Recording, Marketing, PR, Radio Promotion, Distribution, network, touring... among other things. It is not to say that they will do all those things or even do them well. You have to know what you are getting into. Every label is different. Then there are the differences between major labels and independent labels. No matter what, you need to start by building your career. Build a team with a close-knit group of people willing to help you. Those people often start by being family and friends. By the time you start to see success chances are a label will come to you. The negotiating is better for you too if they knock on your door. The thing to keep in mind is that everything they spend is owed back out of your royalties (and beyond especially if you have a 360 deal) and once it is paid back they still take the majority. It's like paying a mortgage only once you've paid it off you still don't own the house. My thought is that every project is different. Even the genre of music impacts what your strategy should be. These days labels themselves quite often offer their services at a cost to those willing to pay. It is becoming a much more independent artist-friendly environment.