A&R Reps on who they'll sign, who they won't

A&R Reps: Who They'll Sign--Who They Won't


Tyler Porterfield, Owner - President
Submissions: via SubmitHub.com

Both an artist and label owner, Tyler Porterfield founded Pop Cautious Records on a simple yet elegant concept: to raise awareness of the role music and art play in society. Porterfield believes that it’s an idea best expressed simply, “through the honest resonance of authentic music.” Since music and popular culture have a direct impact on our world, Porterfield is on a mission “to form and nurture a community of artists who work together toward positive change.”

What motivated you to start a record label?
It was very organic. I was an artist who joined a community of other artists. We got together and played music on a regular basis. I really enjoyed it and thought that was my future. Then I took classes in the Music Business Program at the Musicians Institute. What I learned there inspired me to start a record company and to give artists a voice they didn’t have before.

What type of artist appeals to you?
I like artists who have a positive effect on the world. I look at lyrics and their messages, but I’m not opposed to controversy. After all, change does not occur in a comfort zone.

Is there a style of music that you prefer?
The label started off with Americana, roots and indie folk, but has expanded beyond that. Now we have neo-soul, electronica and even EDM blended with indie folk. I’m open to a variety of styles, and I’m personally attracted to anything unique.

How do you evaluate acts?
Obviously, I look for talent and potential, but I get involved so early most of my artists are just starting out. So, I evaluate their attitude and commitment most of all. I need to know if they’re able to work as artists, and have the time to commit to a career.

What’s your signing process?
First, I will never sign an act without seeing them play live. Then, I try to get to know them as a person and an artist. If I like what I find, I suggest that we record a song, so I can see how they work in the studio. If all goes well, I’ll offer them a deal.

What kind of deals do you offer?
They’re all different. I talk with artists to see what they want and in what areas I can help. Then I draft an agreement that bullet-points what we’ll do. Sometimes it’s a record deal, a licensing deal or a management deal. Master ownership is open to negotiation.

Are social media numbers important?
They’re important, but I know how it works––you can buy numbers, so they don’t sway me. I look for fan interaction and engagement.

Your label has admirable goals to better the world. How do you accomplish that?
We produce, host and take part in charitable events to effect a positive change. We just did a show to help homeless and animal shelters. Currently, I’m producing a compilation to help support the Standing Rock Sioux at the Dakota Pipeline.

What future trends do you see?
I think YouTube will be a major tool for indie artists––even bigger than it is now. With digital management services, which I’ll soon be offering, you can monetize the experience and become a YouTube Influencer. •

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