Do you love music and aspire to start your own independent record label? If so, there are several things to consider, and we’re going to lay them out simply. There are definite steps that need to be taken during the planning phase to ensure that your indie label is a success. You will need to consider the who, what, where, when, why and how of starting your label.
Who: It is not impossible for one person to start an indie label alone. In fact, it’s been done quite successfully. However, you need to take the time to decide if that is the route you want to take. Perhaps you are thinking of creating a partnership with someone who shares your passion. If that’s the case, take some time to figure out what roles each of you will play. Finally, you may decide to have various professionals and paraprofessionals involved. Plan how you will find and keep those people.
What: Spend some time determining exactly what it is that you would like to create. For example, one of the most important choices you will need to make regards the type of music you want to promote. While it may seem easier to just take whatever comes along that sounds good to you, it is in fact very important to choose a genre and stick with it. Your label will be taken more seriously, and you won’t split your focus.
Where: The “headquarters” of indie labels are about as varied as the people who run them. Make an assessment of what you have available. Are you planning to package and mail materials at your kitchen table, or do you have an office space lined up? Even your city might be a consideration. There’s a reason so many country labels are located in Nashville. With access to the internet, some of these issues are easier to address than they were in the past. You can have a virtual “store” online, although you still need to plan for the physical part of the job.
When: When do you plan to get started? Do you need to save enough money to get the ball rolling? If so, set a deadline for yourself and work as hard as you can to reach it. If other people are involved (partners, investors, etc.) check with them to make sure everyone is on the same page about the timeline.
Why: Decide what is important to you in this venture. Are you simply interested in promoting your own music, or do you plan to represent other artists? Some people choose to start their own labels in order to share good music with the world, while others see it as an opportunity to make a living doing something they love. This can also help you determine how much time and effort you are willing to devote to the enterprise.
How: Well, that’s the big question, isn’t it? I hope that reading through these suggestions gives you a little better idea on how to go about starting your own indie label. The key here is to really think it through beforehand so that you are prepared for what needs to be done.
Knowing who will be involved, what you want to create, where you’ll be located, when to get started and why you’re doing it at all are the first steps to creating an independent record label that can sustain itself - and maybe even you along with it. Take these how-to steps and put them to work for you.