Setting Up Your Own Record Label

Discussion in 'Drum & Bass' started by Tom500, Jan 23, 2006.

  1. Tom500

    Tom500 Member

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    Ok, this is basically just to get a bit of info from people that have done it or have thought about it, and looked into it themselves.

    My first question would be how much would you be looking at spending to set up a label? Intial costs etc, the upfront amount to basically sort everything out.

    Secondly, what kind of process is involved in setting up a label? Basically from concept to creation. Are there advantages to having all kinds of artists on the books or is it better to specialise in one genre so to speak.

    Thirdly, and I suppose most importantly....Is there any money in it? Basically after your intial outlay will you make money back, or are there to many record labels out there nowadays?

    I understand there is hard graft involved in any business, so I don't assume that its a matter of creating a label and signing a few artists and the watching the money role in.

    Anways, any info on the subject will be interesting.

    Cheers
    Tom
     
  2. logikz

    logikz I Am Not The King Staff Member

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    id really like to know this myself.

    if i were to guess id say get a loan or save up the dosh and
    a) cut a deal with a pressing plant for the vinyl and the sleeves
    b) cut a deal with a mastering house
    c) cut a deal with the artist for the tune. there are downloadable standardized contracts.
    d) get your mate for the artwork
    e) get in your car, drive all over the place and slang the vinyl to recordstores around the area. or cut a deal with a distro.

    this is pure guesswork you understand. am i anywhere close??
     
  3. Dustek

    Dustek Finished the PhD

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    A shit load of graft for not much money.

    You ain't getting rich unless you sign up the new High Contrast, Adam F, Andy C and Roni Size on the same label AND apart from that are very lucky in your contacts AND work your ass off AND hit on a phase where dnb become suddenly more popular.

    Even the big boys have a lot of trouble.

    But if you want to create your own label to record your own tracks - it might be fun but you'll be lucky to break even after a couple of records - that's if you create some floorstormers.
     
  4. Bad Ace

    Bad Ace Close2Death

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    u wont make money bak i can garentee that :(
     
  5. Style

    Style New Member

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    Not sure in the UK, but in the US the initial starting costs to set up your label and get everything filed away is $5,000.

    I haven't really looked into actually running a label so that's all I really know.
     
  6. Triple M

    Triple M Admin

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    Distribution is gunna be your hardest hurdle!
     
  7. Tom500

    Tom500 Member

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    I kind of guessed that there wasn't much money in it. There is an abundance of established record labels about that cater for these needs. One thing I have noticed however, is that some of the bigger artists have relased on several different labels.

    I suppose that if you want the artist to be heard as well, you need to touch base's with big name DJ's to raise the profile of the music. In otherwords people lake Fabio, Andy C etc need to be getting a copy for free.

    I would love to set up my own business but in what i'm not sure.
     
  8. Bad Ace

    Bad Ace Close2Death

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    if u have the right tracks and the distro think they will sell they will set up a P&D deal with u.
     
  9. SUBLIME1

    SUBLIME1 New Member

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    hi mate
    i have released a couple of white labels, different genre, but the idea still the same. to make any money you need to be able to sell at least a thousand copys, doing a few bootys or mash ups as long as there good would be a good way to get some money in an also start you off, (that is how the tinrib tecno label started) one of the whites i did cost about £600 inc test press's. i first sold about 400 at £2.50 each thats £1000 less the £600 for pressing left me with £400 sounds easy but its hard work sorting everything, most distibuters would distribute them for you no problemo, i didnt pay any money out until i got the test press's, most pressing plants are quite good an will give you a bit of time to pay, some will want paying in full the first time. if you need to know anything ill try an help:jackson: www.sublimerecords.co.uk
     
  10. Dj_Fozzybear

    Dj_Fozzybear Greenpiece Records

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    It is a lot of work to set up a label on your own. I have just got around to our first release after two and a half months of work, research and preparation. The first 6 months is the hardest as you have to investigate everything from pressing to distribution and all in between as well as promotion, air/set play and support.

