albums in United states . I think that each one of theses will be number one in United states. I will come in united states in some weeks. I can phone to United states from france because for me it is free. Or you can call me . My phone : 0609927993. Thank you


  13. I just write Lines. No support but i still wanna become a “one time rapper”, im not alone though with my fellas” Chouka , TruP, Asto” and others ! please help us persue our HipHop dream. JayZ must see this!! Andre do please…

  14. I’m doing this for my friend you really should check out the music industry is not ready for him check them out you’ll see what I’m talking about he go by Tnt stand for the natural truth

  15. I want to be famous nd be a slave doing something i love.i love dancing,singing nd bieng a presenter i would do anythng to be famous,i would sacrifise anything just to be on top and make my dreams come trues,i love rihanna,beyonece,nicky minaj,lil wayne,jay z and many more and they inspire me to follow my dreams no matter what!i would really like to be offered a chance to work hard and make it!

  16. I just feel as if I’m ready the hunger the beat that soul from somewhere old inside of me wanting to come out my vision is full just need a lifted before my journey.macpayso

  17. I love ur car black bentley I love ur style my wish is 2 be like you ,if url read this I’m well trained no future life sucks keep up making me proud my name is kc n I stay in chatworth durban SA my dream car is a black lambhorghini n my dream job is 2 b a billion dollar rapper. I need help idk wt 2 do


  19. I wrote al dis becouse I’m ur big fan and I would like to inform u dat I’m a good singer I can sing good and the type of voice u gat is really better even the way u sing ur song is really in swaga way make mi name to sound like how ur name is sounding help me help I will respect u like mi own father maje jt possible for me ti be like u thanks

  20. Hello Jay Z i’m a big fan i’m 15 years old i been writing raps since i was little. rapping is in my blood. I love rapping i rap just like Baby kaely i want to be heard. so i hope really hope we can do business it don’t even have to you any rapper or singer. I want to be something in life . You‚ Nicki manaj‚and all rappers and singers inspire me. i dont want to get old ad be a nobody , I want to get old and be a rapper . As when i die people will know my name even though i don’t know them please i’m begging for your help

  21. i have a friend and her singing is like listening to an angel have sex. its a thing of beauty. she posted a video and got 1000 views within an hour. bet your ass she will be the next big artist

  22. Jayz and Beyonce, I alway look, up to. Music was something i always wanted to do. He has been great make at role mole in my life. I use to alway with my brother. But he recently passed away from suicide so, i stop.I but i realized through Jayz music that i shouldn’t give up i dream. I want to do it for him. I would love your help. You, given me hope.. Every night i la down i listen to your music, to realize that i can be going through something 10 time worst.

  23. Hands down Jay Z my favorite rapper you been killing the game for a good minute i be ready to write lyrics i hope i can get the opportunity to get a collaboration im an independent artist from Chicago if you ever get the chance check out my song on you tube

    Thanx in advance

  24. Hey my name is tiuna in am 12 finna be 13 and I am good at singing/rapping/dancing/Acting in I wanna become a star one day so thanks

  25. Yall wont make it because yall put your hope and faith in a man too busy to wash his one dick after beyonce drops thats ass on it. He has maids for that. The difference between yall and beonce is she made it yall are just ridein dick. Fuck jay z, and any other record lable holder directing all the money and traffic to the just to break the employees a small percentage. Go do it yalls self and when you do ill see you on top.

  26. Manifest a reality that is yours, only you can be make tomarrow, your future, one worth being watched and paid for by your fans.

  27. The days are running faster..
    Bagon_Dray am getting older..
    Thinking I will be a rapper…
    Big up to all my fans…
    Aint worry am chassing fame..

    Yours trully Bagon_Dray

  28. I’m a Really Big Fan , I Can Sing Really Good , I Just Want To Make It Up There So I Can Provide For My Family , We’re Struggling, And Im Really Trying To Make Them Not Have To Suffer and Struggle Anymore , But I Really Want To Be A Singer , Ive Rapped Before But Didnt Like It So Much Just Had To Stick To Singing .

  29. I do not known if is not necessary to be signed but for me i think is necessary I always have this dreams cos my product is out already I want a father to called my own

  30. Have faith and have a successful life. One of the basic differences between God and humans is, God gives, gives and forgives. But the human gets, gets and forgets. Be thankful in life…if God left you high your expectation is high, be faith you know is whom you choose to fill the path u are looking for you boy A-lio.

  31. Some people always throw stones in your path. It depends on what you make with them; a Wall or a Bridge? To be solid or fade, ability is reason of carriers, sometime we don’t have time 4 rubbish that can eventually give sense out of sense.

  32. i need help to get in the industry I’ve been hustling guys but non seem to work i need a break through help me please I’m a female rapper/singer/songwriter im passionate about what i do music is my dail breath help me please.

  33. All of yall that claim to be songwriters need to work on your spelling and grammar first before trying to conduct business. This man is a professional and you all just address him any kind of way smh.

  34. Damn I needed this !!

    It seems like you were talking to me
    Hustle till you make it, there ain’t no fake it or wait for it till you make it

  35. It’s hilarious that these people think that they are actually speaking to Jay-z. Anyways Andre I appreciate your candor as usual,I will do my best to follow your script as I see it as the correct path.

  36. No What’s Funny is, I just Happened to be in Alaska Enjoying A Kevin Hart, show, Alaska True Rookie and Female Rapper of The Year, Hasn’t been signed by Anyone in the lower 48 , After a performance I enjoyed it was no doubt, Kinda like a breathe of fresh,air,I Give you my word, Nicki, Remy, etc Can’t Fuck with her on their best Day’s Listen to the Goddesses, You want Regret it,

  37. Amazing how many people did not read the article 🙁 they just went right to asking jigga to sign them ……people PLEASE READ THE ARTICLE……anyhow thank you for the mix/master service….i cant wait to get my first mix returned 🙂

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