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I think I'm just gonna start my own record label...
Old 21st September 2020
  #1
Deleted 6833614
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I think I'm just gonna start my own record label...

Because... why not?

It costs something like $200-300. Not like a real label with promotion, marketing and all that stuff. None of that.

Just register EIN, set up LLC and come up with the name. That's it. Oh yeah, and make a website with the artist.

My reasoning is simple. Music released from a crappy ass bedroom "record label" is better than amateur "self-released" stuff. Period. Pure perception. (not the actual music is better, but 'being released on a label' is better) It won't help getting successful, I know... it won't probably do anything at all, I know, but still... what the hell am I losing?

Also, you can tell people "I'm a record label owner". Dumb, but kind of satisfying in a way.

Also, I think websites like Bandcamp won't let you sign up unless you're signed with a label? I think...

Also if I were to contact anyone in music business, there's a chance that being a record label owner may open at least one door somewhere, being a "musician on my own" opens nothing. Maybe, I don't know.

So any drawbacks of having your own record label? Any potential problems?
Old 21st September 2020
  #2
Gear Maniac
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by N1Greg View Post

Because... why not?

It costs something like $200-300.

Also, you can tell people "I'm a record label owner".
Some of the best reasoning I've seen in quite some time
Old 21st September 2020
  #3
Lives for gear
 
Fay Smearing's Avatar
 

Sell stuff as well, so you can be a 'sales engineer' too.
Old 21st September 2020
  #4
Absolutely.

It takes a while to learn to "do it right" though. Worth partnering with a "proper" curated distribution service like The Orchard, Ingrooves, AWAL, Believe if you can - they have much bigger pull with getting Editorial playlists with Spotify etc than just going through CDBaby or whoever.

And you then have to learn all the promo techniques yourself! Pitching to playlists, blogs, etc....it's not hard, but does require a time investment. And it's a lot of knocking heads against walls.

You can sign up to bandcamp as an artist BTW.

Any drawbacks? financial liability if you're a sole trader, fees if you do the LLC (you have to file accounts properly, accountants and legal fees etc). Also it's more time on the business, less time on the music...as I'm finding with the artists I'm looking after.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #5
Deleted 6833614
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Absolutely.

It takes a while to learn to "do it right" though. Worth partnering with a "proper" curated distribution service like The Orchard, Ingrooves, AWAL, Believe if you can - they have much bigger pull with getting Editorial playlists with Spotify etc than just going through CDBaby or whoever.

And you then have to learn all the promo techniques yourself! Pitching to playlists, blogs, etc....it's not hard, but does require a time investment. And it's a lot of knocking heads against walls.

You can sign up to bandcamp as an artist BTW.

Any drawbacks? financial liability if you're a sole trader, fees if you do the LLC (you have to file accounts properly, accountants and legal fees etc). Also it's more time on the business, less time on the music...as I'm finding with the artists I'm looking after.
I tried to sign up with Bandcamp but it required me to provide something that I didn't have as an independent musician (can't remember what it was). Maybe I clicked on the wrong type of service or something?

Either way, my goal is to simply release my music. I have two albums with two artists in the works. Initially I planned just to post them on CDBaby and youtube and do limited (not much I can do) promotion on some forums that could get 5-10 views hopefully.

But there just won't be much pleasure in that.

But if I release it on my label at least I'll have that. Still will get the same 5-10 views, but at least it will be an official record label release.

It probably only makes sense to me (or anyone who's walking in the same shoes).

Does anyone know any links to what financial/accounting work is involved in this? Most likely I won't have anything to report or manage at all, I maybe will sell like 5 CDs to my family and have a few plays on spotify or something so it's not like I'll be juggling millions. There'll be no employees, just me with the salary of $0 (or $0.01 if it's required)

I guess I can hire an accountant to file some taxes (for $3.50 worth of yearly sales)

I know I'm probably in for a hassle that is not going to pay off in any way and I'll just throw some money in the wind, but I still want to do it.

Just because... <---- and that's my main reason.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #6
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
I tried to sign up with Bandcamp but it required me to provide something that I didn't have as an independent musician (can't remember what it was). Maybe I clicked on the wrong type of service or something?
I don't know - never used it, just know a lot of people are!

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
Either way, my goal is to simply release my music. I have two albums with two artists in the works. Initially I planned just to post them on CDBaby and youtube and do limited (not much I can do) promotion on some forums that could get 5-10 views hopefully.

But there just won't be much pleasure in that.

But if I release it on my label at least I'll have that. Still will get the same 5-10 views, but at least it will be an official record label release.

It probably only makes sense to me (or anyone who's walking in the same shoes).
With a small amount of effort and investment you can do so much better than that. Check out Submithub, humanhuman, groover, musosoup, mydailyplaylists, mysphera...that's just a few legit services to get you going.

