How to set up a Record Lable & Studio

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Member Since: Jul 17, 2003

Hey guys

im wanting to set up my own record lable and recording studio was wondering if any one has any tips on how to do this where do i start ????.
Cheers

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Freeleance Producer/Engineer/Gtr
Member
Since: Aug 11, 2002


Apr 18, 2004 11:59 am

hmm... well that's a lot of typing, hehe. we learned by researching the web and books. i'll see if i can find some of the online articles and post them later.

...bringing sexy back
Member
Since: Jul 01, 2002


Apr 18, 2004 12:34 pm

check out some music here for some potential signings too

Member
Since: Jul 17, 2003


Apr 18, 2004 02:30 pm

So do you guys think that online is the way to find info out ????.
Cheers
OHhhhhh good point LOL i like you. the only problem is that we will be based in NZ and almost all of the bands here or arrtests are over seas ? is that a problem when signing bands ?

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 18, 2004 03:42 pm

I wouldn't say almost all of the peeps here are overseas, I would say the ratio is 50-50 at best, the US probably still outnumbers others...but I may be wrong...

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Apr 18, 2004 07:33 pm

Uh, am I right to assume NZ is New Zealand?

Anyways, if you want to set up a label and/or a studio, you should first think out, exactly what the goal of the record label is, and what route do you plan to take to get there. As with any business a label or commercial studio is going to need to fill out paperwork for local and national beaurocracies. I have no idea what is required in NZ.

Since I'm starting a label I can try and give you some pointers as I've done lots of research if you have any more specific questions. But basically, to start a label, you need to get the rights to some music and then sell it at the most basic level. Let me know where you need more help, and I can probably answer your questions.

Pinnipedal Czar (: 3=
Member
Since: Apr 11, 2004


Apr 18, 2004 10:10 pm

I believe all you need is a "DBA" (Doing Buisness As) liscense (sp), which allows you to advertise legally, a product, and your copy-rights ... ?

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Apr 18, 2004 11:37 pm

needing a "dba" is really dependent on what kind of business structure you use. If you are a sole proprietorship, and use a name that is not your own, then you will need a dba. If you form a corporation, or an LLC, you will not neccesarily need a dba. In California, dba laws are specific to city or county. A DBA is also known as a fictitious business name statement.

You may want to check out the book Label Launch by Veronika Kalmar. It has a lot of basic info for starting up a label, emphasis on basic, but it will get you started without drowning you.

grrrrrrr
Member
Since: Mar 29, 2004


Apr 19, 2004 03:11 am

Whatever you do. Make a business plan. Set your short term and medium term goals. Make a work schedule and stick to it. There will be many things to organise. A business plan will heplp you ocnvince investors, partners, distributers etc.. that you are serious and mean business. Also it will help you finalize your ideas. Get organised and go for it. Check the internet for business plan outlines.

Member
Since: Jul 17, 2003


Apr 19, 2004 04:48 am

Wicced thanks for every thing so far guys.
Does any one have any links to sites that give me info or papers that i may need to full out to set up a recording studio ? for NZ only though .
Cheers

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 19, 2004 04:54 am

Setting up a studio is no different from a label, a restaurant or a TV repair shop as far as the gov't is concerned (in most places anyway) all they care about is how many people are in on the ownership of the company and if the company hires anyone else besides the owner(s). ANy paper work or other hoops you have to jump thru, they should be the same regardless of any business you are setting up.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Member
Since: May 10, 2002


Apr 19, 2004 10:13 pm

Good reads:

Organized to be the best Susan Silver. Self explanitory.

Project Mangement A systems approach to planning scheduling and controlling. Harold Kerzner Ph.D. To the minute business management techniques.

Fundamentals of business law. Corley, Holmes & Robert. Good foundation for understanding legal matters.

The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People. Stephen R. Covey. The right attitude and perspective.

Profiting from Your Music and Sound Project Studio. Jeffrey Fischer. Self explanitory.

