With artists relying more on streaming than physical records, the music industry is changing as we know it. In this era, you might find that certain genre or artist type isn’t getting the kind of recognition you think they deserve.
This is where your own record label comes in. It gives you the opportunity to support other artists and foster a sound that deserves widespread recognition.
Although you might think that you can never match up to a mainstream record label, indie labels have in fact seen a great deal of success over the years. So, there’s no reason your DIY label can’t be lucrative.
Here’s what you need to know to prepare for founding your own label.
Figure out your niche
If you want to attract artists and represent them well, it is important that your label has a more narrow and specialist focus.
With any business, the key to success is identifying a gap in the market. You are then in a position to develop a unique selling point that helps to fill a gap the market.
Ultimately, it comes down to that basic business idea of supply and demand. You need to identify a demand for a certain music genre and frame your label as having the ability to supply that demand.
So, if you think that the music business in its current state is failing to meet the demand for rock music, you should market your own record label as being rock-music-focused.
By demonstrating that you have this niche, consumers and artists will feel confident that you can supply their demand.
Give your label a name
Once you have determined where your label fits in to the current market, the next step is to give it a name.
It is important to not rush this process. While it may take take time, the result is always worth it and it’s a pain to change it later.
You can workshop names with co-workers, family, friends or anyone else in the industry. You should also research your competitors to see what kinds of names do and don’t work.
If you are truly stumped, a good option is to look at online name generators or thesauruses. The words you find here don’t necessarily have to be your final name, but they can provide you with a good starting point and further inspiration.
Another important step of the naming process is to make sure it is not already taken. This will prevent lawsuits and having to change your name further down the line.
If you want to check your name isn’t already taken, you can do so by checking the National Business Register or Companies House.
Seek legal advice
The only thing more important than a label’s music is the recording contract. Recording contracts, or record label agreements, lay out the terms and conditions of the artist’s relationship with your label.
Terms usually include a certain number of albums, singles and various other obligations that both parties are expected to adhere to over a set period of time. These legally binding documents are not to be taken lightly, and that is why it is fundamental that you facilitate this process correctly.
While the owner of a record label is not expected to know the ins and outs of contract law, they owe it to their client to consult someone who does when developing the contract.
If you cannot afford to hire an entertainment lawyer full-time, you can always meet one through a consultation to understand the fundamentals of a good recording contract.
Alternatively, there are many businesses and resources online that can provide you with the necessary legal advice when drafting the contract.
While success as a record label won’t occur overnight, it is important to persevere and focus on the small steps. As long as you continue to give talented artists a good platform, research your name, and know how to create contracts, it won’t be long until your label is official!
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