Quote:
Does anyone know any links to what financial/accounting work is involved in this? Most likely I won't have anything to report or manage at all, I maybe will sell like 5 CDs to my family and have a few plays on spotify or something so it's not like I'll be juggling millions. There'll be no employees, just me with the salary of $0 (or $0.01 if it's required)

I guess I can hire an accountant to file some taxes (for $3.50 worth of yearly sales)
If that's all you're doing, just give your "label" a name, and that's it. You talked about forming a Limited company - which requires naming of director and treasurer, and filing accounts etc. But if you're not really doing anything...just call it something and stick it up via CDBaby or something.

Quote:
I know I'm probably in for a hassle that is not going to pay off in any way and I'll just throw some money in the wind, but I still want to do it.

Just because... <---- and that's my main reason.
If you're going to the effort of making a whole album or whatever, makes sense that someone might hear it.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #7
Deleted 6833614
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Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
If that's all you're doing, just give your "label" a name, and that's it. You talked about forming a Limited company - which requires naming of director and treasurer, and filing accounts etc. But if you're not really doing anything...just call it something and stick it up via CDBaby or something.
Well then it's not a real label, is it? Has to be a real entity. I don't think LLC requires much, at least not here in the US. I don't care about the accounting side of things. I can hire someone to do it, I guess. Doubt it will cost all that much. If anything I'll let it run for a year or two and if it's too much money or hassle, dissolve it. When you own a label I believe you can sign up or submit your work to magazines, blogs etc they don't accept submissions from indep musicians. It's a really terrible and depressing thing to be an independent musician. At least as a record label you have a tiny chance of getting somewhere.

Quote:
If you're going to the effort of making a whole album or whatever, makes sense that someone might hear it.
I do have two albums ready in various stages of completion and I believe with some exposure they will be popular with target demographics (no matter how small they are). I believe the quality is there, just need a chance to get heard.

And thanks for the submithub etc suggestions... The more I think about it the more mentally committed I become to this idea. I feel like me not doing it actually would be a very wrong choice.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #8
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
Well then it's not a real label, is it? Has to be a real entity. I don't think LLC requires much, at least not here in the US. I don't care about the accounting side of things. I can hire someone to do it, I guess. Doubt it will cost all that much. If anything I'll let it run for a year or two and if it's too much money or hassle, dissolve it.
From a quick search $200 to register it. But you don't need an LLC to form a company. LLC just limits your liabilities (ie you can dissolve the company without touching your personal finances). Not much point if you're just releasing your own music - just operate as a sole trader (you can still make it a "real label").

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
When you own a label I believe you can sign up or submit your work to magazines, blogs etc they don't accept submissions from indep musicians. It's a really terrible and depressing thing to be an independent musician. At least as a record label you have a tiny chance of getting somewhere.
Well - that's exactly what those services I listed let you do. I'm not sure how much a self-releasing musician versus a self releasing musician on their own label will make much difference. You're still an unknown quantity.

Put it this way - I could get you way more publicity and streams investing $200 via submithub than by registering an LLC and then just trying to use the name.


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
I do have two albums ready in various stages of completion and I believe with some exposure they will be popular with target demographics (no matter how small they are). I believe the quality is there, just need a chance to get heard.
Again - via submithub you can pitch to playlisters and blogs that feature your style of music - you can send to people and for a small fee you'll get guaranteed feedback, and if it's good you'll get playlists and blog features.

Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
And thanks for the submithub etc suggestions... The more I think about it the more mentally committed I become to this idea. I feel like me not doing it actually would be a very wrong choice.
Yup - there's bugger all point releasing an "album" and not promoting it IMO.
Old 21st September 2020
  #9
As a sole independent musician I signed up to Bandcamp and am releasing my tracks. there is no barrier, so you must have been trying to do something incorrect.

In my recent experience, having a track released through a label has been more successful for me than my DIY releases.
It really is less about 'a label' and more that the label already has a substantial number of followers who trust that labels curation, quality control. The labels I have released through have established contacts in the industry - influencers, bloggers etc. So my label released tracks have reached more influential ears than I have been able to achieve on my own.
Again, I honestly don't think releasing DIY is just about working harder. I have submitted to playlists and blogs, but success breeds success, so my little DIY releases haven't garnered any reaction from any playlists or blogs so far.
There are thousands and thousands of people pitching ton playlists and blogs every week. Not saying it's impossible, but much harder to be heard than is insinuated in this thread.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #10
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
Again - via submithub you can pitch to playlisters and blogs that feature your style of music - you can send to people and for a small fee you'll get guaranteed feedback, and if it's good you'll get playlists and blog features.
There's quite a lot of interesting internet chatter about this. Some independent music bloggers say never pay for playlist access. Some artists who have used services like Submithub have revealed they were added to some good quality playlists, but in the end the service cost them $1500 (for example) over a couple of years and in return they earned $500. Although obviously the exposure of playlists is still worth having, arguably even at a $1000 loss.