Delivering Knock your socks off Service. Kristin Anderson. Tricks and traps.

How to Incorporate. Michael R. Diamond, Julie L Williams. Self Explanitory.

Do what you love and the money will come. (or something like that, can't put my fingers on it right now) Excellent methodologies and mindset for starting a business.

Gorilla Marketing. Marketing on a shoestring.

A dictionary.

How to win friends and influence people. Dale Carnege. Still one of the best for understanding the general public.

Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy. (stress relief)

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Apr 21, 2004 09:34 pm

My two favorites Walt. Gorilla Marketing and Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy.

bace135 in the house tonight!
Member
Since: Jan 28, 2003


Apr 22, 2004 12:42 am

uh, just a quick point, for anyone interested in the book walt and noize mentioned, I'm pretty sure it is Guerilla Marketing. I mean who wants to market to a bunch of apes?

Ignorance Is Strength
Member
Since: Nov 10, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 02:31 am

uuggghhh....the business end of music, someone get me an aspirin and a 6 pack.

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 04:42 am

I'm in the same boat as you Sds2000 :)
Except I'm in Australia...

And hey - why would you want to sign up overseas acts? There's plenty of talent in NZ...

I really don't know much at all about running a label (we too are still in the embreyonic stages), but one thing I can tell you you have to work out is what is your niche... Pop? Rock? Rap.. Metal? What's your style?

'Cause getting a label started seems to have a lot to do with knowing the right people in the right places. If you know a bunch of punk kids that are movers and shakers in their own right you're much more likely to know where to advertise so punk fans will see, you'll find it easier to get gigs at punk shows for your bands... all that kinda stuff.

Make sure you know your genre inside out, and don't be afraid to be silly passionate about it. :)

...bringing sexy back
Member
Since: Jul 01, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 06:41 am

what kinda thing you gonna do will?

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 07:34 am

Heh... we got big-*** plans galore... it's a bit of a mess but I basically got a bunch of really chill guys in Melbourne that want to start 'something'... we're just not sure what.

It started off as an idea to make it easier for our own bands to release our own music (*cough* subtle plug: www.innocentcabbage.com *cough*), but eventually we figured we could offer a bit more than that.

Kinda along the same lines as HRC actually, info and stuff for little folks that can't afford/don't want to be involved with the 'big' side of the music business.

We're planning to do a whole lot of stuff ... uhm... like a bands showcase, where we show off local bands, like once every month or two or whatever, and help them get a bit of a kickstart, maybe help them record a demo or sommin.

Gunna have lots of nice articles about recording/releasing your own CDs indie stylies and stuff.

Setting up an online record store devoted to local acts, so they can get their CDs out via mailorder kinda thing if they're not big enough to get propper distro going.

And of course, the Label - we've got a few bands (mostly ours, the guys that started the 'label' in the first place) that we're going to hopefully get touring and recordin nice-sounding albums and stuff...

Heh.. the list goes on really - thanks to dB we've got (the start of) a nice directory full of useful stuff for indie kids, all that stuff.

Gunna have like a "Diary of an Independent Record Label" thing on the site too which should be cool, basically gunna just really transparently document how the Label got started - all the trials and tribulations... hopefully kinda inspire likeminded folks to do the same (or start a zine or record store or sommin, y'know the deal)...

We're gunna do a bunch of organizing of local gigs and stuff, perhaps a few battle of the band-type events.

Heheheh...
Looks like we're hopefully gunna be doing some stuff with a bunch of HILARIOUS local kids who do a thing called "boxwars", which is basically where they dress up in cardboard box suits of armour and beat each other up.
Good clean fun. :) (check out their site: www.boxwars.tk hilarity!)

Sheesh.
Now look what you did, you got me talking. That wasn't a great idea.. gah!!! hehehe.. *shuts up*

...bringing sexy back
Member
Since: Jul 01, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 09:45 am

jeez, time for a new keyboard after that one dude...

