Setting up a record label isn’t an easy task. One of the things you have to remember is that there are thousands of people every year who have a huge interest in music, trying to set up there own record label and have little success.
The absolute most important part of a record label, the one thing is can survive without is salable artists. Many people are so caught up in making there label look trendy, with flashy websites, witty banter and fashionable image, that they totally miss the point. Your artists are without doubt the most important thing on your list.
Small independent record labels should do there absolute up most to keep there signings happy. That way when the suits from huge mega corporations like Sony and EMI come along to try and sign your now moderately successful artist for there next album, they will be less likely to risk the move. Dance music record labels are usually slightly different as they don’t usually sign there artists to sign contracts for albums. The Dance music industry revolves around singles.
One question you will have to ask yourself early in the process of setting up your label, at least in the time before your first release; is whether or not you should be a digital only label. That is for example, not to sell CD’s or Vinyl but only mp3’s or m4a’s. While this is great for singles, the industry as a whole has found people tend not to buy the full album anymore, cherry picking the songs they’ve heard or like of the radio.
One for the recent changes within dance music imparticular, is the shift from vinyl to CD. With the massive lurch towards the digital age, dance music has embraced the CD deck. The majority of DJ’s I know only use CD’s now. They are lighter, less cumbersome and less easy to damage. However the good new to mp3 labels is the fact that is very easy to burn off a CDR full of mp3 and stick it into a Pioneer CDJ. Not many people have a vinyl cutter in the bedroom.
One of the problems with mp3’s is they are far easier for people to pirate. However I believe this is not the problem that media will have you think. Some of you reading this article will remember back to when the said the cassette tape would kill the music industry. Yet here we all are still having fun listing to great music.
Unfortunately for many of you, the time maybe too late four you to start your dream carrier. It all depends on your chosen style of music. If you’re a pop fan, which I’ll assume most of you are not. You will never compete with the likes of EMI, so put the idea out of your head of setting up a pop label. I also think the same should be said about indie. There are plenty of independent labels out there who focus on indie music (that’s how the genre got its name) who are a lot more established, and have a good reputation.
Your best bet is to build your label around a niche market, and try to embody the sound. Like what Factory Records did in the 80’s in the UK.
So I’m off now to set up my afro-gabba-funktastic-trance-tro label see you on the other side.