If you’ve been sending out demos upon demos in an attempt to be signed to a label but you haven’t found success, take heart. The digital era has created a time when many independent artists have the luxury of creating their own label, often for the purpose of releasing their music. This post is part one of two about starting your own label.
If you’re attempting to self-release your music, consider the following factors:
1. Plan: First and foremost, make sure you have a plan. No matter if you’re simply releasing your own music or planning to start a larger operation, take the time to figure out how you and your label will earn money and spend money. Make a plan for sustainability or you will quickly fold.
2. Cost: Creating and running a label will involve some costs. You’ll have to shell out cash for studio time, manufacturing (if you’re getting physical copies pressed), marketing and promotion; all of which are incredibly important factors in getting your music heard.
3. Distribution: If you’re getting physical copies printed, you’ll want stores to sell them on your behalf, requiring some form of distribution deal. A good distributor works hard to get your album into the right stores, on the best shelves. Are you able to forge a partnership with a distributor? Or do you plan to release a digital only album?
4. Marketing/PR/Promotion: Labels of various sizes have contacts in the press and at radio stations that will help get the word out about their new releases. Often, outside PR companies are hired for additional help. Do you have the budget for this? Or will you go all DIY?
When taking all of these factors into consideration, you might realize it’s less costly to release your work digitally only (on a website like Bandcamp.com or Soundcloud.com) and to handle the marketing and PR on your own. If this is the case, do your homework and prepare yourself by planning your release far in advance so that you can make the most of it.
Tell us what you think! Have you released an album on your own label? What did you learn throughout the process?
Up next: Crowdfunding for musicians.
The SongCast Crew