Start Your Own Record Label: How To Start A Record Company - Part 2
How To Start A Record Label
Funding / Finance (Continued from Part 1)
One method of funding music is by selling pre-orders of a single, EP or album and offering extra incentives such as income-share or the names of the people who funded an album printed in the credits. If customers get a share of the profits then their purchase becomes an investment. Indeed this model is becoming paramount in the music industry as it partly solves the problem of copyright infringement, customers have already paid for their copy before it's even been produced and it makes a profit from the first sale onward as the money to develop the project has already been raised. If the artist doesn't receive enough demand then their music doesn't get financed These funds should be used wisely and independent labels should focus more on promoting the music and getting it out there rather than wasting valuable funds on making the music sound as polished and professional as possible. As long as everything is in key, performance is tight and there are no minor errors throughout the recording then it should be of broadcast quality. It will have to be mastered first though. For examples of this business model check out Sellaband, Slicethepie, Pledge Music and MyMajorCompany. These are the big players in the digital independent music movement.
Recording & Production
Once you've signed an artist to your label you need to work with them on producing the highest quality recordings possible at the lowest cost possible. This includes working with them on their songs to ensure consistency, commercial appeal and entertainment value and ensuring there are no major or minor errors, performance flaws or tuning problems throughout their recording(s). You then need to produce a mastered version of their recording/s that all future copies for retail will be taken from. All music is mastered before release with the intention of making it sound good on a wide range of music systems. This is done by removing clicks and pops, sibilance, microphone rumble, subharmonics and more and adding effects; the process requires a fine ear for detail. Online services such as GwentWebTech offer digital mastering/remastering and noise reduction services for unsigned and independent artists at low cost. You won't get the quality achieved by the major record companies but you will get a broadcast quality track as long as the original recording quality is good enough.
Promoting Your Music
Promoting music and getting the word out there is probably the most difficult aspect for both labels and artists and requires the skill it takes to get noticed. Traditionally this is where a record label steps in and uses their knowledge and contacts that they've already established therefore newcomers are at a disadvantage. You should start building a promotional network of music fans before you even think about starting your record label. A great way to do this online is to sign up at ReverbNation, Myspace, Bebo, Twitter and Facebook and then start a music blog to promote on those social networks. Blog about the best artists you can find in your selected niche/genre, provide pictures, embed their songs in your posts and write high quality original content. Build up a following on the social networks you signed up with. You'll be surprised how many music fans you can get following your blog. You need to get up to a few thousand and continuously build up more followers even after your label has been established. Once your first release comes out you will then already have plenty of people to promote it to giving you the opportunity to, at least, generate a few sales.