How do I start an indie record label?
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Old 04-12-2017, 10:21 PM   #1
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How do I start an indie record label?

I once read that it's better to self-release your music under a label name because it looks more professional, or something? I'm only going to throw my tunes up on Bandcamp and maybe Spotify, but I'd still like to publish it all under a record label. I'm trying to find resources on how to start one, but I'm finding a lot of info on how to start a label and pick up other artists, and not much about starting a label for the sole purpose of releasing your own music. There are only mentions that it happens and not much how-to.

So, does anyone know of the practical steps I need to take in order to do this? Do I register it as a business if it's just for me? Do I just write under my band name "glasscrow records" and bam, that's it?

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Old 04-12-2017, 11:09 PM   #2
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

I don't see why the process would be any different. Registering it as a business (LLCs get suggested quite often for small labels) would only serve to protect your own music. FWIW, I usually decide whether or not to buy music after I listen to it. All the rest mostly doesn't matter to me.

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Old 04-12-2017, 11:30 PM   #3
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

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Originally Posted by glasscrow View Post
I once read that it's better to self-release your music under a label name because it looks more professional, or something? I'm only going to throw my tunes up on Bandcamp and maybe Spotify, but I'd still like to publish it all under a record label. I'm trying to find resources on how to start one, but I'm finding a lot of info on how to start a label and pick up other artists, and not much about starting a label for the sole purpose of releasing your own music. There are only mentions that it happens and not much how-to.

So, does anyone know of the practical steps I need to take in order to do this? Do I register it as a business if it's just for me? Do I just write under my band name "glasscrow records" and bam, that's it?

Many indie labels start out small and fumble their way onto bigger and better times, but for most that's not the case. Despite what some might say, there's a little bit more to it than slapping up a website and having a good sounding album to sell / give away. There's a number of skills you need to be good at, if you want to make the label side of things a successful business in it's own right. Even if you only ever intend to release you own work..as your post implies..then you still need the same skills if you want to make it work.

I know you said you've read a lot of stuff already, but I'll add these links to your list and suggest you take a look at them, as they tend to deal more with a person in your situation..who is interested in publishing / marketing their own work on their own label. These are by no means definitive, but they can serve as a good jumping off point, from which you can then go and research further.


Self-Releasing an Album: https://www.thebalance.com/should-i-...-album-2460707

How to Start a Record Label: https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-st...-label-2460782

Going Independent: https://www.thoughtco.com/going-inde...-label-1817689

Start Your Own Record Label: https://www.soundonsound.com/music-b...n-record-label

How to Register a Record Label: http://smallbusiness.chron.com/regis...bel-14204.html


Perhaps the main things you need to really keep in mind are two of the main stumbling blocks for many starting their own label ( in fact, any business)..commitment and cash..you need to be able to invest both if you are really serious about doing this..unless you're already blessed with great contacts and know people in the music industry willing to help you out when you need it. If not, then you'll have to do everything yourself and that takes time..and what you can't do yourself, you'll have to pay others to do for you..and that takes cash. How much of each is basically up to you..but you really need to know what you're doing and have a solid plan about how to go about doing it.

Hope you find some of this helpful..and let us know how you get on. Even if you end up changing you mind, then come back and share why you did..others on here can learn from your experiences.

Best of luck.

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Old 05-12-2017, 04:06 AM   #4
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

you're in for a shit ton of work and a loss financially for a few years at least but hey DO IT
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Old 05-12-2017, 01:47 PM   #5
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Just remember, the record label Planet Piss is taken, bro.
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Old 05-12-2017, 03:50 PM   #6
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Most of my favorite labels have met the inevitable doom that everyone's talking about here - lots of hard work, good music and an amazing group of likeminded artists often times can't really keep their project afloat and it just dies, regardless of how high-quality the whole thing was.

Shit sucks, basically. It's like when you find a huge band's side project being totally neglected on Spotify (like under 100 listeners) just because they never had a hit in the 90's or earlier. Meanwhile, their one-hit-wonder counterpart is enjoying millions of listeners everyday... all wasted on one shitty song that people can't get out of their head.

The moral of this story is... I don't know. Life sucks.

