Start A Record Label: How To Start A Record Company - Part 3
Promoting Your Music (Continued from Part 2)
Once you've managed to successfully build up a following, essentially a promotional network of a few thousand music fans, any music to be released by your label (whether exclusively or non-exclusively) can be promoted throughout this network. However, you need to plan careful promotion campaigns and come across to your audience as professionally as possible. No-one is going to take you seriously if you don't show integrity. Once you've got a wide enough audience word of mouth campaigns can help spread the word even further. Set up a street team of fans who are willing to help promote the music, maybe even offer them incentives for doing so in the form of free music downloads or small prizes. Keep the buzz alive by telling everyone you know about your record label and music releases, tell them every time you release a new track, EP, album, merchandise or tickets. Get them to spread the word too. Be as proactive as you possibly can.
Distributing the music released by your label is something you need to think about carefully, there are many legal issues involved. You need to make sure you have legal agreements drawn up irrelevant of whether your deals are exclusive or non-exclusive. If your deals are non-exclusive then artists will still be selling their music elsewhere so you need to give fans a reason to come straight to your label to buy it. On the other hand, if your deals are exclusive then you are the only label entitled to sell the music so you need to ensure that you are capable of doing so, otherwise your artists will ultimately be disappointed in the capabilities of your record label. Generally, large stores such as HMV already have established contacts with major distributors therefore getting physical copies of your label's music into retail outlets is not easy and requires either a relationship with one of these distributors or your own distribution division that has a relationship with retail outlets - this is a lot easier said than done. However, getting your music distributed online is relatively easy in comparison. Websites such as Tunecore can get your music into the main online music retail outlets such as iTunes, eMusic and Amazon. There are also many other music distribution websites you can sign up with such as Into Music, Nimbit or Amazing Tunes without having to go through a third party such as Tunecore. Of course, no-one is going to buy your label's music if they don't know it's there so promotion is of the utmost importance although it doesn't necessarily have to be costly.
Copyright & Legal Issues
Intellectual property rights are a complicated issue that even many professional and signed musicians don't fully understand. Licenses need to be acquired from any artists that you have signed to your label before you have the right to distribute their music. Whilst a license is essentially just a written agreement which is legally binding, you need to make sure you have your bases covered and will need to look into the legal issues involved. Exclusive deals require an assignment of intellectual property rights to your label which effectively would actually result in your label owning the music. However, a non-exclusive deal just gives your label the right to distribute the intellectual property of your artists whilst allowing others to do so too (with the arrtist's permission). You also need to look into the complicated area of copyright exploitation. An important factor to consider at this point is whether your artists are signed up with a royalty collection society such as PRS (Performing Rights Society). If so, then any performance royalties collected by your label will have to be passed on to PRS in order to be distributed directly to the artists accordingly or, in the event of an exclusive deal, back to your label so that you can deduct any outstanding debts agreed upon with the artist/s before paying them.
To be continued...