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This month we discuss the pros and cons of starting your own label. Is it wise to jump on the bandwagon of pressing vinyl? Join the discussion in the comments below.

Hi Attack. One for your HELP feature…

I’m thinking of starting a label to release some of my mates’ music on vinyl. Between us we’ve got quite a few tracks ready for release now and we’re into the idea of doing it on our own rather than trying to get other labels to release it. I’m not really expecting to make any money but I’d like to break even. Is this a really stupid idea? I’d like to hear other people’s experience of doing it and whether any of your readers have advice on how to do it, what to do, what not to do, how to promote releases, how to distribute, etc. Thanks

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1st July, 2015

Comments

  • Stupid? no. Hard work? yep. Rewarding? If you get traction, sure. Frustrating and demoralising? If you don’t…

    The big question I’d ask yourself before proceeding is why are you doing this? Would your / your mate’s music work just as well on an established label? If not, why is that? Starting a label is not an excuse for bringing mediocrity to market.

    If, on the other hand, you have a firm idea for the brand and label aesthetic and you are passionate about the business side of music as you are about music then by all means go for it.

    Let us know how you get on.

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  • Ran a (very) small label for several years.

    Stopped when I realised I was spending more time juggling spreadsheets, artwork proofs and end-of-year tax returns than I was making, playing and listening to the music I love.

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  • Wow. Lots of questions. And there are lots of resources online for each of them. The most important – before even thinking about distribution, aggregators, promotion etc – is this: Is your music great, and different?

    I hesitate to apply business-talk to something as ethereally wonderful as music, but *what’s your USP*?

    If you don’t have one then as GfG ^ says, why not approach a label that your chosen music will work on? They might not want to represent it, of course, but if they do then they have the (not insignificant) infrastructure in place to get your and your mates’ music out there. Not to say the pedigree to get an audience interested in your music from the off. Of course what you could then do is once you’ve built your brand and following to some extent you could think about starting your own label. That’s a well-trodden path, and for good reason.

    Starting a label from scratch is possible, of course. Millions have done, some of them successfully. BUt don’t underestimate the task, especially if your artists are also being launched from nothing. That’s a hell of a double job to pull off.

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  • Of course you should start a label.

    My first release was picked up by a bigger label and ended up going in the top 10. My second release sold 1500.

    You’ll have great fun, learn new business skills and may make money doing something you love.

    You only regret what you haven’t done in life. You’ll never regret avoiding working in an office for someone else for a few years.

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  • Why Not?

    Best that can happen: you grow a successful label and make waves in the industry – and a few hundred thousand to boot.

    Worst that can happen: it doesn’t go as you’d hoped but you pick up a load of great experience as you go – about everything from accounting to design – which you can take with you into future ventures or jobs.

    Good luck!

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  • hi,
    can you post the tracks here what you try to sell?

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  • go for it mate nothing ventured nothing gained as the saying goes

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  • Make this what make you happy and satisfy your mind!

    From 1000 Peaple there is minimum 1 who loves what you doing 😉

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  • You never try, you never know 😉

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  • I’d say go for it, just make sure you do some research before you do. I have a label set up myself, and as of right now I’m just releasing my own material. I’ve always had trouble finding labels that would support the type of music I make, so I just said F it and made my own. Don’t know if its going to go belly up, or become a success, but at least I know that I tried you know? Plus, I’ve always done better doing things on my own. I’m also a producer and DJ, and I’m steadily building a fanbase with the DJing, so that base will steadily transfer over to my label. Then eventually, I’ll start adding other artists to the label and go from there. Of course there’s more to running a label, and I’m learning as I go, so take that into consideration. Shoot your shot man, shoot your shot!!! 🙂

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