So honestly I don't think it's quite such a no-brainer.
Old 21st September 2020
  #11
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
In my recent experience, having a track released through a label has been more successful for me than my DIY releases.
It really is less about 'a label' and more that the label already has a substantial number of followers who trust that labels curation, quality control. The labels I have released through have established contacts in the industry - influencers, bloggers etc. So my label released tracks have reached more influential ears than I have been able to achieve on my own.
Exactly - the "label" is only a more successful approach because of the label's pre-existing contacts. A person calling themselves a label isn't going to get more ear-space, unless they're already well connected.

Quote:
Again, I honestly don't think releasing DIY is just about working harder. I have submitted to playlists and blogs, but success breeds success, so my little DIY releases haven't garnered any reaction from any playlists or blogs so far.
There are thousands and thousands of people pitching ton playlists and blogs every week. Not saying it's impossible, but much harder to be heard than is insinuated in this thread.
Yeah - I wasn't suggesting it was easy to get heard or decent playlisting - it's hard! maybe about 20% is a good strike rate (applications to approvals), and many of them are only on small playlists. BUT it is a success breeds success - the more you get out there, the more it triggers the spotify algorithms, the better you do next time.


Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
There's quite a lot of interesting internet chatter about this. Some independent music bloggers say never pay for playlist access.
Ah - that's different. Anyone who offers you guaranteed plays for cash is faking it, and avoid that.

At the same time, some people ask for a small donation to consider you. For example I got 2 songs from my folk artist onto this one - https://open.spotify.com/playlist/1j...SEWiYOVgHgaNSQ - which generated about 1k plays each (genuine plays - it's a legit playlist, mix of unsigned and well known artists), for the princely donation of 5euros. Did we make that back? no - but it did result in more followers, and hopefully we can build on that.


Quote:
Some artists who have used services like Submithub have revealed they were added to some good quality playlists, but in the end the service cost them $1500 (for example) over a couple of years and in return they earned $500. Although obviously the exposure of playlists is still worth having, arguably even at a $1000 loss.
Submithub is the same thing - you're not paying to be added, you're paying to be considered and for feedback. It's a good way to reach the right ears. You're not going to be overall in profit - but it's a very good way to get the ball rolling.

Quote:
So honestly I don't think it's quite such a no-brainer.
Well if your sole goal is money making, no. If you've got time but no money, you might do better pitching individually.

I was really saying that if you're investing $200 (the price of registering an LLC in NY as an example), I'd guarantee I'd get more attention doing that on Submithub or one of the other services I mentioned, versus making a "label" as an LLC and then trying to pitch.

If your sole goal is to be heard more, that IS a no brainer.
Old 21st September 2020
  #12
Deleted 6833614
Guest
Whether I need LLC or not I'll find out. I'll be a one-man record label. Will try to keep it as simple as possible. If EIN number is enough, then that's what's gonna be.

But I feel like I have to do something. Even if it ends up being a complete loss, I gotta do something. I can't just throw my music into the black hole of the internet without a single echo back.

I know there's no shortcut to success and to be honest I'm not looking to make money. I just want to be heard. I want the artists I recorded to be heard because they're amazing but they have nothing under their belts yet. Get them some recognition, some nice comments, some fans, make them feel like what they're doing actually matters and give them motivation to work with me again. If I get some sales, we agreed 100% of all profits go to them, I don't want a dime. I personally just want my music to find listeners. That's all.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #13
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post

If your sole goal is to be heard more, that IS a no brainer.
Honestly I think there is a dual goal, at least to begin with.
1) To be heard or gain followers, 2) to not lose money overall.
I wouldn't say my goal is to 'make money', but if I cost my time spent creating the music, then creating the publicity campaign (videos, photographs, Facebook blogs, Instagram stories), then add up to $1,000 for a decent promo campaign or 6 months worth of submit to playlist services - then it's just a vanity project for the wealthy if you don't make anything back.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #14
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
BUT it is a success breeds success - the more you get out there, the more it triggers the spotify algorithms, the better you do next time.
This is the negative about all of these platforms - Spotify, Tidal, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram.
The absolute hardest part is gaining some initial momentum.
I have posted identical content on Instagram as some other similar musicians (for example). They get 2000 likes and I get 20. Not complaining at all, just pointing out the reality.
Same with Spotify - the hardest part is to get the first 1000 plays. It's very hard, almost impossible to get a popular playlist to add you, if they look at your profile and see you only get 100 to 500 plays from previous releases.

Again, this is not a complaint. I understand how it works. I just think the curation is not working for innovative young artists.
It rewards populism (by design!), which is not how new genres are created. New genres exist on the margins and only gather wider popularity when they are championed and the masses are exposed to them. Spotify only exposes the masses to what they already know and like!!!
In the end, these platforms are advertising mediums. Music (or film) is just a means to another end. They need mass participation. None of which has anything at all to do with quality, or innovation. Just easy to digest content that has immediate mass appeal.
Old 21st September 2020 | Show parent
  #15
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
This is the negative about all of these platforms - Spotify, Tidal, Youtube, Facebook, Instagram.
The absolute hardest part is gaining some initial momentum.
I have posted identical content on Instagram as some other similar musicians (for example). They get 2000 likes and I get 20. Not complaining at all, just pointing out the reality.
Same with Spotify - the hardest part is to get the first 1000 plays. It's very hard, almost impossible to get a popular playlist to add you, if they look at your profile and see you only get 100 to 500 plays from previous releases.

