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How to Start a Record Label

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How to Start a Record Label: Introduction and Basics
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Do you want to start a record label? Many a label has been started by someone saying, "ok, I've got a record label!". In some ways, it really IS that easy. Some of the best labels have made it up as they've gone along. However, if you really want to give yourself the best chance of success, not to mention protecting your investment, going through a proper set-up process is important. This guide will walk you through getting your label up and running.

Before we jump in, though, let's make sure you've thought this whole label thing through. Running an indie record label is fun, but it takes a lot of commitment and a ton of money. It's critical you go into this with your eyes open. Here are a few things to consider:

  • If you are starting a record label with the sole purpose of releasing your own music (see Should I Release My Album?), be aware that being both label owner and only artist on the roster brings some limitations. Even with the best intentions, your label runs the risk of coming across as a vanity project. That means that some distributors may be hesitant to work with you and some funding sources may hold off on investing in you. If you are planning to do promotion in-house, remember that it can be a little uncomfortable for everyone for you to be calling up journalists asking them when they think of your album. This isn't to say that you shouldn't start a label to release your own music. It just means you need to be aware that it brings along a few complications other labels don't face.

  • You will almost certainly have to work on your label every day, even if you have a full time job. Do you have the time to invest in making the label work?

  • However much you are budgeting for your label - it will cost more. Can you start a label and cover your bills?

Still with me? Ok then! Let's do this. Still unsure? Check Before You Start a Label
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