Have you ever considered running your own Independent Recording Company?
After all, why should the major record companies take the lion’s share of the music industry? The world of Music recording is changing rapidly and digital distribution has bought new opportunities for independent recording companies. You don’t need a fortune to start your own label and there are increasing examples of independent companies which have been successful especially in the rock/punk genre.
It is possible to start in a small way, especially if you have a band that you are passionate about. James Passmore, for example, speedily started his independent label National Anthem from his North London flat, with little previous knowledge as to how to run one. He had seen the American all girl group Haim. Knew he loved them and realized they were unsigned in the UK. He saw an opportunity and moved in quickly. He confirmed the release of their Forever EP, and then had to come up with a name for the label, find out how to get vinyl made, and learn how to put tracks on iTunes.
Marshall Teller is another independent recording group that started small. It was started in 2010 by founder Leon Diaper from the sitting room in his mum’s house. The label quickly became a well-known on the alt-rock scene, specializing in American youth culture and 90s nostalgia.
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It can be a lonely business however and having a like-minded partner or group can help to ease the burden, both financially and mentally. Briton Kevin Douch the head of Big Scary Monsters joined forces with Simon Morley (Blood and Biscuits)and Alex Fitzpatrick (Holy Roar) to form the increasingly successful label Pink Mist in 2010. This label has created a rebel rock alliance that covers varying shades of the “loud music” spectrum. By joining forces the individuals have been able to collate their talents and connections. Pink Mist has gone from strength to strength and has released records by many of the bands at the forefront of the British rock scene of the past decade – including Tall Ships, Gallows and Pulled Apart by Horses.
Pink Mist and other indie companies have proved their worth as well as the undisputed fact that independent recording companies can punch well above their weight – especially by discovering new music and nurturing new talent.
How on earth do you get started?
So what does it take to start an independent recording company? It helps of course if you have an artist who you admire and believe in, but there is also the financial aspect to consider. It wouldn’t cost a huge amount to press a few hundred copies of your self-produced new release but if you are hoping to sign several artists and make an impression on the charts then it is likely to be rather more expensive.
You will probably need the services of a marketing advisor, especially one who can organize radio plugging and distribution. It is important then to have your objectives clear. Are you aiming to just release a few tunes in the hope that one of them is successful or are you aiming to develop the careers of potential chart topping acts?
There will be other overheads to consider. These will likely include payment for studio time and session musicians. You may have to consider producer’s and engineer’s fees. You may also have to pay to set up a web site, and for the artwork needed for advertising and packaging.
Of course most of your outlay will be covered if you have a successful record, as some of the above stories have illustrated. But as in any business venture, success is by no means guaranteed.There are no substitutes for hard work, enthusiasm and a little luck!