Again, this is not a complaint. I understand how it works. I just think the curation is not working for innovative young artists.
It rewards populism (by design!), which is not how new genres are created. New genres exist on the margins and only gather wider popularity when they are championed and the masses are exposed to them. Spotify only exposes the masses to what they already know and like!!!
In the end, these platforms are advertising mediums. Music (or film) is just a means to another end. They need mass participation. None of which has anything at all to do with quality, or innovation. Just easy to digest content that has immediate mass appeal.
This is all true of course, but there is a positive too. This was written by a friend (producer who did Geronimo for Sheppard amongst other things).

“ I was thinking today, Spotify has been something of a blessing for musicians. Hear me out. You see, in previous eras, when you released your song, you were either one of the few artists added to radio that week, or you weren't. And if you weren't, then there wasn't much else available to you, in terms of meaningful ways to connect your music to an audience. In any given week, there might be a handful of new songs added to commercial radio, and a slightly larger handful added to Triple J, but those spots are often automatically filled by new releases from big artists, leaving almost nothing for new artists without a profile. These days, we have numerous playlists with hundreds of thousands of local subscribers. Maybe there's like (wild guess), 10 or 15 in Australia. Spotify's New Music Friday playlist has 321k Australians following it. And in an average week, they give 80-100 brand new songs a run on that playlist. What I'm saying is it's a stepping stone that was never there before. Your song being chosen for a decent playlist is far more likely than it being added to radio, straight out of the gate. It's the interim step, with a lower barrier to entry. And there's a genuine chance of landing an international playlist, even if you have no team or "people on the ground". The possibility of being heard on American or European radio has always been infinitesimally small. But finding your way onto the "Hot Country" global playlist, listened to by people from Barcelona, Spain to Backwater, Texas is within reach. All in all, why would we want to go back to radio and CDs?”

I know financially, there’s an argument against it - especially if you would have been a label band in former years.

But for someone who’s only other option was selling CDs at gigs and trying to get the local music press to write about you, you haven’t really lost anything.

The other thing is - whilst REALLY popular playlists are maybe out of reach, quite popular ones aren’t. It just takes a bit of work.

https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2L...RVW0D_P0MZVXYg - I found this guy on linked in, messaged him and he added 3 songs for me (2 artists)! It’s not mega numbers - but nearly 200 plays over 2 songs in a couple of weeks (and not likely to shift anytime soon). That cost me about 10mins. Replicate that 5-10 times and you’re doing ok.

The financial return is of course minimal, I’m not arguing that. But as an unsigned band - you barely covered recording costs at the best of times with gig CD sales.

And to go back to the original point - our OP just wants a few people to hear his tracks. This is one way to do it.

The other way I guess is to be really active on socials and other promotion, which is cheaper but more work. The ideal thing is to do both - if it doesn’t mean you don’t make music anymore!
Old 21st September 2020
  #16
Well I disagree with your friends take on Spotify. It may be an Australian thing?

It's not JUST about radio and CD, at least in Europe.
All the main labels signed niche, low selling artists. I worked with many myself.
The reason was that many of the label bosses (in the 70's and 80's) were actual music fans. In addition, many more mainstream artists were pursued by multiple labels and what often swayed the decision one way or another was that the winning label had niche artists on the roster that the pop artist admired.
So it was seen as cool to have Frank Zappa or Magazine or George Clinton on your label roster.

The Waterboys did nothing but lose money and frustrate their labels with uncommercial decisions. And yet in my time with them almost every label in London was desperate to sign them.
It may have been difficult to get on radio, but you had important and influential shows like John Peel. Also, a variety of niche shows on independent radio, like Capital.
The labels actually swung behind niche artists, booking them as support on bigger tours, getting them interviews in magazines, at least trying to get them played on radio. Spotify does absolutely nothing like that.

Spotify would be fantastic if it had any interest in promoting less commercial artists, or nurtured innovation, or made it easier to find niche artists.
Is any left field or more 'difficult' music ever being playlists on 'New Music Friday'?
Old 21st September 2020
  #17
Deleted 6833614
Guest
About 10 years ago (when I was last active and wrote an album which surprisingly was mixed pretty decently) I simply posted my music on some torrent site as an author. Not sure how much it helped but within months my project's name filled up like 10 google search pages. The torrents got spread automatically by bots I guess. But they were downloaded as on many sites there were active seeders.

