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should we start a label, or a pseudo-label?

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  • should we start a label, or a pseudo-label?

    Hi, guys,

    I sometimes read articles and discussions on HC, but I just newly registered because of this question that's troubling me......

    A couple of friends and I got together one day and discovered that we all wanted to release an album. The conversation went from sharing ideas into a discussion of "why don't we start a label?" I did some research on the topic, and figured that one might have to invest financially to establish a legally and financially represented label. But, honestly we're not out to make money, we just want to release something we like, that might or might not be enjoyed by certain people. So there is also the option of just creating an online presence that looks like a label - a net label one might say - and go by the way of independent musicians. But then, when I think about it, I think "what's the difference between that and releasing separately as our selves?"

    Now, a little background on me and my friends: Our music is not all that similar with each other to begin with. But then, we're not quite similar to any established marketable genre either, which makes us similar in that way. We all have a history in producing soundtracks for film, dance, theatre, commercials, video art...etc., suiting the needs of clients of various tastes. In fact we are doing modestly well in those circles (in our country that is). We pay our bills doing that stuff. We discovered a common desire that we wanted to produce something for ourselves. We have been making music for years but scarcely presented ourselves as musical artists per se. Hence my ignorance of the music distribution business.

    The common features of our music is that they are all quite soundtrack-like but NOT hollywood-orchestral kind of soundtrack, but more influenced by our involvement in the arts and our eclectic history. I personally think some of our future output might turn out, musically, to be something akin to NIN's "ghosts" series. Not quite conventional, not too experimental as to be outlandish, too conventional to be on an experimental label, not easy to define, but still easy to imagine as being a soundtrack to some weird film. Something like that.

    If you have some insights on online distribution or label management, I would be happy to hear your advice.
    Although your advice might come from a different country with a different environment, I believe I would still learn something.
    Last edited by rtc1229; 04-15-2017, 07:24 AM.

  • #2

    The thing is a record label is just a marketing company that promotes music. For your purposes, setting up a company to release your music might be a good idea from a legal perspective and if you guys plan to sign other people and release their music.

    The thing to consider when setting up the company is which legal structure you guys plan to use. Whether a limited liability company which would make the label separate from the owners and the owners are not liable for any loss the company makes. Then you have a partnership which all owners equally share in the profit and loss of the company and a sole proprietor which is one person share in the profit and loss.

    To distribute music to iTunes, which I wrote about in more detail on my blog, you don't need to have a label. You can do so as an independent artiste. You can use services like tuncore, cdbaby and distrokid get your music out to the public and use your social media channels and other means to promote it.

    Setting up a brand and presence online to release that sort of music on a regular basis makes sense. This can help you establish a presence online and build a loyal fanbase which makes it easier to promote your music in the long run.

    With that in mind, you can set up the brand presence website and all and not have a legal company behind it. You can start and set up the company later. People mind change, and to prevent the hassle in the long run set up the company and have agreements with all the persons involved. This can save you lots of headache in the long run.

    As far as releasing music is concerned, once you finalise what you plan to put out to the public, make it available for sale and use social media other means to bring awareness for your music. This can be write-ups on blogs and reviews in the paper. Getting it featured in podcasts and on radio and using ads to drive traffic to your website and anything you can think of to let people who listen to your type of music about your release.

    Hope this answers your question.
    Andrae Palmer
    Media Practioner and Music Producer

    website: andraepalmer.com