mentor networks, and other development opportunities for those working in the recording industry.
tainment attorneys, equipment manufacturers, and more. It costs about $200 and you can purchase it online.
10 Steps To Putting Your Record Label on the Right Track
- Know your motives: The record business is a tough industry to navigate. It will help to define the objectives of your company and manage your expectations for success.
- Cover the business basics: Starting a record label requires legal formation, a business plan, employees, a location, and everything in-between. Choose a name for your label and begin the trademark process. Obtain the required business licenses so that you can sell your CDs. Also, retain a good accountant and entertainment attorney who specializes in music.
- Learn the language: Many labels fail because they don’t have a sound knowledge of copyright laws, royalties, music publishing, and distribution. To remedy the situation, Lurie says, “Do your homework. Take a class. Go intern with an independent label and see how it works from the inside.” Also, join a performance rights organization like ASCAP (www.ascap.com) or BMI (www.bmi.com).
- Stack up some cash: To help ease your financial burden, Taylor says barter wherever possible. “Creativity doesn’t happen only in the recording studio. Creativity happens in business. So if you’re starting a label and need money for recording costs, find out who has a home studio, and in exchange for studio time, see if you can mow their lawn, wash their windows, or even babysit for them. That kind of thing happens all the time.”
- Find and sign true talent: There are artists everywhere just waiting to be discovered. To find your Mariah or Usher, comb the clubs as well as churches. Visit talent showcases, put a classified on your Website, check with college music departments, and get referrals from others in the business. Before signing artists to a contract, Lurie says, check out their live performance. Brae adds, “Make sure the artist has a fan base or the potential to develop a fan base. This will go a long way when trying to persuade a distributor to carry your music.”
- Locate manufacturing: Until you obtain major distribution you will have to manufacture CDs on your own. There are several pressing plants from which to choose, including DiscMakers (800-468-9353) and Universal Duplicating (510-430-1000). Check the classifieds section of Billboard magazine for others.
- Get distribution: Label owners sell their music to distributors and distributors then sell it to retail stores. Apart from the four major record labels, there are three other resources for finding distribution: one-stop distributors, independent distributors, and rackjobbers. A one-stop distributor supplies independent and major label products to chains, mom-and-pop stores, and other retail outlets. Independent distributors carry only independent labels, providing products both regionally and nationally. A rackjobber gets a product from distributors for large discount department store chains. Distributors pay label owners about 50%