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 09:48 am

I dunno what it is, I'm just a-typing WAY too much right at the moment.. I think I'm on a bit of a natural high at the mo... (heh, just look at my avatar!)

But the whole indie record label type thing is sommin I recon anyone can do, and should all get involved in if they can...
< / end rant >

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 10:00 am

Willum, check out the AOIRA www.aoira.com/

HRC is involved with setting up such a thing right now...

In the back of my mind I do have grand dreams of HRC starting an indie label, but up until now I have never mentioned it to anyone...I don't think...adding an online store and CD production capabilities to the site...other big dreams, but dreams that take money that HRC currently doesn't have...

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 10:30 am

Yeah, it always seems like us types have ideas way too big for our boots... :P

AOIRA seems mega-interesting dudas, very cool.
I recon the more of us setting up stuff like this the better... This kinda thing seems to work best on a locality-based kinda thing...

Heh... neat.

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 10:38 am

I dunno, I think all the individuals trying to do it would be best served joining a single larger effort with maybe "virtual offices" scattered in local areas, but all belonging to the single larger org. This is better for the "strength in numbers" reasons, plus, then, answering to a single body means we are all on the same page, following the same guidelines and operating in the same way (in theory) this gives a larger, single, unified voice. Smaller grassroots efforts will rarely, if ever be able to accomplish anything outside the local area unless there are ties outside the local area. And if small localized efforts can't reach outside that area, then whats the point? Isn't the whole point of it to help indies break out of that local area?

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 11:24 am

Yeah, I guess I'm all for getting a strong thing going in localities, and then going global from there, not the other way round...

"bottom-up revolution" so to speak...

Either way, as long as everyone's doing SOMETHING it's better than nothing. :)

There are folks like AIR: www.air.org.au/ that are doing a more global-type thing (dealing with Australia)... and the indie labels in Australia kinda 'answer' to them.... (they have the indie charts there and stuff) getting a vague non-empirical heirachy going is definitely a good thing.

I just come from the DIY side of things, and doing the grass-roots type stuff like making your own zines etc seems to be what gets people inspired.
Hell, most of the larger record labels, including the big five - don't answer to anybody, and make their own rules.. I think if anything is going to work on the indie side of thing a unification of all the 'little guys' in some way, that leaves them to do it all the way they want to - may work the best.

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 11:55 am

I sort of agree and sort of disagree. Running this indie website, I have heard from all sorts of indie magazines, web sites, shareware audio software and all sorts of stuff. Over the few years running this site I have seen countless "little guys" disappear because they have no foloowing because they are "little guys". "Little guys" can do nothing on any major scale. While I applaud the effort and the motivation of these people, and a small impact may be made in a very localized area, that really doesn't matter to the other 99.9% of the indies around the world.

If each group is doing things their own way, there is no single voice heard and nobody gets listened to.

While I agree that doing something is better than doing nothing, because, the fact remains that most entrepenuers (sp?) have a few failed projects, business or orgs before one that succeeds. Therefore doing something does give a person experience in the business world, which will ultimately add up to a success somewhere down the line. The beauty of the larger org, such as the AOIRA is attempting to formulate is that there is a larger pool of collective knowledge from which to draw. And that pool is spread over many areas, and many cultures.

Together we stand, divided we fall, ultimately, that is always the outcome. Small localized efforts may make one a local hero, but in the big picture it rarely does it make any difference, with all the efforts so far, there has been very little progress made (speaking from the BIG picture) at all so far...so the small localized effort has, in essence, failed...so far...

And sadly, the momentum that the AOIRA had during it's first few weeks has seriously fell off as well.

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 12:41 pm

Yeah that's what I mean - to be honest I think we're on the same wavelength here, the thing is that stuff like AOIRA are kinda hard for the average joe to get really EXCITED about, and that's kinda what gets stuff moving...

I guess it's kinda a combination of the two, the small-scale pockets of hyped up people getting all excited and doing things and then larger umbrella-style organisation that would really get stuff movin.