I got over 5000+ views on my youtube posted album (1hr) which I don't even remember ever advertising. I had a dozen people making fan videos for my songs. Some disappeared but I still have a dozen or two of them out there without several thousand views. Most of them people inserting a picture onto my music and posting in their playlist. But most playlists don't have many subscribers or views so my songs never took off. EDIT: I just searched my name, one song with a fan made video (actual video) has 17k views! But only 3 comments... I'd love more comments... /sigh

Overall this didn't do me any good. Didn't give any satisfaction or joy. I spent months on it, but within a few months I completely forgot about its existence and stopped making music until about last year. I had my album on CDBaby for years, I don't think I even made $100 over all the years (I may have gotten one check, not sure). But then again I had zero presence online. Just that youtube channel. And it was early 2010s when things were nearly as bad as they are now... or were they?

Having said that my music was extremely niche, a dying genre (which is now dead). What I have now is pretty mainstream but I don't know how that's gonna help me today. I have like 1000000x more competition for listeners' attention these days.
Old 21st September 2020
  #18
I have made deals with online labels. It's like a 50/50 share in whatever (low) income, but they do help with exposure and getting your music heard by people who follow the labels.
That is my number one goal at the moment, just trying to rise above anonymous.
I got more traction going through a 3rd party label than I have achieved going DIY.

If you start your own label you have the same problem, trying to get your label noticed.
Old 22nd September 2020 | Show parent
  #19
Deleted 6833614
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Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I have made deals with online labels. It's like a 50/50 share in whatever (low) income, but they do help with exposure and getting your music heard by people who follow the labels.
That is my number one goal at the moment, just trying to rise above anonymous.
I got more traction going through a 3rd party label than I have achieved going DIY.

If you start your own label you have the same problem, trying to get your label noticed.
I don't know of any labels that even accept submissions these days.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #20
Gear Guru
 
henryrobinett's Avatar
You'll learn an awful lot. I've been a label owner since the mid 90s. I was semi legit too. That was when there were still brick and mortar store - Tower Records, Virgin, Sam Goody, etc.. I was lucky in that I some how got world wide distribution so I was able to sign several other artists. They had finished product but I had the distribution. So their "records" could get into Japan, Germany, England and all over the US.

You learn, even on a much smaller digital only scale, how to get barcodes (not really necessary like they used to be), artwork, publishing, distribution, advertising, marketing. I have never done the one stop shop CD manufacturers. I always did the printing (hired a printer local) and checked out the print register, colors myself, before I shipped them off. This is no longer necessary. I used to go direct to the CD plant. But they stopped that when too many DIY people came about so they required brokers.

I' m preparing to release another CD. I have my team: photographers, graphic designer. This and my last albums were the first where I didn't write the music so I had to acquire the publishing rights. I hired promotional people for radio and print. I always worked radio.

It's a huge business. You can get into it as deep as you want to. It's MUCH easier without the record store but less satisfactory, I think. I was exciting to hear someone in London or Tokyo emailing me or calling and saying they went to a record store and I was in a bin with my own name. At one store in Germany they sent me a photo of a display picture Now almost anyone can do it. Great! Fun. Do it.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #21
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
Well I disagree with your friends take on Spotify. It may be an Australian thing?
I think maybe a generational thing?


It's not JUST about radio and CD, at least in Europe.
All the main labels signed niche, low selling artists. I worked with many myself.
The reason was that many of the label bosses (in the 70's and 80's) were actual music fans. In addition, many more mainstream artists were pursued by multiple labels and what often swayed the decision one way or another was that the winning label had niche artists on the roster that the pop artist admired.
So it was seen as cool to have Frank Zappa or Magazine or George Clinton on your label roster.

The Waterboys did nothing but lose money and frustrate their labels with uncommercial decisions. And yet in my time with them almost every label in London was desperate to sign them.
It may have been difficult to get on radio, but you had important and influential shows like John Peel. Also, a variety of niche shows on independent radio, like Capital. [/quote]

Well - the idea of labels investing in unprofitable bands has been over for at least 20 years. So that's not really the comparison - what about bands in the 2000s, how hard was it for an unsigned band then to gain traction versus now? I know from my own unsigned experiences, there was no real way aside from gigging and selling CDs to get people to listen to you, local music papers, the beginnings of myspace perhaps - I was pretty forward thinking in getting us onto the itunes store when it was first possible, but that wasn't until 2006-7 maybe?

Quote:
The labels actually swung behind niche artists, booking them as support on bigger tours, getting them interviews in magazines, at least trying to get them played on radio. Spotify does absolutely nothing like that.
But that hasn't happened for 20 years either! Don't get me wrong..it'd be great if labels did more development, and Spotify did too...but that hasn't happened for a long time, it's been up to the artist for a while, and now versus 20 years ago, it's easier to get discovered - another friend of mine is on a small label in the UK, he's got loads of fans in Brazil (who never would have heard of him prior to internet distribution and streaming) through clever marketing and advertising. Not a huge expense either.

