It’s something that every musician has thought about during the course of their music career. In many respects it would seem to be a logical step, starting a record label is a perfect way to find and nurture talent, and you wouldn’t be short of wannabe musicians coming to you with their songs. But what does it really take to set up a record label that really sings?
1. Taking Care of Business
The mistake many new record labels make is to pick a broader canvas of music to sell. On the one hand, it makes logical sense to hedge your bets by picking a wide roster of artists, but it’s better to have a narrow focus in terms of what type of genres you would like to specialise in. You should also think about what formats the music would come in. Would it be exclusively downloads, or would you want to sell items like vinyl which are expensive to produce?
2. Build Me Up, Buttercup
A lot of musicians think that social media is the only way to go now, but this can only take you so far! With a website you’ve got a base of operations for your customers to go to and to purchase the product and it’s an important place for you to communicate your brand identity. In addition to this, you need to make sure that with the amount of music you are likely to be streaming through your website, it may require a higher bandwidth to meet these capabilities. You need to enlist the help of network support services to make sure that your website doesn’t crumble under pressure. If your customers aren’t able to access the website due to it being down, that could mean a detrimental loss to your future custom.
3. Wired for Sound
It’s obvious that you need to have your roster of talent sounding professional, so you need to enlist producers that know what they’re doing which may mean a bit more costs up front but also have regular access to a studio where the tracks can be mixed properly. It’s also important to note that mastering is an issue in the modern music world as there are lots of people who produce their stuff from home. This is vital if you are planning on putting your material onto vinyl.
4. On The Road Again
Money is made from touring these days, not the music. So make sure your artists are getting out there and putting in the hard work, and in conjunction with this, merchandise like t-shirts and CDs can be sold at the venue. This is the best way for you to start shifting physical copies of the music and is also a great way to get your brand out there.
5. Money, it’s a Gas
If it’s got to a point where you are putting out a lot of releases and getting a lot of positive feedback, you need to remember that to getting the royalties can take some time, usually at least 6 months, so bear this in mind when you are planning releases. The best resources for royalties are the PRS and the MCPS, so make sure you sign up to both of them and do your research.
Running a record label for many is a dream come true, but it’s also a lot of hard work remember this! It’s A Hard Day’s Night, and a hard business to run.