Hell - I'm just a kid! 19 years old, I'm barely a feotus relatively speaking, but I think it's partly that naievity that gives kids like me the push to go do stuff... Perhaps when I get old and jaded I can slow down a bit and think about the big picture a bit more huh? ;)

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 12:45 pm

Oh, you haven't even seen how jaded I am yet...:-D

I have a lot of respect for young idealists like I once was...but generally they get disillusioned in time, which sucks...for every upside, there is a downside, it's the nature of life.

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 01:01 pm

hehehe...

Nah I think it kinda works... the older folks balance out the younger, and hopefully give us young upstarts a bit of a kick in the right direction.

I see too many folks my age running around going to demonstrations they don't know anything about, and reading bunches of socialist literature, but not really DOING anything...
It seems there's an underlying fevour, and it's growing, but not much is being done with it.

Stuff is changing though, slowly - but hey, it's changing...

I gots to keep optimistic.. helps to balance against you old jaded types right? ;)

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 22, 2004 01:08 pm

I work in the downtown district of a large city (Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA) and see lots of protesting and crap during the summer months (seems there is nothing to protest when it's cold out). While, when I was young I did protest things I believed in at that time, I have noticed a lot now that when I do see protests, it's the exact same faces at every one. As though it doesn't matter what the cause, they just want to *****.

That said, I do believe in the right to protest, freedom of speech and all that, it is (or can be) a healthy, positive thing, but to often turns into an unproductive brawl...which is sad.

Oh, Willum, you have not yet met Minkus Maz, he'll be around I am sure, he is our resident political and social commentator that really watches politics and world affairs and is quite good at it. While I disagree with some of what he says personally, it's always interesting and thought provocing.

He should be along...he is here pretty regular.

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 22, 2004 01:48 pm

Oh excellent! I love the politically active folks... They do all the thinking and reading I don't have time for.. :-P

That said, I think protesting is a damn good thing in many ways - especially in Australia where I come from originally (and am heading back to soon), protests often work, which is nice to see.

I guess it just bugs me when there's kids with a whole lot of enegy and ideas and stuff, and they don't really DO anything with all of it.

(oh, and btw, my name's "Will", not "Willum", the nice 'Will' was already taken.... just so ya know)

grrrrrrr
Member
Since: Mar 29, 2004


Apr 23, 2004 03:59 am

Well maybe I am in between you guys. Am not exaclty blindly enthusiastic or jaded. I think that in the end though its not great ideas that are going to make a difference. Its the ability to execute them. Hard work and perseverence can get you anywhere. You also need a bit of luck, but way too many people think that luck is everything. Nobody gets anywhere without hard work and if hard work is not put in then your not going to be satisfied anyway once you get there.

This is what I have learnt in my life so far (26 years) and after several businesses with varying degrees of success. I found that having a great idea is one thing. Executing is a whole other ball game. If you can stay focused and remain tough in adverse situations, believing 150% in what you are doing and staying organised then you can make it.

I have been active in over 20 startups in the last 6 years as this is sort of my field of competence. I have given advice in terms of strategy and sometimes taken on the day to day work. I would suggest these simple rules to go by:

1) set yourself short-term and medium term goals. And 1 or 2 long term goals. Short term is under 6 months. Medium term is under 2 years. Get these by brainstorming ideas and then setting realistic time frames to these ideas.

2) make yourself a work schedule for the next two years with clear deadlines. Make sure you know who has to do what. Ie. mark needs to build studio desk within 2 weeks, bill needs to initiate make t-shirts within 1 month. Make sure the time frame is realistic and that you are using your time efficiently. For example, it is stupid to do a big marketing campaign before you have set up your studio. You want to use your time efficiently and at every step of the way you want to look professional with what you are doing. Back up your ideas with facts, not dreams.

3) Every 6 months re-run this process. As your business develops you will understand better the market. Your old work schedule will seem out of date. This is good! It means you are getting somewhere. Learn from what you have done, tweak the schedule and keep going.

