Artists as the record label?

Thanks to all of you who have started following my blog.  It is meant to be a healthy exchange of ideas between music industry professionals.  I plan to discuss the music business for how it really is, and I feel a sense of duty to share what I have learned over the last two decades.  Now, on to today’s topic: Artists as the record label.  What you talkin’ bout, Willis?

As most record labels struggle to pay the utility bills, the D.I.Y. movement continues to grow, and artists are taking control over their careers like never before.  But, is this a good thing?  Yes and no.  I will always applaud effort, but running your own label is a bit more involved than most artists realize.  I have never setup my own label but I know plenty of people who have, and if you really want to do it the right way, you better clear your social calendar…and you better learn the business.

The music business is a business where it takes a lot of money to make very little money.  Since dance music is one of the least expensive styles of music to create, it’s become a frenzy of artist-run labels putting out music that usually does nothing to advance their careers.  I encourage those of you ‘running your own show’ to stop and think about the music that you are releasing.  What kind of reactions are you getting when you play it for people?  Are you hiring remixers just because they fit your budget, even if they aren’t that good?  You can’t just throw it out there on MySpace an iTunes, and expect your lives to change.  Sure, people get lucky and maybe you will, but chances are, you won’t.  I don’t think that most people have the drive and the enegery to properly learn this business.  Making the music is the easy part.

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One Response to “Artists as the record label?”

  1. Very True words!!

    First off many many people don’t truly understand the expenses of putting out there own product. I am going to break it down a little bit so maybe some people can truly see the expenses involved( I am also going to low ball) Another problem with everyone being a “Label” is that unfortunately they only let there friends, family and colleagues hear there “Music” and the get a false sense that something is good when indeed it isn’t.

    Here are some record label expenses and low numbers on cost(Remember this is prices just to get a product out door)

    1) Production costs – this can vary greatly depending on whether they have own studio but if they have to pay for studio time look at spending at least $1500 just to get initial track done.

    2) Remixes – Now here’s where it gets tricky especially nowadays. People tend to really skimp and go for lowest prices here which I completely don’t agree with for and indy artist I’m going to low ball yet again but for a decent remix by a reputable remixer look to spend at least $1500 a mix so if you want 4 mixes thats $6000 gone right there. I know some people say but I can get so and so for $500 or this one will do it for a percentage YOU ARE NOT GOING TO GET THE BEST MIX THAT WAY!!!

    3) Promotions – Now here’s the fun part and often talked about part I’m going to break it down into 3 groups Radio, Mixshow And Billboard and I would say look at spending at least $1500 for each of those so now there’s another $4500 gone

    4) CD Production/Duplication – You will need minimum 500 Pieces just to mail out to Billboard, Radio, Mixshow Jocks. Even if you do a plain sleeve with just black on Silver thermal Print you are looking at around 80 cents a CD. Theres $400 plus you still have to mail them out this gets really expensive especially when you buy the proper packaging to mail them out I would say with packaging and postal costs you’re looking at $800 to mail those 500 CD’s out.

    There’s a lot more expenses and things involved here but this is just a general estimate so if you look it is NOT CHEAP to do things properly!! Sure you can cut corners and get inferior Remixes, Product and people but when all is said and done DON’T expect your product to succeed unless you do it RIGHT!! If you are going to invest your time heart, soul and money on a project give it 100% and we see it also involves a lot of financing!!

    I get sooooo many CD’s every week and to be quite honest many of them end up in the trash can because you can tell corners were cut and product was just forced out the door. So as Josh said it takes $$$ to put something out and honestly there is VERY little if any financial return.

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