21 Jun 2023 < 1 minute read • Live: In Conversation
Breaking the Mold: Record Label & Sync A&R
“Sometimes I feel like smaller labels are often better because they can help you without you having to do things you don’t want to do. When you sign to a big label, you need to play the game if you want to get the max benefit.”
Our guest on this episode is May Mahmoudi, A&R at Ninja Tune’s Big Dada Records, as well as working in the sync department of Ninja Tune’s Just Isn’t Music. This episode is an insightful introduction to publishing and record label deals. How to get your music synched and what are the expectations from artists at the various levels of the music ecosystem? May was brought on to do A&R when Big Dada decided to do a big relaunch in early 2021. The label put a new focus on where they wanted to go and who was going to take them there. They are now actively working to amplify Black, POC and racialised voices. Big Dada Records looks to shift the narrative around this music, bypassing stereotypes to allow and encourage the freedom to express oneself for who they are and want to be. The goal: supporting and offering resources to a new generation of artists. May approaches music first by relating the vibe and the artist’s community. Then it is the nitty-gritty of how the music might be properly promoted and what the artist’s vision is, who they are and what they want. Having someone who works both the publishing side as well as the label side of the music ecosystem in for a conversation brought up a lot of new strategies. May is also very interested in having artists develop their music and career, being ready for their next step, whatever level that might be.