I Got A Major Label Meeting And Nothing Happened

AtlanticAt this point in 2015, we all know someone trying to “make it” in the music business. Thanks to the world of technology we live in, the industry has easily become over-saturated with thousands, if not millions, of aspiring singers, producers, songwriters, musicians, DJ’s, etc. Anyone with a smartphone and a Wi-Fi connection can simply fill out their social media bio and give themselves whatever title they wish to be called. With too much supply and not enough demand, its no wonder that so many are getting discouraged while in pursuit of their dreams.


You may have heard the classic “get signed to a major label vs remain independent” discussion buzzing throughout the industry. The new way of thinking is very much in favor of DIY (Do It Yourself). It’s all about taking matters into your own hands now. Stop whining, stop complaining, and stop looking for someone to “put you on.” Well, I used to be one of those folks. It took me awhile to accept reality. For years, I was stuck in the old way of thinking. I used to think I needed to get signed to a major label to be successful.


The truth is that you definitely don’t need to be signed to become successful anymore. Yes of course it helps in some aspects, but there are many pros and cons to either side of being independent versus signed. One major difference is the mindset. Waiting around to “get discovered” (Yes I was once naive enough to think that was possible) versus GO out there, bust your ass every day, be fearless of rejection, and go make something happen for yourself.


With that being said, I somehow ended up in a situation last year that landed me a meeting at Atlantic Records. It was completely unexpected and rare. My mental picture of a label office consisted of a bunch of greasy suits sitting around a huge corporate conference table scheming about the best ways of maximizing profits from every angle. Of course, this is the MUSIC BUSINESS – the for-profit monetization of distributing recorded music.

So here’s how it happened:


You’ve heard it before, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.” That proves to be all true and powerful in the music business, but I would say it even goes a step further than just who you know. It’s who you know that believes they can PROFIT by helping you. Let that sink in. Everyone is talented these days, but that’s not enough. Whenever you meet an A&R, manager, etc, what they ultimately want to assess is your commercial viability. How likely are you to be commercially profitable?


So, through the wonderful power of the Internet, a relative of a high school friend of mine came across my music and reached out. She believes in me greatly, and wanted to help. She had a connection to some attorneys who were previously successful in entertainment law. Through a series of emails and introductions, my music package ended up in the hands of a well connected music attorney in LA. For non-disclosure and legal purposes, let’s just say his name is… Professor X. After lots of discussion with Professor X, he felt that I had massive potential and said I was a “rare find.” What a compliment. From there, Professor X set up a meeting in New York between myself and his A&R buddy at Atlantic.


So fast forward. Its just me. I’ve got my acoustic guitar, press kit, and confidence as I go up the elevator. Slight feeling of knots in my stomach and heart beating fast, but that’s normal. I get off the elevator and saw those huge glass doors. Those doors that I’ve seen in other people’s Instagram pics so many times before with the overtly corny hashtag #meetings in the caption. Well it was finally my turn to walk through those doors.


I’m greeted by a stand offish dude that looked like he just finished jamming to old 90s Nirvana tunes in his mom’s basement. After 30 minutes of waiting, I’m finally greeted by the A&R. For non-disclosure purposes, lets call him Doctor Robotnik. (What you know bout that old school Sonic joint from Sega Genesis!)

So, I’m at the conference table sharing my story with Doctor Robotnik. We talk about some of my accomplishments, things that have shaped my musical influences, latest shows, production accolades, etc. Finally, I play him 3 records. Then, I busted out the acoustic guitar and rocked out for about 10 minutes. He was complimenting me up and down about what a unique sound I have, and how he wanted to get me in the studio with Cee Lo and Trey Songz.

Following that, we continued talking for another half hour or so. Discussing my potential as a songwriter and producer. Doctor Robotnik was a fan of my versatility, especially my vocal arrangements and musicianship. I was down for that. I just wanted to build and see where the road could lead. At the end of a near 2 hour meeting, I had all the reason in the world to be optimistic.


Days, weeks, then finally a month goes by and I haven’t heard from Doctor Robotnik or Professor X. I tried the usual email and text follow up, but got totally ignored. A complete cold shoulder. Needless to say, I was confused and disappointed. I was looking forward to getting in the studio with some new people and building. I wasn’t expecting to become the next superstar overnight. I’m a smart guy with realistic expectations, but I was puzzled as to why I was getting snubbed.

Months later and I actually ran into Doctor Robotnik at an industry event. He saw me, looked down at the floor, and passed by with no acknowledgement. Now, I’m a man of respect and dignity. Maybe I was raised like that because of my traditional Italian heritage. But in my world, there’s no excuse for a grown man being that immature and petty. As an artist, I’m always trying to get better. I would prefer to receive the constructive criticism and learn from it.


So that was that. It’s a sketchy industry. It happens. But who cares? Just be you. Continue to work hard, stay humble, believe in yourself and your gifts, because the only person that can deny you is yourself.

Gaetano is a NYC based Singer, Songwriter, Producer, Guitarist that has worked with some of the biggest names in music. After releasing 2 EP’s and producing records for major artists, Gaetano has been documenting his music industry experiences via his blog. 

To get in touch with Gaetano, follow him on Instagram: @official_gaetano



21 thoughts on “I Got A Major Label Meeting And Nothing Happened

  1. Pingback: How I Learned to Hate the Phrase ‘Blue Eyed Soul’ | FLYTBLOG | Latest music hits, concert and movie tickets

  2. Pingback: Confessions of a “Blue Eyed” Soul Singer | Gaetano

  3. Sad to say, but you got the “Hollywood No” even though it happened in New York. Hardly anyone in the industry will flat out tell you that they don’t want to work with you cause they’re afraid of being torched by their peers and maybe even the general public if/when you get successful elsewhere with another label all like, “How could you not sign that guy, you big dummy?!”

    This Atlantic suit will just say, “Technically, I didn’t say no to that guy.” Slimy, but hey, that’s how it is with the major labels. Keep your head up and use this as a learning experience for future dealings with other labels. You got one meeting; you’ll probably get some more just based on the suits thinking, “This guy is talented, so I wonder why that Atlantic suit passed on him?”

    I’m glad you have an attorney friend/contact, because you’re gonna need their help deciphering any contract thrown your way to at least discover and contest some the most garbage terms they’ll start with in a contract to see if you’ll sign like a desperate eager beaver.

    Anyway, cheers and good luck with your future on this journey we know as “making it” in the industry. I’ve been through some of this and seen friends/colleagues deal with all this too, so I can relate to your story.


    Liked by 2 people

  4. Dude, your story is “IDENTICAL” to mine….Except my meeting was at Def Jam & Arista. Same exact turn out. And MIND YOU that anyone cant just walk thru the doors at the label…..Crazy, I thought i was the only one that experienced this….

    Liked by 1 person

    • 1 – Learn proper grammar

      2 – If you knew how it actually worked, you would understand that talent has little to nothing to do with it. And you clearly haven’t checked out any of my material so you wouldn’t know.

      3 – Thanks for the ignorant comment, I welcome them because it only exposes you 🙂


  5. Fuck Atlantic Records, they pass on a shit load of dope artist, then wana jump on the dick after you made it, thats how Cee Lo got on do to OutKast and Goodie Mob, and Trey Songz, got a good break after his features on numerous rap artist, one was my man Saigon who had Just Blaze as the main albums producer…, so don’t even wet that lil bro, you dope straight up, just keep putting that work in, its coming, believe me ITS COMING

    Liked by 1 person

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