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any of you or your bands run your own record label?

Discussion in 'Band Management [BG]' started by xush, Dec 9, 2004.

  1. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    anyone here doing this? I've been researching what's involved and can't find much on the subject. Most links I find online want to sell you a book (which I may end up buying...)
  2. Music Attorney

    Music Attorney

    Feb 22, 2004
    Record labels typically go out and find acts, sign them, finance their recordings, negotiate contracts and other legal matters, pay for marketing and promotion, set up licensing deals with international distributors, etc. Is this what you are trying to learn how to do? If so, you may want to consider that the best way to make a small fortune is to start with a large one and then get into the music business ;-)

    What are you really trying to do? Do you have a 6 month, 1 year, or 5 year business goal in mind or is this going to be a hobby? Are you merely interested in selling your band’s CDs and merch? Put some meat on dem bones.

  3. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    We've been offered contracts to sign with record labels, and frankly they were very off-putting. Sure, they promise you lots of money and promotion, but you end up paying for a bunch of stuff you don't really need in the long run. It feels like they're really padding the bill, big time. Plus, they want you to sign away masters and offer no substantial guarantees, other than a myriad loopholes to dodge any kind of responsibilities from their side. I realize you can't really provide 'guarantees' for the artist, and that's the nature of most contracts, but I think we'd rather look into the process of running our own label to publish our music. I know there are plenty of bands/artists doing it, and if avoiding the major label compromises means staying relatively underground and DIY, it might be worth it to us. Just trying to figure out what's involved in getting a label up and running.

    We have a succesful recording studio, and do lots of work for other artists, maybe having a label would allow us to offer other services too.
    We're not looking to make $ from it (yet,) just looking for a way to publish our own music.

    Hope that's a little less anorexic there...
  4. You might want to consider writing a letter to, or calling, or reading up on a few other bands and artists who have done this. Ani DiFranco runs her own Righteous Babe records, which she created to make her own music. I know Ian McKaye (SP?) from Fugazi also did a similar thing, as have The Residents, and I'm sure many others that I can't think of off of the top of my head. It's definitely possible, although it will certainly take some money on your part to get it off the ground. On the plus side, you basically get to keep much of your earnings (minus what you pay for distribution, manufacturing, etc.) Sounds like you have your own studio to record in, which is a big plus. Keep up the effort, and you could be very glad you did.
  5. xush


    Jul 4, 2001
    mobile AL
    Yeah, I kind of had Fugazi and Ani in mind, I'm sure there are others who take the DIY approach, still searching. Wish there was a good resource for it, but I guess there's probably not a huge demand. We're doing practically everything else ourself and enjoying it, so I figured it'd be the next logical step, at least to look into it.
    I've ordered a few books from the library, but won't be surprised if their simillar to what I've read online so far which has been less than illuminating.
  6. Well, basically I see it working like this (and i'm no expert):

    1. You make the music in your studio.

    2. You contract with a third-party manufacturer to get copies made and covers printed.

    3. You buy your own ads in magazines, papers, etc to promote it.

    4. You hire a music lawyer or figure out how to do the licensing work (copyright, publishing rights, royalties and any other contracts needed).

    5. You'd probably have to register your label somewhere, maybe, and keep track of taxes and salaries and the like (maybe hire an accountant or find an accountant with rock-star goals and make him a member of your band :))

    I'm sure there's more - and I'm sure there are things you can read about it. Consider looking at music schools and so-called "rock colleges" for help.
  7. There's a place called Luna Music in Indianapolis. It's a record shop that also runs a small label. The label basically distributes Guided by Voices side projects and solo stuff. Maybe give them a call.
  8. MichaelScott


    Jul 27, 2004
    Moorpark CA
    I don't really know how to start up a record label... but I know business and it seems to me you'll need a couple of things for a sucessful label:

    1) A way to record the music.

    2) A way to manufacture the CD's and artwork.

    3) A way to market the finished album (radio play).

    4) A way to figure out the contracts, accounting, operations (business people).

    It seems to me that there are plenty of music people that make their own labels by just doing setps #1 and #2.... but they never go anywhere without the marketing and business people to run it.