Quote:
Spotify would be fantastic if it had any interest in promoting less commercial artists, or nurtured innovation, or made it easier to find niche artists.
Is any left field or more 'difficult' music ever being playlists on 'New Music Friday'?
Well NMF is a pop playlist so by definition no. I don't know what you'd define as "niche", but just searching "Electronic" on Spotify gives you some curated playlists.

As an example, I searched for "drill". I found this playlist:
https://open.spotify.com/playlist/2H...RwOXr1P6tpl8lQ with 140k followers.

Plugged his name into google and found:
https://www.instagram.com/olliesoarplaylist/?hl=en - sure, looks like he's charging for placements which isn't necessarily the best form of marketing...but it's a genuine playlist (I found references to it on Reddit). If I was making Drill music and hadn't managed to spend 30sec doing that....I'm pretty poor at promo!

That's just an example. No spotify aren't promoting it, but it's not hard for a young artist to do.

It's swings and roundabouts...there's definite disadvantages to the Spotify-powered world, but it's not all gloom. That's all my mate above's post was - given that the labels aren't spending money like they were in the 80s, what advantages do we have?

The other thing is - if you're lucky enough to have been signed, or have a buzz about you, great - but how many lost out? Like he said, if you got dropped, or didn't get picked up in the first place, or didn't get played at radio...there's not much you can do apart from try to grind out a fanbase from gigging.

Which isn't really possible for niche artists like you say. Now they have an option!

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I have made deals with online labels. It's like a 50/50 share in whatever (low) income, but they do help with exposure and getting your music heard by people who follow the labels.
That is my number one goal at the moment, just trying to rise above anonymous.
I got more traction going through a 3rd party label than I have achieved going DIY.

If you start your own label you have the same problem, trying to get your label noticed.
Exactly my point for "starting a label isn't going to give you any legitimacy".


Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
I don't know of any labels that even accept submissions these days.
I'd say you need to get looking then! You're right in that any major label or subsidiary of isn't going to look twice unless you're already creating a buzz - but then there's many ways to do that.

I would say that independent, mainstream pop is a hard sell.
Old 22nd September 2020 | Show parent
  #22
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I think maybe a generational thing?
I don't think so. 1) Australia is a VERY different music market to most (USA, UK, Europe) and 2) your friend bemoans radio and CD, which seems more 'generational' (old school) to me. I have fully embraced digital. The reality is, hundreds of thousands of online artists (many young) aren't getting a look in because the algorithm promotes the already popular (by design).
If you are under the radar your task is EVEN HARDER than if you are moderately well known. It was supposed to be easier.

Quote:
Well - the idea of labels investing in unprofitable bands has been over for at least 20 years.
That is absolutely right. It died in the 90's.
The tragedy for me is that at the dawn of the internet it was touted as a levelling of the playing field for musicians, but the way streaming has developed has been along the lines of the worst aspects of a traditional label - promoting and nurturing already very successful artists, while burying the innovators and less successful.

Quote:
Well NMF is a pop playlist so by definition no. I don't know what you'd define as "niche", but just searching "Electronic" on Spotify gives you some curated playlists.
Many of the leading artists in Techno have less than 1000 plays on Spotify. You can't tell me they are 1) old and out of touch, or 2) not working very hard to publicise their work.
Old 22nd September 2020 | Show parent
  #23
Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I don't think so. 1) Australia is a VERY different music market to most (USA, UK, Europe) and 2) your friend bemoans radio and CD, which seems more 'generational' (old school) to me. I have fully embraced digital. The reality is, hundreds of thousands of online artists (many young) aren't getting a look in because the algorithm promotes the already popular (by design).
If you are under the radar your task is EVEN HARDER than if you are moderately well known. It was supposed to be easier.
Well - the bit about radio and CD seems to me like that's what others are saying - he's not bemoaning them, he's saying what we have now is (in a way) better, more accessible - as I've repeatedly said the money isn't there (yet) but the distribution is far better.

Quote:
That is absolutely right. It died in the 90's.
The tragedy for me is that at the dawn of the internet it was touted as a levelling of the playing field for musicians, but the way streaming has developed has been along the lines of the worst aspects of a traditional label - promoting and nurturing already very successful artists, while burying the innovators and less successful.
I don't know what to say to that - there's a model which hasn't been there for 20 years, but streaming has really only taken off in the last 5-10. Somewhere there's a 10yr deficit!

Quote:
Many of the leading artists in Techno have less than 1000 plays on Spotify. You can't tell me they are 1) old and out of touch, or 2) not working very hard to publicise their work.
I can say they're not working smart. They may not understand some of the better methods of promoting for streams. Or they of course may be ignoring spotify and using Beatport or something similar instead.

Have a read of this:

https://www.toneden.io/blog/guides/s...uide#Chapter-1

Something I only came across today - so I guarantee other people who've not done promo before haven't come across it.
Old 22nd September 2020
  #24
Deleted 6833614
Guest
It's interesting how important spotify is... and yet I've never used it in my life... or any other streaming service except for youtube. But these articles PM keeps posting are definitely interesting and deserve closer attention.
Old 22nd September 2020 | Show parent
  #25
Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I don't know what to say to that - there's a model which hasn't been there for 20 years, but streaming has really only taken off in the last 5-10. Somewhere there's a 10yr deficit!
I was just agreeing with you - passionate music fans working for labels basically died out by the early 90's. All I can add is that streaming staff are passionate about share prices and making money.


