A record label is basically a brand that connects musicians to customers. Musicians seek out record label deals because of the connections they may have and their reputationamong consumers for releasing quality music. If you’ve ever considered a career in music business, then perhaps you’ve thought about starting up a record label – either to release your own music, or records by other artists.
If you’re interested in starting a label to cultivate new talent and release their music, first and foremost make sure you create a business plan. Next:
- Money: Where is your funding coming from? Do you have enough to pay for manufacturing, marketing, PR, and studio time? You likely won’t see a return on investment for some time, so you’ll need to raise funds in advance or take out a loan to keep you afloat.
- Business Structure: Will your label be a sole proprietorship, partnership, or corporation? You’ll need to get a business license and file appropriate tax forms. You may want to seek advise from a financial advisor and lawyer.
- Name: Your record label’s name should easily and quickly convey the type of music you produce, so be sure to choose wisely. Think about record labels that you follow and what their name says about them. Also, before moving forward with your name, make sure the URL is available and that no other business already owns or uses the name.
- Talent: Determine the genre and talent you want on your label. Consider your target market and the music they’re interested in. Are there bands that you think will help your label develop a reputation for quality music? If you sign them, make sure you have a lawyer draw up a contract so your terms are clear.
- Studio Time: Depending on your deal, you – as the record label- might have to pay for some or all of your artists’ studio time. Do you have a relationship with a studio that might give you a good deal?
- Marketing/PR/Promotion: Once the album is done, you have to make sure fans hear it. You might want to hire an in-house or outside PR firm to help get the job done.
If you start a label, the results won’t be immediate, so make sure you’re willing to put in a lot of time and effort to make it a success.
Tell us what you think! Have you started a record label? What are your tips?
The SongCast Crew