Starting A Record Label

Starting A Record Label

  1. Choose The Music

The 1st fundamental step to building your record label is choosing the genre of music you will create, market, distribute and sell. You want to decide if you will sell physical copies or digital downloads or both. What will be your labels main genre of music that will be released to the public. You want to make sure you are specific.

  1. Choose The Name

The next step is to create an identity for your record label. Research into your competitors and how they are branded. Creating the right kind of identity for your label is incredibly important, given that in the international digital age this will be your shop window. Make sure to register your labels name but first you want to make sure it is available for business use. You can do this via the National Business Register or if you’re setting up a Limited Company, you can do it online via Companies House.

  1. Establish A Brand Look

Similar to the importance of your record label name, you will also need to produce logo’s and a brand identity. Make sure your brand identity is simple and straight to the point. Make your brand easy to remember and builds a emotional appeal. By doing this you will grasp the attention of your prospective fans. Your brand is very important so take your time with it and make sure it’s a catch.

  1. Build A Website/Register The Name

The best thing you can do for your label is have a website, with the rise of social media a lot of labels and artiste a like are making a mistake substituting facebook, Instagram etc as a website. You want to build a website for your main hub, where fans can interact with your business. You can also advertise other things on your site such as t-shirts, hats, concert dates, album’s etc.

  1. There are a number of design agencies that will sit down with you and turn your thought process into a well designed, well delivered entity and, if this costs a bit of money but leads to a worthwhile, pleasing user experience, it could be the best money you spend at this point, in the start up of your label.
  2. Use a free service like WordPress that runs more like a blog. WordPress enables you to sign in, update and is a very easy functioning site. It also looks really professional all you need is a hosting service with at least one PHP database included.

If you are on a budget, I would recommend WordPress and for the ease of updating.

  1. Get Your Tracks Sounding Good/Mastered

This is the product you’re going to be selling so it is important to get your tracks sounding professional. There are two things that can let down a track, one being the arrangement and the other being the mix. Tweaking either one of these things could make a difference between a hit and a flop.

Mastering – nowadays a lot of musicians & artiste are not getting their tracks mastered properly, do you want your record label to be seen this way? Mastering can cost money but will always be worth it, you want to look professional, you need to sound professional. Invest your money and get your tracks mastered.

  1. Promotion

Promotion is the key to branding yourself amongst your prospective fans. Use social media to get started. Build with your audience, show them footage of concerts or updates on new releases. Don’t be too cooperate but try to be consistent and interesting to you audience have a good balance of both. Start building a database of email addresses building your fan base.

  1. Know The Contract

By now you’ve done lots of hard work, so why not start making some money off your artists. If your label is releasing music made by other artists then make sure your agreement with them is fair and binding. And this doesn’t mean bringing in high powered lawyers. So long as the terms you have agreed are clearly set out in a document, printed and signed by you and the artist in question, then you’re up and running. It’s up to you to negotiate the terms and agreements and remember everything is better in writing, so if something were to happen you have a legally binding letter to fall back on.

  1. Get Your Artists Playing Live

Although record sales are starting to increase, touring has sky rocketed. Get your artiste in front of the local public on a weekly or by weekly schedule. Live performances leads to upfront record sales. Make sure you set up a station during performances to sell your products. T-shirts, Hats, Albums and so on are satisfactory.

  1. Collect Royalties

Collecting royalties takes time, and there is often a time lag of at least 6 months, so you need to consider this when planning releases. Sign up with the PRS and MCPS and research into what they offer in form of registering your tracks and collecting publishing money.

  1. Accounts/Income Tax

When the money starts rolling in, and your tracks are going platinum you’ll need to pay a percentage to the IRS. That’s the law, so be sure you have every cent accounted for. Set up a data base with income and expenditure’s, as expenses which relate to the running of your business can be claimed back against tax, for example you don’t pay tax on business phone calls, driving artist to gigs, running the website etc.