4) Ask the right questions and dont waste time. Become informed when you have a problem. Dont waste your time reading 20 books on how to start a studio or a business. If you have a vision then conceivably you have some idea on how to get there. When you have a concern relating to your specific goals (eg. how do we build a studio desk that keeps noise to a minimum?) become informed about that particular point. You will retain the knowledge more easily and will not waste valuable time. The more time you waste the more likely you are to become old and jaded. Seize the day and be efficient.

5) Believe in what you are doing 150% but always be prepared to take advice from people. Dont listen to people who try to discourage you. They have no idea what they are talking about. Prove them wrong. Fight to make your vision come true.

These 5 points are all you need to follow to make it. Forget the books. Of course if you are trying to do sometihng like sell steaks to hindu's you are barking up the wrong tree. There are lots of theories about testing your market etc but I think that as you go you will understand your market and be able to adjust your business model and goals to find your niche. Be careful because this is your first experience and rarely do entrepreneurs make it on their first try. You need to be twice as careful and organsied to overcome your lack of experience.

So in the words of one William Wallace:
"Will ya fight?"

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 23, 2004 07:57 am

hehehehe.. I love it... "Will Ya Fight?!"...
:P
And yeah Mauz, that's bloody brilliant advice!

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 23, 2004 08:16 am

Anyway... going back to to this idea of bunches of little guys tinkering vs. a more broad cohesive approach...

Instead of there being one company, or organization, or whatever that centrally controlls everything, what's wrong with having a more distributed network? I.e. instead of everyone answering to one HQ, just a higher level of communication between the smaller organizations and people?

This would mean more things like say Conferences for people in the indie world... "networking events" I guess.
Stuff already works a whole lot through word-of-mouth on the indie level, perhaps getting the way people communicate up on a higher level would help things...

What about setting up forums for indie record label owners? Or forums for e-Zine owners? or people that organize gigs?

It's kinda... distributed centrality, or sommin... if that makes ANY sense at all. (I made up a stupid word! go me!)

'Cause when a bunch of smaller organizations team up for a 'common good' it's quite amazing what they can achieve.. For large events etc, people could swell together and create something much larger than the sum of the contributing parts, and then go back to do their own things once it's over.

I dunno. :) just an idea..

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 23, 2004 08:22 am

Thats exactly what the AOIRA is trying to accomplish...maybe you should join the forums there and toss your ideas in the ring.

grrrrrrr
Member
Since: Mar 29, 2004


Apr 23, 2004 09:38 am

In my opinion Indie bands should forget the rules and think out of the box. CD's only by mail order from some shared facility that reduces costs to a minimum. Indie CD clearing house or something like this.

Acting together is definetely better, but it has to make impact. Maybe teaming up there is strength in numbers to negotiate distribution deals with the companys such as iTunes, realnetworks etc.. and would make it convenient for them.

We need a copmany that acts as a clearing house between indie labels and distribution channels. Takoing care of legal and technological matters. Maybe dB is the man to take on the techology aspects. These are murky waters for me.

My gut feeling gives me little with regard to the synergies when it comes to live events. Maybe that is because I have not really played much live and over here in Italy the live scene is quite limited.

But maybe a simple distribution platform that brings together indie labels could be a no-brainer, profitable and a fun business!

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 23, 2004 09:47 am

Well, we have discussed most of this at the AOIRA forum.

First, the indie culture has to be changed, as "teaming up", in many people minds kinda takes the indie out of "indie", as you are no longer independent.

Second, really, most any replication facility or distribution channel will work with indies, but they still have to make money, nobody is going to do it for nothing.

Also, any group that takes care of distribution matters and legal matters (especially legal matters) will require substantial funding to operate, such is the problem we have encountered at the AOIRA.

