Start Up a Digital Record Label
Musicians working today have an option that many of the musicians of the past could have never conceived of: starting up their own record label. Working for years and never getting signed may make this seem like a great idea, but be prepared for the work that you’ll have to do to make your label a success.
Production and Release Are Only the Beginnings
Record labels provide their artists with great resources in terms of promotion. You’ll have to take care of this yourself if you’re running your own label.
In addition to utilizing the typical channels—DJs, radio exposure, etc.—you’ll want to use the digital resources at your disposal. Social networks are big parts of this, as are webpages and email lists. The main thing to keep in mind is that you’re going to have to promote yourself. You’ll develop marketing savvy along the way.
There Are Still Scammers out There
There are any number of businesses on the Internet that will offer you a chance to have them promote and sell your products. Take a good look at them before you start working with them. Some of these companies do nothing more than distribute your work, but don’t offer anything in terms of helping to promote it or market it, making them sometimes huge wastes of time. If you find a good promoter or marketer to work with, cultivate that relationship because there aren’t many of them out there these days.
If you’re planning on working with major retailers, they’re going to want more than one release. Make sure you have a long-term plan for releasing, marketing and promoting work. You’ll also need to take care of the things that separate the pros from the wannabes in the music industry. For instance, any major retailer out there is going to want ISRC codes for your albums. You’ll have to present them with the whole package and you’ll have to have a plan to keep your business growing in the future beyond your first release.
Break Into New Markets
As you get more releases under your belt, look into breaking into new markets. For instance, you may start out releasing tracks as digital downloads on the sites that specialize in indie releases, but you’ll want to try to get on the big-ticket sites, such as iTunes, as soon as you can.
The point of any business, record label or otherwise, is to grow. Keep that in mind with everything you do.