Quote:
Originally Posted by psycho_monkey View Post
I can say they're not working smart. They may not understand some of the better methods of promoting for streams.
Really? I'm talking about established artists who know their audience.
I think it's much more likely that Spotify isn't good for more niche music like Techno, than 40 year old artists with 20 years in the business don't understand Spotify.
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #26
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by N1Greg View Post
About 10 years ago (when I was last active and wrote an album which surprisingly was mixed pretty decently) I simply posted my music on some torrent site as an author. Not sure how much it helped but within months my project's name filled up like 10 google search pages. The torrents got spread automatically by bots I guess. But they were downloaded as on many sites there were active seeders.

I got over 5000+ views on my youtube posted album (1hr) which I don't even remember ever advertising. I had a dozen people making fan videos for my songs. Some disappeared but I still have a dozen or two of them out there without several thousand views. Most of them people inserting a picture onto my music and posting in their playlist. But most playlists don't have many subscribers or views so my songs never took off. EDIT: I just searched my name, one song with a fan made video (actual video) has 17k views! But only 3 comments... I'd love more comments... /sigh

Overall this didn't do me any good. Didn't give any satisfaction or joy. I spent months on it, but within a few months I completely forgot about its existence and stopped making music until about last year. I had my album on CDBaby for years, I don't think I even made $100 over all the years (I may have gotten one check, not sure). But then again I had zero presence online. Just that youtube channel. And it was early 2010s when things were nearly as bad as they are now... or were they?

Having said that my music was extremely niche, a dying genre (which is now dead). What I have now is pretty mainstream but I don't know how that's gonna help me today. I have like 1000000x more competition for listeners' attention these days.
From what I've seen, the closest thing to a repeatable or predictable way to jump start things is to produce finessed electronic or indie genre music at an obviously high level in the eyes of the fans of that genre (which is obviously not easy). If you do this, you'll have hierarchies of labels (many who accept unsolicited) to put the music out and a fanbase paying attention. That gets you your first 1000 listens (or more, depending on the label.)

If the content of the production is far enough above par in some way (great song, great sound, great hook of some kind, etc etc any number of ways) it'll snowball from there to some degree. If its average, it'll fade after that first bump.

This is essentially how you did it the first time. You wrote to a genre, it must have had an above par quality to it in some way, somehow got a bump to the audience of that genre, and snowballed a bit.

If you're going straight indie/pop its like Psycho Monkey says, its a hard road. The people who end up pop/mainstream are either indie/dance/underground artists who rise above the pack, actors/TV stars/influencers who cross over into pop star, or auditioned acts put together by someone with a budget. Y ou can also move to LA or London or a hotspot and try to work your way in (though after COVID who knows how central things will be anymore, the world is changing.) So if you're not famous or going to pop act auditions or hitting the streets of LA, your way in (at every level: songwriter, producer, or artist) is to rise above in the underground.

You can substitute "tastemaker" for label. If you can get a playlist with a significant enough subscribers to debut your music, that's all you need to get going. If you're going the self-release route, the best bet is probably to not release till a tastemaker will vouch for you. Otherwise you're lost in the sea of 367 listens and like Chrisso said, that can actually start to work against you.
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #27
Deleted 6833614
Guest
Quote:
Originally Posted by newguy1 View Post
From what I've seen, the closest thing to a repeatable or predictable way to jump start things is to produce finessed electronic or indie genre music at an obviously high level in the eyes of the fans of that genre (which is obviously not easy). If you do this, you'll have hierarchies of labels (many who accept unsolicited) to put the music out and a fanbase paying attention. That gets you your first 1000 listens (or more, depending on the label.)

If the content of the production is far enough above par in some way (great song, great sound, great hook of some kind, etc etc any number of ways) it'll snowball from there to some degree. If its average, it'll fade after that first bump.
I believe I have all that and more. I believe I have great songs (no filler crap), great sound, great hooks throughout (that's my strength I believe), fantastic vocals... I'm working on my mixing, it's tough but I feel I'm very close to getting a pretty polished product when I'm done with it in a couple of months. Again, I can't be objective because I'm the author, so it may be utter $hit, but I believe what I have is far above average, way far above (sounds delusional I know, but that's how I personally feel).

It's also electronic-based. I stretched it quite a bit with the "mainstream" word. It's really not. It's gonna have a pretty unique sound but nothing too weird, I never heard anything quite like it as a whole so I don't know where it fits (I'm a bit worried that may be a problem). But it sort of fits in between mainstream genres, EDM/pop/indie. It's not going to be Albanian pop. I just don't know what it is, I'm not good with definitions/genre brackets.

