How to run a record label…

As my record label reaches it’s 4th release next month, I thought it would be good to provide an insight into what I go through when curating music to go out to the public. Not all people about to graduate (in a few months time like me – eek!) are planning on going into employed work / further study, but are planning on becoming self employed (be their own boss, handle their own national insurance contributions / income tax etc). This insight will hopefully give an idea if running your own business is for you – And for the record, no I don’t earn any money from this venture, as this is more of a hobby and BIG learning experience… but maybe yours will make money!

Running a record label deals with the admin side of music – Don’t expect to see much of the recording studio.

The music industries boil down to three parts: Production, Distribution, Consumption, and of course my record label deals with the latter two, although sometimes I get a little involved with the Production (like giving feedback on demos) without compromising the artistic ability of my artists. I begin with finding an artist. Like most labels, I don’t accept artists that just randomly contact me (cold call) out of the blue – Instead, I either put out scouting calls for Artists, or answer Artists’ scouting calls (if they are looking for a label to release their material). Rarely do I approach an artist with a raw idea for an album, as this turns into a very time consuming process of making music from scratch. I prefer for the release to be at least half way through made and ready for release, to save time.

After the Artist is happy to work with me, we curate a release behind the scenes, and WOW a lot of work goes into making a release. We analyse the music and come up with a catchy description (what the press usually copy and paste onto their own sites if they want to promote the music), an eye catching artwork, and a marketing schedule (what singles get released when, what information gets released when etc.). Then, personally for me, I create posts on my website and schedule them over a month to automatically build hype towards the release – I also add updates about any promotion we get, such as radio play and good reviews. Then after the release has gone online, it’s just a waiting game to see what the reaction to it is, which could be anything. I once released a single thinking it wasn’t going to do very well, but then turned out to be our biggest hit!

All in all, running a label is all about running into problems, solving the problems, then move onto the next problems and so on. It’s a problem solving game, so it requires a sharp mind to make sure your own activity will make sure you can be competitive and produce output that will hopefully get a positive reaction. It’s taken a lot of development to get this far, but when you run a real world project, you are rewarded with strong experience.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *