Interested in starting your own label? There are a couple things you’ll have to do first to make it happen. In this post, we’ll give you a general rundown of the most important steps. Here’s what we know…
How To Register Your Own Record Label
What does a label do?
A record label is the entity responsible for releasing your master recordings to the public on retailers, streaming services, radio, etc.. Major parts of a record label’s work involve promotion, marketing your music, landing sync placements, and more. In addition, major labels often pay out advances to cover the recording costs for the album or single in addition to paying to produce physical releases like CDs or LPs.
“How do I know if I’m ready to start my own label?”
There are a couple reasons why someone would want to start their own record label. Whether you want to represent yourself or other artists, it’s a great way to gain some independence, learn more about the industry, direct the futures of other artists and genres, and give yourself the ultimate control over the destiny of your own music.
Regardless of why you want one, however, this is a complicated and time-consuming process that shouldn’t be taken lightly. Doing this on your own is possible, but not recommended if you have no experience in the game. Everyone has their strengths and weaknesses, so build a team that encompasses every skill you need to do this right. Once your team is in order, here’s what you need to do.
Define Your Vision
Your brand identity as a label will play a huge part in your success moving forward. It’s important to choose a specific vibe or genre you’d like to encompass as a label in order to solidify your brand identity in the industry. If you plan on taking on other artists under your wing, they’ll want someone who specializes in their specific genre and gets their vision.
In addition to deciding what genre (or genres) to focus on, this is the time to choose a label name that best represents you, get your official website set up, and trademark your label name. — Before you release anything, you MUST create your website and claim ALL social media pages for your brand prior to releasing your first album. Having your social media in order first gives it time to gain some traction before it’s time to promote you (or your clients) music.
Choose a Business Structure and Register with the State
Next, it’s time to decide on a business structure. Common options include sole proprietorship, partnership, limited liability company (LLC), or corporation. Each structure has its own advantages and disadvantages, so it’s not a bad idea to consult with a lawyer or accountant to figure out the best choice for you.
For example, an LLC exists separately from its members, which means that those members are not personally responsible for any business debts and liabilities that may arise down the line. Instead, the LLC is responsible. On the other hand, a sole proprietorship is an unincorporated business owned and run by one person.
Choosing to go the sole proprietorship route gives you more personal control over everything, but an LLC saves you some liability if things don’t work out. These are just some general things to consider, but it’s up to you to thoroughly do your research and choose the right path for you.
Once you have made your choice, you will also need to register with the Secretary of State and update that registration annually.
Register with SoundExchange & Neighboring Rights Collection Societies
The royalties that SoundExchange collects and distributes are for the featured artist and the sound recording copyright owner. ASCAP, BMI and SESAC collect and distribute royalties for the songwriter, composer and publisher. — The difference is both satellite radio providers and webcasters pay SoundExchange when they stream music.
That means the only way to get that money is with SoundExchange.
They’re the ones who collect these digital performance rights from non-interactive music streaming on internet sources like SiriusXM and Pandora. If you don’t want to miss out on this money, Symphonic can collect SoundExchange royalties on behalf of sound recording owners and/or rightsholders.
Set Up Distribution Channels
Now, it’s time to get your (or your clients) music onto streaming platforms and DSPs like Spotify, Apple Music, Tidal, etc. To do this, you’ll have to go through a distributor like us. When you sign up for music distribution with Symphonic, we go to work to make sure your releases make the biggest impact possible on as many platforms as possible.
Creating your own record label can be an exciting and fulfilling venture, allowing you to discover and promote talented artists while leaving your own mark on the music industry. Although the process of registering a record label can seem daunting and complex, we hope these general steps will help the process go as smoothly as possible. With consistency, determination, and a passion for great music, there’s nothing you can’t do!
Instagram Reels is the perfect place to post creative video content and engage with your audience on Instagram at the same time. If you don’t have a lot of time to dedicate to Reels or have a whole team to do it for you, there are a lot of ways you can still create them with existing content you already have. From behind-the-scenes clips to easy memes, here are some easy ideas you have to try…
Easy Instagram Reels Ideas for Independent Musicians
Share UGC (User-Generated Content)
User-generated content is genuine interactions from your fans, authentically created on their own by their own merit. What’s better than that? Plus, you can use this content in your own content strategy by creating Reels from them. Whenever you play a show, there are tons of people with their phones out recording the moment. Those people are most likely going to post those moments online to document the experience. While onstage, remind everyone to tag you in their posts! You can even tell them you’ll be reposting some of them to encourage them to do so.
One thing to keep in mind, however, is to always ask permission to do so and give credit where credit is due. Don’t just assume everyone is down to be shared without asking.
Clips From Shows/ Touring
On tour, you’re already taking so many videos of the experience why not use some for Reels? Whether it’s backstage sneak peaks, meeting fans, a look into how you prep or during the show itself, these are all great pieces of content to make Reels out of. Not to mention you can repurpose these into TikTok’s, grid posts on Instagram or even on all your other platforms for months to come.
Music Video Previews
While you’re working on that new music video, take behind-the-scenes clips during the process. Even better, you can tease final cuts of the video by posting them as a Reel before the launch date. You can do this by using captions like, “Coming Soon… 👀” with the launch date worked in. You can even link to Spotify for presaves, YouTube premieres, or wherever else they can find your music once it comes out.
Static Photos to a Trending Audio
If you don’t have a video to post, don’t worry! You can create a Reel with static images and add your music over top for an aesthetic recap from your last show, meet-up, or whatever you want to share.
If you don’t see your song available and want to get your music on Instagram, our partnership with Facebook (which covers Instagram and other services) makes it easy. If you’re a Symphonic client, we upload your content into Facebook’s systems in order to scan for anyone using that same content. Then, your music is available for use on Instagram and Lip Sync Live, Instagram Stories and the like.
One of the best parts about social media as an artist is having a direct line to engage with your community online, and authenticity is a pivotal driver in keeping that community healthy and thriving. Reels is a great way to respond to commonly asked questions from your fans that goes a bit deeper than a comment under a post. With this, you can ask on your Story what questions your fans have and make a Reel responding to each of them. This is also a great time to work in some personal stories from your life or insights into what you’re working on right now. The more genuine the better.
Now, who doesn’t love a good meme? If you’ve got a funny bone, show it off with a Reel. This goes hand in hand with the idea above about sharing more about yourself. Humor is a great way to connect with others, and it makes pushing out content more fun, for you and the fans. The best way to do these is to keep track of things you find funny and take notes as you see them. Then, curate versions of those memes to your own experience. Easy peasy.
Collaborate with Other Artists
One of the best ways to create more content is to divide and conquer. If you have any features on your latest album, consider making a Reel with them. Whether it’s a funny skit together or an acoustic version of your track, you have tons of options for what you can create as a team. It also gives both of you the chance to tag each other and reach their audience as well as yours.
We did a version of this when we collaborated with artists going to #SXSW this year. With these, we asked them fun questions, got to know them better and created interview style Reels for our own audience. Of course, we tagged them as well for them to share on their own feed. We had a great time working with them and they loved creating something new for their fans!
Turn Existing IG Stories Into A Reel
Reels have been proven time and time again to improve reach and engagement. If you already post stories on Instagram, you can use those as Reels as well. If you don’t have a lot of time to create something brand new, this is a great option.
Create a Lyric Video or Graphic
If you’re a great lyricist, consider creating Reels that show off your favorite lyrics. Whether it’s a video with text playing over top or a static image with the lyrics written out and your music playing in the background, this is another super easy way to make a Reel that’s bound to be shared.
Just because you don’t have a lot of time doesn’t mean you can’t still create great content! If you’ve been on the hunt for easy Instagram Reels ideas, we hope this got the creative juices flowing.
Want to learn how to build a fanbase and improve your skills as an artist from one of the best in the business? Musician’s Fanbase Growth Workshop offers all of that in their weekly Wednesday workshop. Here’s how to secure your spot for free.
Reserve Your Spot for Modern Musician’s Fanbase Growth Workshop
Here’s the rundown…
Founder of Modern Musician and host of the Modern Musician Podcast, Michael Walker is hosting an in-depth “fanbase growth workshop” for artists who are ready to level up their music career, and thrive during these challenging times. In this workshop, he’s revealing some of their best techniques that are usually reserved for his $5000+ clients at Modern Musician. This is the first time he’s given away this information for free, and you don’t want to miss out on the valuable insights he has to offer.
“How do I get involved?”
Every Wednesday @ 3PM ET, they offer LIVE training in 3 main topics:
Artistic Identity: Hone in your music brand to give you clarity about who you are as an artist, so you can attract the best-fit audience who will love your music.
Thriving Fanbase: Set up your marketing so we can build your loyal fanbase based on your artistic identity and your strengths.
Revenue Multiplier: Create an automatic monetization system to fund your artist lifestyle so you don’t sacrifice your talent or lose touch with your musical identity.
If you’re interested in tuning in, click this link to register in one-click:
Once you’ve done that, you’ll receive a “welcome pack” with all the resources needed to take part in this special, one-time event.
Want to learn more?
In addition, you may have also heard about the Gold Artist Academy, Modern Musician’s flagship mentoring program. This program is a great resource for artists who are ready to truly commit and step up their game.
Learn more about the program, plus testimonials and additional details, right here.
Job hunting. We’ve all done it, and most of us will continue to have to do it until retirement comes along. Indeed and Glassdoor are great for seeing everything and anything all at once, but what if you’re tired of wasting your time sorting through thousands of unrelated jobs? Believe it or not, there are job sites just for us music biz folks. Here are some of the best music industry job sites to help you land your next job…
9 Music Industry Job Sites To Help You Land Your Next Job
The Digilogue is a diverse community of creators and industry professionals in music and tech. They curate conversations and programming around industry education, artist discovery content, and a great career resource on their website. Under their Music Careers tab, click on Job Postings, and you’ll find tons of job listings up for grabs. // Check it out for yourself on their website here.
Music Business Worldwide
This site is one of the best resources for anyone looking to broaden their horizons in the music biz. Music Business Jobs is a website for the global music industry to find the best candidates for their open positions. They post openings all over the country, and you can filter results by location, companies, and job type. // Check out what’s available right here.
The world of electronic music is shaped not only by artists and fans, but also by thousands of small businesses, from clubs to booking agents to publishers and promoters. If you’re looking to work in the electronic music scene, this resource is for you. Doors Open is a place for people to connect with companies and projects they believe in, and for independent music companies to find the staff they need to turn ideas into reality. // Check ’em out here.
Shesaid.so is a global community of women and gender minorities in the music industry. They’re absolutely awesome, and they happen to also provide a very useful job portal tab on their website where you can browse open positions and apply. // Click here to see what’s available.
Music Careers is built for music professionals by music professionals to help you find your next job in the music industry. They post up to date jobs, refresh every 30 days, and give you the ability to refine your search by specific niches within the industry. They even post freelance opportunities, too. // Check out what they’ve got to offer here.
Digital Music News
You may already be a fan of Digital Music News‘ industry articles to keep up to date on the latest news, but have you checked out the jobs tab on their website? There, you can check out music industry jobs from major record labels and streaming services to universities, merchandising companies, startups, and more. // Check it out here.
A2IM has their own job board to help you find your perfect position. Whether you’re looking for temporary work, an internship, or full-time, their database can search jobs by keywords and location. // Check out jobs on A2IM here.
Music Jobs is part of a global publication and online community which brings their subscribers industry opportunities and daily news from the world of film, TV, music and gaming. On their site, you can also sign up and subscribe to emails with job opportunities tailored specifically to what position you’re looking for. // Click here to check out the site and search for jobs.
Entertainmentcareers.net is a great site which features jobs in in Film, Television, Music, Production Companies, Radio, Animation, Acting, Production, PR, Design, and more. Whether you’re interested in the music industry or something adjacent, this is the ultimate place to check. // Browse available jobs on their site here.
This information is brought to you by Debbie Egel, an attorney whose practice includes writing and reviewing music contracts, running an independent label for over 10 years; and developing indie artists. She is knowledgeable of the economics of music, the DIY process, and has written an instruction manual for Indie artists, labels and managers called “For The Record” and teaches an on-line course. Debbie has a deep appreciation of the business of music as well as her legal knowledge as a practicing attorney. We are sharing it with you here to give you a sense of some of the decisions and complexities involved in these questions. Streaming Promotions does not provide legal or tax advice. You should consult with your personal legal and tax professionals regarding your specific situation before making any decisions.
When it comes to major record deals, there are a lot of things to consider. That’s why it’s important to always get a second, or even third, set of eyes on anything that requires a signature and involves your finances. Here’s what to look for before you dive in…
How to Know if Signing a Recording Contract Is Right For You
You LOVE music, and you have been working hard, creating and recording music. You’re also keeping up a social media presence, getting gigs, taking photos and posting, getting your look right, releasing and marketing music and the list goes on and on. Now you figure it must be working because someone has reached out and is speaking to you about signing a record deal.
While many artists view a record deal as the solution to their problems, look before you leap.
Record labels can be great opportunities to get your music in front of an audience and help you build fans. Labels can provide support in terms of production, marketing, legal knowledge and access to experienced industry vets. It takes a village and no one can do this alone. However, you should be careful, thoughtful, and selective before you sign on the dotted line.
The contract will be defined as binding you for a period of years or a number of singles or albums that have to be delivered to fulfill the agreement. The contract is like signing a marriage license. It is basically a relationship, and it is important to date before you get married. So how do you know if a record deal is the right move for you? First and foremost…
Do Your Homework
Artists should be paying attention to these items:
What is the label’s track record with your genre?
Do they have a website?
Do they have artists that have been signed fared well?
Is there already an act signed that sounds similar to you?
What can this label do for you that you can’t currently do on your own?
Have they listened to your music? What do they have to say about it?
Have you spoken to them and what is their plan for you moving forward?
What type of assets can they provide such as production, marketing, finances etc.?
How long does the contract bind you?
Has the company asked you about split sheets, production agreements for your current music.
Philosophically, do both parties to the agreement have the same vision for the music?
If the relationship is a failure, it can often mean the ruin of an artistic career. So be careful!
What do labels look for?
Truth be told, artists working independently can only get so far before needing a bigger team. Labels can be that team, helping you increase your reach and overall success. However, this costs money.
Like any successful business, if you need a large injection of money in order to get to the next level, you must be able to recover that investment. With record sales declining and streaming income at an all time low, record companies need better ways to secure their investment. For example, like a 360° contract, which is used to potentially make a profit from their investment.
How have you built your fanbase? Are they buying your projects? Look at it like this: if you’ve been pumping out nothing but free albums, do you really anticipate them buying your major label debut if you haven’t put any value on your music beforehand?
What else do they consider?
Labels also typically consider physical attendance at your shows and whether you can sell units or derive money from streaming. They also look at your other income streams, like merch and touring.
Remember, both sides have to benefit or else the relationship is not going to be successful.
What you should know at the table…
Contract terms depend on the bargaining power of the artist. A new artist with no real history of earnings will not get the same terms as an artist with a proven record of strong earnings.
These terms can include:
The number of songs to be delivered
What costs the record company will pay for
The amount of money the record company will spend on social media campaigns
What type of music production support they can provide
Whether the record company will also participate in the money earned from music publishing, merchandising and live performances.
If you have confidently answered these questions and are willing to give up a percentage of your earnings, it’s time to contact an attorney to review the deal.
From a legal standpoint, a contract that is well written and contains clear and unambiguous deal terms is off to a good start. Just make sure to use an entertainment attorney that understands these terms and can fight for you during contract negotiations.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Think twice about using an attorney the label directs you to!
It is important to point out again that team work makes the dream work. The progression in an artist’s professional career is to attract a label that provides all the necessary elements to get you to the next level. Having said all this, focus on making the best music you can and building your fan base. It all begins and ends with GREAT music. If you’re making waves, labels will come to you, and that’s a much better position to be in anyway.