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Old 05-12-2017, 06:07 PM   #7
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

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Originally Posted by Vault O))) View Post

The moral of this story is... SHEEP

FTFY

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Old 18-12-2017, 09:32 PM   #8
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Thanks for your replies! I appreciate it! I'll check out those links right now, but some of them are highlighted like I've already viewed them, heh.

I'll probably come back again with more questions later...
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Old 18-12-2017, 11:37 PM   #9
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

So I wrote a detailed reply and it got lost because cookie issues...so I'll try my best to remember. It's not as fresh after emptying it from my head.

I did some more digging and want to learn more about digital distribution. I don't care about playing shows, producing physical copies of my albums, etc. Literally all I want to do is promote my music on Spotify, iTunes, Bandcamp, etc. because I want as many people to listen to it as possible. I want to look professional because I think this will help my goal, so I wanted to release digital copies of my work under a label name. What's stopping me from going to an aggregator like cdbaby and entering the name "glasscrow records" into the "label" field when I sign up? (Hypothetical question, since I haven't signed up and don't know how the form looks.)

It also looks like signing up for an aggregator will cost more than I realized. I'm willing to put in as much money and time as I possibly can, but is it better to eat the cost as a personal expense, or to create a business (the record label) and separate those expenses from my personal finances?

I'm just a complete noob and don't understand the logistics yet. I went poking around Spotify's FAQ and they even suggest different aggregators depending on whether you're an artist or a label. I don't understand what the difference is... (I have to remove the link to post this--it's in the Spotify for Artists FAQ.)

I did visit some of those websites and I see differences in what services are offered, but don't understand what's stopping labels from using the companies suggested for artists, or vice versa.
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Old 19-12-2017, 03:41 AM   #10
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Before you invest in CDBaby, look around. There are quite a few services now that are cheaper.
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Old 19-12-2017, 08:31 AM   #11
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Yeah, that was mainly just an example. I was actually looking at Distrokid...I think that was the name. I dunno, I was going to compare the two to see which one I liked better.

The more I look into this, the more I realize I know nothing about how even the indie music industry works...so the main thing currently confusing me is, why would somebody flippantly suggest to amateur artists that "you should consider creating your own label to self-release your albums, you'll look more professional!" ??? I wish I knew where I'd read that so I could revisit the context it was spoken in. My gut suddenly suspects Sonicbids, but I really don't remember.
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Old 19-12-2017, 05:31 PM   #12
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

CDBaby--to me--is a pretty dated service, especially if you don't care about physical media. Distrokid all the way. CD Baby is what all the old hippie bikers in bands that come to my leather store always put their music on...

Unless CD Baby is doing things it didn't used to...

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Old 19-12-2017, 08:47 PM   #13
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Quote:
Originally Posted by glasscrow View Post
I don't care about playing shows
Iím not saying there arenít people that do alright as an internet presence only, but actually going out and interacting with real people through your music really does remain the most effective way of creating a real fan base and not just a career based on the countable data of likes, listens, downloads etc.

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Old 19-12-2017, 09:21 PM   #14
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

Really, if you want to learn how to run a label, ask a label owner. Email these guys about this stuff. You'll get a much less speculative answer than what we're able to give you.

I do know a guy that runs a label, he's smart and while he still runs it at a loss financially, he loves doing it and the music he's bringing out. He does the physical release thing with vinyl and cd and shirts. It's not an easy job. Netlabel might be easier, I would guess.
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Old 19-12-2017, 11:33 PM   #15
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

If your music is reasobly listenable its probably a thousand times easier to get it signed to an existing label. Especially if the main purpose is to just promoter your own music and no one else's.

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Old 20-12-2017, 03:51 PM   #16
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

I'd recommend meeting up with local studios and into becoming a pr guy because those seem like essentials in becoming a label

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Old 26-12-2017, 04:00 AM   #17
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Re: How do I start an indie record label?

This is really helping me sort my thoughts out, so thanks, guys.

Quote:
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I’m not saying there aren’t people that do alright as an internet presence only, but actually going out and interacting with real people through your music really does remain the most effective way of creating a real fan base and not just a career based on the countable data of likes, listens, downloads etc.
Haha, WELL, playing shows would be pretty sweet, so I guess a more apt way to phrase that is "I'm physically incapable of playing shows, so it's not even on my radar." I have a four year old. All of my prime time goes into either watching her at home, or supporting her (working). It is something I plan on doing in the future, just not now. I generally agree with your sentiment.

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