    First off, the pressing. It is best to shop around for deals at all the stages of pressing. Many companies offer all inclusive deals but this is usually because they make their profit at one of the stages. I split the process into three different stages basically:- 1) Mastering 2) Lacqueur and 3) Pressing. (The reason i separate the lacqueur from the master or pressing is that some places will rip you on the lacquer cutting to gain some extra profit.)

    After pressing the main hurdle that any label faces is not making the product but getting it distributed. If you are doing the label for profit (which is unlikely:mrpanic: ) or just to get your music out; you want your singles to go as far around the country (or the world!!) as possible; therefore you will either need a fast car (or harrier jet) and loadsa time to drive it: - or a distibution deal.

    The main thing about distribution is quality, quality, quality!!! All they want is good quality tunes to carry on their books. The best advice i have ever been given on the whole distribution issue is this,
    "Don't send every track you have ever done to them as they will remember your production name in relation to your first productions and forever link your name to the first tracks you sent them, therefore they will be less likely to listen the next time a track appears in front of them." (this also applies to getting signed to a label)

    Basically, it is lots of graft and hard work for very little gain in the first year or two. But after that if your label is still running you should have made enough impact and have a big enough following to stay afloat.

    (However, the main thing about a label is the other things around it- Dj sets (paid), event promotion, merchandise etc- these will make you the actual money, just look at Hospital records and their T-shirts!!!)
     
  11. xen

    xen ...innit

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    What hits a lot of smaller labels is the payment schedule, and all the different monies going in and out of the label - you have to be so on top of your finances, otherwise you just get into big trouble.

    If you're pressing up copies to tell, you need a mechanicals license - which you have to apply for. There are different types of license, some which favour established labels, require payment in advance but cost less to the label in terms of royalties, but for new labels that can't afford to pay them before they receive profits back from sales, there's different types of license (which have a grace period but have a higher royalty payment to the MCPS (you have to pay mechanicals on anything you press up, so P&D deals really help as they do all the legwork and you just have to fill out the right forms and make sure you stay legal) - if you're gonna be giving out free promo copies to DJs, you need another type of license too, separate from the first, and if you're going to be selling promo copies you need another type of license again...

    ... I'm sure half the labels out there don't have the right licenses, either. Heh. :D

    More info: http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/general/incomep06.shtml
    http://www.bbc.co.uk/radio1/onemusic/management/mcpsownp05.shtml
    http://www.mcps-prs-alliance.co.uk/ (the MCPS and PRS alliance web site is quite useful for reading up)...

    ... You REALLY have to be so careful with these associations, because if you don't pay your dues you are screwed, in summary. I think it's the paperwork which puts off most people running, or looking to start new labels... Depends how legit you want to be, and how much money you want to make (for example, if you want to have a UPC barcode on your products which can be read and used almost worldwide - in order to sell in shops and/or overseas, you need to be registered and properly licensed by the MCPS and the PRS. It's the PRS which collects international royalties, see that Alliance site above for all the info you'd ever want)

    Make sure you get that AP2/AP2a though! Those BBC OneMusic links are chokka block full of info too, and I used them when I was researching my BSc Music Tech Music Business module (I could post up my business proposal and business plan if anybody was interested, the end coursework brief was to plan an album release and the next four single releases for an electronic music label, so I was in my element with a D&B label :D).
     
  12. xen

    xen ...innit

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    Forgot to mention, this deserves its own reply: the EXCELLENT Sound On Sound DIY Articles series. The link to the 7th instalment is here: http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/mar03/articles/diylabel7.asp , and you can find links to the previous 6 down the page. Worth starting from 1 and working up to 7, even though it's not strictly for a D&B label the information is hugely useful.

    Also, google for "MCPS AP2a" and start clicking around... Like the highlight for one of the search result says, "Failure to pay MCPS royalties is probably the second most common cause of bankruptcy" - hence why I place so much emphasis on the MCPS licensing factor.

    Ez :)