Despite this I'm kind of prepared to see it sink. I do want to do my best not to let it though.

Quote:
You can substitute "tastemaker" for label. If you can get a playlist with a significant enough subscribers to debut your music, that's all you need to get going. If you're going the self-release route, the best bet is probably to not release till a tastemaker will vouch for you. Otherwise you're lost in the sea of 367 listens and like Chrisso said, that can actually start to work against you.
So how/where do I find these tastemakers? What's the right way to contact them/approach them? How do I convince them to even listen to my music?
Old 23rd September 2020
  #28
Lives for gear
 

IMHO try to make some connections, within Film and Media. That's the ultimate Consumer right now.
Expecting "Mainstream Success" through the Olde Avenues, is like comparing "gigging"...
To significant record sales, 20 years ago or more.

The few people I know, who were very recently (Pre-Pandemic), or who are still making $100K+ music or VO incomes, are all hooked into Media.
"Followers" are nice for them, but icing on the financial cake.

Aligning yourself (hopefully) with people like this can help too...

Great thread BTW, just felt compelled to add this, to try to be helpful.
Chris
P.S. Greg (and anyone else who's on this thread-of course! ), I wish you as much success, as possible.
Old 23rd September 2020
  #29
Quote:
Originally Posted by Deleted 6833614 View Post
It's interesting how important spotify is... and yet I've never used it in my life... or any other streaming service except for youtube. But these articles PM keeps posting are definitely interesting and deserve closer attention.
Spotify is just the market leader in streaming - their platform is the most developed, their playlisting and socials far more accessible to artists - they're about 2-3 years ahead of Apple Music I reckon. Even the "for artists" apps are worlds apart.

I actually started the free "toneden" trial for my artist John Mason (folky troubadour type - ie quite a hard sell) - so we'll see how it does. It's basically a sophisticated front end for Facebook Ad manager, setting up music-related Instagram ads with specific targets....$20/month plus the FB ad fee, but a week's free trial.

Quote:
Originally Posted by chrisso View Post
I was just agreeing with you - passionate music fans working for labels basically died out by the early 90's. All I can add is that streaming staff are passionate about share prices and making money.
I'd say streaming staff (particularly the curators) are passionate about music (I know some of them!) - but maybe the owners are more about money.

Quote:
Really? I'm talking about established artists who know their audience.
I think it's much more likely that Spotify isn't good for more niche music like Techno, than 40 year old artists with 20 years in the business don't understand Spotify.
Well I suspect it's a bit of both. Certainly it's a mainstream platform primarily for mainstream music - in the same way HMV pushed the Top 40, maybe only having small sections for niche music, leaving the independent shops and mail order to push those genres.

At the same time - if you've not put in serious time to learn it or hire someone who knows it, you're not going to get the best out of any platform. Have you dived into FB ad manager? it's seriously hardcore stuff aimed at marketing professionals - I've had to get help with it and I'm pretty switched on with this sort of thing. There's "understanding Spotify" and really knowing where the best places to spend are (which is where this whole convo comes from - you can achieve a lot with $200 of promotion, even in more niche genres - but plays aren't the only thing). Did you have a read of that Toneden article? if you did, did you learn anything new? I certainly did!
Old 23rd September 2020 | Show parent
  #30
Lives for gear
 

Quote:
Originally Posted by N1Greg View Post
I believe I have all that and more. I believe I have great songs (no filler crap), great sound, great hooks throughout (that's my strength I believe), fantastic vocals... I'm working on my mixing, it's tough but I feel I'm very close to getting a pretty polished product when I'm done with it in a couple of months. Again, I can't be objective because I'm the author, so it may be utter $hit, but I believe what I have is far above average, way far above (sounds delusional I know, but that's how I personally feel).

It's also electronic-based. I stretched it quite a bit with the "mainstream" word. It's really not. It's gonna have a pretty unique sound but nothing too weird, I never heard anything quite like it as a whole so I don't know where it fits (I'm a bit worried that may be a problem). But it sort of fits in between mainstream genres, EDM/pop/indie. It's not going to be Albanian pop. I just don't know what it is, I'm not good with definitions/genre brackets.

Despite this I'm kind of prepared to see it sink. I do want to do my best not to let it though.



So how/where do I find these tastemakers? What's the right way to contact them/approach them? How do I convince them to even listen to my music?
Good stuff! So you have a few months to start researching as you wrap.

Definitely get on Spotify. Get a general playlist going of stuff you like, and one of stuff that sounds like your music. It’ll start feeding you similar artists.

Do the research. What labels are putting out music similar to yours? What playlists? What blogs? Who are the people behind them? Can you hunt down their contact? Look up artists with lower numbers on playlists and see how they’re releasing. Etc etc.

Same for Beatport and anywhere else that may be relevant.

Get the contact list together, hit everyone up when the work is done, see what the options are at that point.

Last edited by newguy1; 23rd September 2020 at 02:33 AM..
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