Wednesday, May 10, 2006

Record Labels

I have a few questions about small, local record labels

1. What do they do?
2. Would it be hard to start a record label?
3. Is there any chance that anyone will care; is there a chance to make a difference or affect the local music scene at all?
4. Are there any legal thingys I would have to know about?
5. Does anyone want to start a record label with me?

I am just looking to stay involved in music / have fun (maybe a website) now that NM is on extended hiatus/lost weekend/broken up mountain/summer holiday.



emmy lou said...

you should talk to my friend Mr. Jason Voss of We're Twins(home items' record label,haha) in Ann Arbor or my friend Gina's I Am Janet Records, also out of Ann Arbor. Both are small local labels.

gahlord said...

Legally things are the same for every business. Get your name registered, keep your accounting for your label separate from your personal accounting.

Also, invest in a copy of This Business of Music. Terrifyingly thick and dense but it will answer pretty much every question you have about music and business. It's updated every year.

The bigger question might be: What use is a record label, really. In today's world of digital downloads etc what value is there to be added to putting more physical objects in the world?

Record labels today, as far as I can figure, pretty much only exist to assist with marketing a band. Pretty much any band can record their own music using inexpensive tools and achieve acceptable results, engineering-wise (the old function of record labels included making a good recording, the cost of which was set against band royalties; and how many bands ended up owing the label money when the dust settled).

So are you prepared to market the hell out of a band you believe in (making press kits, getting the word out to everyone, getting the discs in stores where they will be bought and managing inventory, getting the songs into iTunes, etc).

The modern small label exists pretty much to pay the costs of duplication (pressing CDs, packaging, etc) and to market them. You'll need to be sure you can recover your costs on these activities.

I could be totally crazy but I imagine most small local labels are barely breaking even and are instead hobby businesses.

All that bleakness aside I'd be interested in working with you on your label project.

Or starting that motown cover band we've been talking about.

the le duo said...

yeah guys!... I'm just talking about throwing together a compilation cd every once-in-a-while not a huge undertaking. I'm not in it to make money...or really spend much, just a few burned cd's here and there. but dammit, lets do it! I might contact mle's friends but I'm not gonna read a thick dense book. and the motown band is SO on.


Anonymous said...

I already have a record label, it doesn't matter that no bands are signed... Pshht!


G-lo said...

well in thaaaat case....

Yeah some Craft-Core record label sounds like a blast.

And it will allow you to file a schedule C with your taxes. Rock!

the le duo said...

ok lets do it. we should have our first staff meeting at the OP sometime next week TBA


greg davis said...

check out iconomnimedia.

you can get 1000 cds pressed up on the spindle for $465. pretty damn cheap. youd just have to come up with a packaging solution.
unfortunately cdrs are harder to sell in stores or through distributors. they still have a bad rep.

id say there way too many small indie labels around now. and way too much music being released all the time. so the smartest thing to do is to create a really nice website label with downloads. or start a cdr label, create a nice product, good packaging or whatever. so it stands out a little bit. and the only reason to really start a label is if you know some bands or musicians that are so amazing and are not on record labels already that you have to just start a label yourself to put it out.

but starting with cdrs, mp3s etc is cool. then you can move onto vinyl or real cds or dvds or cassingles or something....

the le duo said...

'the only reason to really start a label is if you know some bands or musicians that are so amazing and are not on record labels already that you have to just start a label yourself to put it out.'

this describes half the people I know.


gahlord said...

Can't make the meeting on Tuesday I'll be in NYC lets talk at the potluck this Thursday I'll use more puncuation next time.