My personal opinion, as I have expressed over there, is that the best initial route to take is to act more as an advisory board. Not getting involed in legal matters and distribution channels (yet) but having the resources and combined knowledge of it's membership to be able to empower the indie to make educated decisions and to point them in the right direction regarding WHERE to go for legal help and distribution assistance, and possibly working out deals for AOIRA members at these places. Because, until properly funded, no group can afford to get much more involved.

grrrrrrr
Member
Since: Mar 29, 2004


Apr 23, 2004 10:16 am

I think it is important to take full advantage of the changes occuring in the digital ditribution market. Indie music needs to consolidate its position before the market matures too much.

As for 'teaming up' - I think artists and 'indie labels' have a duty to try and get their music to reach as many people as possible. The only way to do this is to share costs intelligently with other people in similar situations. Surely this can't go against 'indie' ethics.

Maybe a non-profit organisation could fullfill this role. That might go down better with the independent indie's and it would be easy to raise mony from artists who have made it (or maybe some who failed and had to make their bucks in other ways). One could also throw in some charity music programs for kids in inner cities to put the icing on the cake.

Bring the music to the people!

Administrator
Since: Apr 03, 2002


Apr 23, 2004 10:43 am

What I am talking about IS non-profit. That means all the money goes back into the org.

Just because an organization is "non-profit" doesn't mean that it doesn't need money to do it's thing.

Idiot.
Member
Since: Apr 22, 2004


Apr 24, 2004 01:51 pm

dB's right - most of large not-for-profits still pay workers a resonable salary and the CEO of the larger charities etc earn a damn good wage.

At Pith Records we're actually setting up an online store specifically so people can mail order indie releases from artists in our area... It's going to be run out of a second bedroom so overheads are pretty much nil, and we're taking about 20-30% to cover costs on what we sell... compared to the few points someone on a larger label would recieve, it's quite reasonable.

We're also putting up a bunch of articles about legalities in the music business etc, and have heaps of info for where to go for more info.

heh... dB - I've already signed up at AOIRA and had a good long read through a lot of the stuff there... there really are some damn good ideas going around there, it seems the only thing holding stuff back there is funding and a bit more recognition..

We have something like this in Australia already - AIR, I think I might have mentioned it before, they help with legal stuff and have considerable weight through numbers for bringing stuff like CD production costs down, which is also a big help... More organizations like this are a hella needed..

One thing that I've noticed more and more of recently which seems to be really good is a support of non-music type 'good stuff' amongst the indie community, towards stuff like free trade, internet security (i.e. anti-policing software info etc).. When you think about it, the growers/farmers that the free trade orgs. supports, and the families/communities that the health and welfare types are supporting are the 'indies' in their own right...
We're all on the same level there, increased awareness of both will help tooooo... :)

Czar of Midi
Administrator
Since: Apr 04, 2002


Apr 27, 2004 10:37 pm

Willum, I just a got to look at the boxwars site. That is absolutly stupendous. I laughed my but off and couldnt stop till I surfed the entire site. I thought some of those suits were hillarious and very creative as well.

Chief Cook and Bottle Washer
Member
Since: May 10, 2002


Apr 27, 2004 11:25 pm

The biggest problem with a decentralized systems approach is division of authority and cohesion of agendas. And the question has nothing to do with wether indi ethics are compromised. The question has all to do with the perception of compromised ethics. Those comments are not statements of made to critisize plans, just simple answers. Your structure will either have to ensure that those problematic areas are non-issues or be prepared to work with the complications. The most effective small business consortium systems are very limited in scope. An example would be a referal network. Limited in geographical coverage, provides a theater where a group of businesses, one from each service segment can gather and trade off referals. These work well for many small businesses. Simple, you know your obligation, responsibility, anticipated ROI, agenda, which is inherantely shared. I watched a 100 year old, in the black, privately held medical company break up and sell off per agenda division. No oversite to retain focus. The board split and company poof gone!

Very interesting thread. Everything from franchise concepts to hybrid brokerage concepts to consultation services represented. Keep it going. I just got hired as and indy band manager myself. Popular consensus of the group in my absence. I have accepted for the time being. A third business and more number crunching on the horizon. Good grief. But it is intriguing per the contents of this thread.

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