The Record Release Process

sdm

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#1
Taken from the DNB Arena :thumbsup:

Despite what many of you guys think, lots of people who work behind the scenes in d’n’b do actually read this forum. It has come to my personal attention down here at Valve that certain individuals on here are in serious need of some education with regards to how it all works. This is not intended to be patronising or condescending in any way, just a helpful insight into what it takes to get a record out, from someone who does this for a living.

Earlier, someone posted in the “Will you buy This Is A Warning” thread some comment asking why a big label like Valve can’t pull a few strings and release tracks quicker. (actually can’t find the comment now, but it was definitely there)

You can’t just fling out a record into the shops – it simply doesn’t work like that. It doesn’t matter if you’re Valve, Def Jam, or Sony Music. In fact, the chances are that the larger the record company, the longer it takes to work a record through the system. Independent labels are much more likely to be able to get a record out quicker than majors.

When one of our artists produces a track for one of our labels, the aim is to get it out as soon as possible, but the timescale we’re looking at is months not weeks.

If Dillinja or Lemon D make a new track, they’ve got to test it out on the circuit to see if it works in the club. They’ll play it at Valve Sound System events, and give it out to the top DJs on dubplate. It will stay on dubplate for a least a few weeks (at the very least) so the crowd reaction can be gauged. In this period we are also seeing how big the track is to decide which of our labels it will go on. And of course, if it is a big tune, there’s a huge buzz created around it, plus the added element of exclusivity as only a few DJs have it. If a tune is on dubplate for longer, this isn’t because the record label wants to keep you waiting for as long as possible – it could turn out to be a massive tune like “LK” which the label decides to do full on promotion for and a video which obviously takes longer to plan out. Or the label may just be waiting to see if the track continues to do well in the clubs before deciding what their promotional campaign will be. And at the end of the day, a record label is a business like any other, and has to promote its product as best as it can just like you would promote your own record as hard as you could.

If all the DJs who have the track on plate call and say the tune is not really running, we won’t put it out, or the producer might go back in the studio to work on it. If the DJs who have it on plate call and say “yeah this tune is smashing it up”, we’ll schedule it in for release.

The track gets mastered, and the lacquers are sent to the pressing plant. We can’t just press up thousands of copies yet, we have to do test pressings, which means pressing a few records to check the quality of the cut and the vinyl. Normally these TPs are given to the DJs that already had dubplates because dubplates are made of a softer kind of material than normal records, so they last for a shorter period.
If the TPs have been tested and are all good, then we can order promos – which are given to DJs, press (who need to get their promos between 2 and 3 months before the record is released for it to be reviewed) and record shops, via our distributors. So from mastering to promo ordering is about 4 weeks.

Once promos are received by our distributors, we’re looking at about 8 weeks before the record is released. That time is for white label promos to be mailed out to shops, for shops to have time to sell those promos and give feedback in the form of how many records they’ll want to order (presale), time for us as the label to produce those finished copies, and get them to the distributors in plenty of time before the release date, about 10 days.

So all in all, the MINIMUM amount of time it takes us to put a record out with artwork, and press being done etc is about 4 months from mastering + 2 months or more on dubplate beforehand. So that’s about 6 months MINIMUM from the time the track was made, but even that’s quite tight because if there are any problems with manufacturing etc, the hold thing could take even longer, so you really have to allow for that when planning out release schedules. So if a label tries to rush-release a track they do so at quite great risk. But as you can see, it is a pretty long process if you want to do it all properly.

At the end of the day, no record label would lengthen the process on purpose because people would get pissed off and not buy the records, and if no-one’s buying then the label would crash. These days I think most labels have been pretty good at getting stuff out as soon as they can, and doing it all in a professional manner.
This was posted by a Valve Recordings representative.
 

sdm

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#4
Originally posted by freeagent
thanks DMS!!
hahah! git, dont u start ;)

ive had sdm (obviously), dms, smd (old skool hardcore business), sdn, and dsm!

i just say .......... WHATEVER! :lol:
 
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