Starting an Independant Label

Discussion in 'Performing Arts' started by Sebbi, Jun 21, 2006.

  1. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    My band (the Impressionables) are just finishing off our very first studio album. Since we'd rather do it ourselves than go through the hassle of finding, striking a satisfactory deal with and generally being tied down to an existing label, we've decided to form our own.

    Myself, our drummer and my brother (from our drummer's other band) have pooled our resources and have, in place, some of the beginnings of an indy label.

    So far we have in place - a website (as yet unlaunched - we have set up a label myspace [which as yet is a work in progress], we have also got our own email address), 4 signings (well... more like verbal agreements, nothing is, as yet, ready for release but there are 4 albums in the pipeline - once they are ready for licensing deals we will do the paperwork properly), a few hundered burnable, printable CDs, an agreement with a printing company (for the sleeves), lots of plastic wallets, a CD burner and a CD printer.

    Oh yeah - we also have too much time on our hands.

    We've pretty much got a solicitor in the form of my bands producer - he was a friend before he was our producer, he's a student of ACM (academy of Contempory Music in Guildford) and that includes lessons in music law so he knows enough that we aren't too liable of getting sued or something.

    Basically, we plan to focus on manufactor rather than the promotion and distribution. That said we've got a good relationship with the local music (independants) and we plan to strike up an arangement with them that they stock 1 or 2 copies of some of our releases and they get a royalty on them.

    The bands have capability to promote themselves, and we'd be too small to help that much anyway. Basically we'd promote to the best of our ability, plug the bands and things but at the end of the day, it's up to them.

    Anything else we should know. Has anyone got experience with any of this sort of thing. How did it work out.

    Much Love
  2. seamonster66

    seamonster66 discount dracula

    You should try to find a deal with a distributor, who will ship your labels around England, and maybe over here to the US too. I have some friends who have a label and a deal like this, though I'm not sure how they went about getting it.
  3. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    You wouldn't be the first to suggest it.

    I guess we haven't looked too much into it simply because the level we're at, the demand for national or even international distribution isn't great enough to warrant more than going to the post office down the road.

    We've got about 10 or 20 national (as in where we can't reach but still in this country) and international orders and at that level there's really not much point in going through distributors.

    I guess once those people have got them then they will probably start plugging it and then demand might take off so it's probably worth researching to the extent that it would be quite easy to sort out should demand arise.

    Anyway - cheers.
  4. Nalencer

    Nalencer Dig Yourself

    Are you engineering the bands' recording, or just pressing and distributing?
  5. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    We aren't engineering them. We might do it if our producer is willing to work for free on it.

    My brother's band's album will be VERY low-fi and it could probably benefit from a production job to make it sound a bit nicer and shinier. It would mainly be a bit of mixing and mastering really, nothing major. Possibly some plug-ins etc.

    The plan is, at the moment, we can afford to do any recording deals, just licensing. If a band has a finished product they want released, we have the capability to do that, but we can't afford to pay for studio time.

    I doubt we'll go down the route of publishing deals. It may happen because one of our signings has some of it's songs written by a friend of their and we need to clear with that friend that it's ok for those songs to be released and what royalties does he get, if any. It should all be fine and I trust him but it's better for it to be set in stone so that we're not in danger of someone sueing us.

    I doubt we would be in danger of suage because at this level, it's more based on trust and friendship but I think it's good to get it right from the start.

  6. Politics are awesome

    Politics are awesome Politics suck

    It worked for Bright Eyes and that band he was in when he was 14....

    But I know little about this myself. Really interested, though....
    Check out your local library too. I've seen quite a few books on this sort of thing at libraries.
  7. A-Shwa-Child

    A-Shwa-Child Member

    a CD Burner... Really, that things going to burn out pretty fast if you going to industrialize it. Be ready to buy new ones. But lucky for you they are pretty cheap now, last time I checked...
  8. Politics are awesome

    Politics are awesome Politics suck

    Haha, oh yeah.... when I was pushing my last few albums this past school year, I managed to burn around four to five hundred copies before it went to shit on me. :p
  9. rg paddler

    rg paddler Senior Member

    One thing I've noticed since I moved all my music onto the web is that there's a hell of alot to be said for gigs.Out here in the Lake District theres not much going on - just a few quacking swans n stuff but a German band came a couple of months ago and played at the local rock pub,and pretty much took the punters by storm.So,looking at their website I noticed they have booked a gig for every day of the year.Thats no joke - every single day up and down the country.Thats some tough call - but what a way to spend a year!! If I had a band that would be just the inspiration I'd be looking for - plus they had every promotion going - badges,t-shirts,CD's etc.Well - if your'e looking for a good list of venues to play - try theirs - at:-

    Check it out - she's also a very hot chick which helps!
  10. Sebbi

    Sebbi Senior Member

    Thing is - once we start burning enough copies to start worry about burning the burner out that's when we go through a proper pressing company and become more of holding company than an actual manufacturer.

    The whole label has the initial aim of selling about 60 CDs between all of the bands, so we're starting small really. Each band has the resources for 100 CDs put aside (a pack of 100 CDs, 100 Cases or Wallets, the paper and ink for 100 Sleeves), and once they're pile of stuff has run out we're counting that as a sell out and that's time for an official "reprint". That's the good thing about working on such a small level - you just press to meet demand.

    It seems a little bit strange that we're getting so businesslike about it - it's just a normal self-release but every time that happens, it's effectively starting a label, so we're just doing what we would be anyway plus giving it a name (and helping out a couple of friends along the way).

    As for that German band - cheers. That's a really good list, I would love to expand Impressionables horizons a bit - especially for Cambridge and West London area, so that's really cool to have. It's frustrating because we can't really gig in those places until we have at least 2 cars and 2 drivers between the band.

    Much Love

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