My band has been trying to get a record deal lately and we've been offered some pretty dodgy deals in the process. One label offered to sign us to their label but we would have to pay £5000 for the privelage. At first we didn't know if this was a good deal or not but after consulting some professionals we know they said that it was basically a scam and that the things that the money was said to pay for (CD duplication and being made available on all the online stores) could be done for a fraction of the price. The drummer of one fairly well known band I asked showed his manager and apparently they basically fell off their chair laughing at how ridiculous this deal is. I didn't really think anything of it until I noticed that LOADS of bands had started signing this deal, even some of my friends bands. This guy (its just one guy) has signed over 70 bands, many of them in the last 6 months! At 5 grand a pop that's an extraordinary amount of money that these unfortunate bands seem to be pissing away. The sad thing is, nothing he is doing seems to be illegal. Bands just sign this contract thinking they're signing to an awesome label that has a couple of semi-successful bands on it but in fact they're giving this guy 5 grand that is either going into this guys pocket or is going towards helping the bigger bands on his label. I decided to do an experiment. I invented a band in one afternoon, wrote a few crap songs in less than an hour and recorded them with me singing (I can't sing for shit, its been autotuned to fuck). I got a stock band image off of the internet and threw a basic fake bio together and sent it to him. Low and behold, 2 days later I get an email saying 'they' had listened carefully and would like to offer me a DIY deal. The email was sent in the morning which suggests it can't really have been listened to at all. Another thing that makes me think it wasn't even listened to is that the lyrics are BLATANTLY about a shady record label scamming people. I threw in lines like "My name must be Batman cz you are robbin', sixty two bands are sitting home and sobbing. My name must be Batman you're a joker, sitting on more money than a wall street broker" aswell as having complete nonsense lyrics and one of the songs being called "Where do I sign" and referencing things as blatant as touring with Dragonforce (which he said he could help us do). You can judge for yourself here: http://www.youtube.com/user/MenwithVenband The contracts also state that he prefers you to record at his own personal studio, another money making ploy. On the one hand you might just look upon this as a clever business plan in an industry where making a living is now harder than ever. I wasn't sure whether to hate this guy or admire his innotive entrepreneurial skills. Until I read this: http://www.metalthrone.net/forum/showthread.php?t=4370 It details how one guy (and his band) were systematically destroyed finanacially by this guy. It was also written in 2008 which shows that this guy has been at it for years. A quick google search also indicated he was responsible for the break up of the extremely promising scottish metalcore band "Mendeed" under similar circumstances. Anyway make your own mind up about it but I just thought I'd give every one a heads up. I'm sure it's easy to get desperate and sign any deal that get's offered to you but think about what you're doing first. You should NEVER have to pay to sign to a label, thats pretty much the exact opposite of the way REAL labels operate.