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35 THINGS TO CONSIDER WHEN STARTING YOUR OWN RECORD LABEL

By Christopher Knab 1. Why are you starting your own label? (What is your motivation?) 2. Why would anyone want to buy your music anyway? 3. Is there currently a market for your kind of music? rove it! ". If you are not releasing your own music# have you ever read a recording contract? $re you aware of all the traditional clauses that are in such %&'1(( )age contracts? &. *o you know anything about co)yright law? +. What is a ,echanical -oyalty? %. .ave you ever heard of the .arry /o0 $gency? What do they do? 1. What do you want to achieve by starting your own label? 2. What do you know about the day to day business of selling music? 1(. Will your new com)any be a sole )ro)rietorshi)# a )artnershi)# or a cor)oration? (*o you know the )ros and cons of each?) 11. .ave you registered the name of your com)any to make sure you can use that name? 12. Will you need any recording e3ui)ment or office e3ui)ment and su))lies to run your label? 13. *o you have a recording studio you can work with? 1". *o you know any record )roducers and4or engineers? 1&. .ow much money do you think it will cost you to startu) your label# and to finance the recordings and marketing of the recordings for the first year? 1+. Where will the financing come from? 1%. What local# state# and federal ta0 res)onsibilities will your label have? 11. .ow will you sell your records? (5ive shows# Internet sales# mail order# catalog sales# *istributors# 6tores?) 12. What s)ecific distribution and retail sales )lans have you arranged so fans of your music can easily buy your releases at record and other retail stores? 2(. *o you have the money# time# and determination to com)ete in an industry that releases over &(( new records a week? 21. .ow much does it cost to manufacture 7*s# 8a)es# and4or vinyl?

22. What 9configurations9 will you need to manufacture your music? 23. .ow many co)ies do you need to manufacture for each release? 2". What are 9)ackage deals9 offered by manufacturers# and are they right for you? 2&. Will you need to make any )osters# bin cards# or other )romotional materials? If so# how many and how much will that cost? 2+. What s)ecific )ackaging choices are available and which is right for your releases? 2%. .ow did you estimate the number of co)ies you needed? 21. *id you count into your estimation the number of free 7*s you will have to give away for )romotions of various kinds? 22. .ow will you go about finding new acts to sign to your label? 3(. .ow im)ortant do you think the gra)hic element is in designing your label9s logo# and s)ecific cover artwork for your releases? 31. *o you know any gra)hic artists with record :acket design e0)erience? 32. What s)ecific information should go on the cover# back cover# s)ine# booklet# and on the 7* itself? 33. *o you have your own ;arcode? Why do you need one? 3". *o you know how to write a music marketing )lan# a distributor one'sheet# and other )romotional materials? 3&. Who is your customer? If you think you know them# then describe them in very s)ecific terms.