We all fancy ourselves as some sort of impresario, finding the next big musical act, and nurturing them to mega stardom, but running a record label and looking after musical acts is a lot like running a small business. And at the very outset, for all of the glitz and glamour you think running a record label might entail, there’s a lot of hard work. Let’s give you some of the basics before you fancy yourself as the next Brian Epstein.
Pick Your Music
There are record labels that predominantly deal with independent acts, or guitar based bands, or jazz. Whatever your choice music, ensure that you start off with one genre as your USP. From there, you can get attention from specific acts, and work at nurturing these musicians. There is no point in trying to be a record label that covers numerous genres, at least not at the very beginning.
It’s primarily done online now, and this doesn’t just mean you needing an appropriate platform to distribute the music, but also ensure that you are making money from streaming and getting your product out there. If you plan on a comprehensive roster of talent, you need to ensure that you’ve got the tech spec to back it up. Companies like MVPS provide virtual private servers that you can upgrade to cope with increasing data. And as you build your business up, this knowledge of technology will help you, especially when it’s you doing all the work yourself.
Is It Lucrative?
We’d all love to discover the next big talent, and see them sell out stadiums, but before all of that, there is a lot of dedication and sacrifices that you have to make. This isn’t just in your personal life, it could be in a financial sense also. There are many stories of managers letting their acts live with them during those early days and this is something to get your head around. If you have the passion for an artist, this will be one little part of helping them get on their feet.
The Real Hard Work
It’s a business, and you’ll have to run it accordingly. Yes, passion for the music and belief in the artist’s ability is fundamental, but there are so many other unglamorous aspects to running a record label that you’ve got to put up and get on with. Touring is one of those things that seems wonderful from the outside, but from your perspective, as the manager, it’s, at the very least, 12 hour days, bartering with promoters, venues, producers, and the list goes on. You only have to have a cursory google of managers like Andrew Loog Oldham, Don Arden, and manager of Led Zeppelin, Peter Grant, to see how much of a ball breaker you need to be to survive in this industry!
It can be very hard work, but if you have got an unrivaled passion for music, and you yearn to see artists on the global stage that are currently unrepresented, this could be a fantastic idea and opportunity for you.