As promised I really want to dump any insights and lessons learned about starting a record label, in my case PlanetoidPark, stay tuned for releases out soon.
But first, about the motivation. Why should you start one? There are many excellent record labels out there, and believe me, most of them really want good material, if they get it, they are happy. And I don’t think they are out to squeeze out every single drop of money from the starving artist. Most labels are really tight operations, and the work for the love of music, a specific domain they want to promote and cultivate.
So if you don’t have a strong motivation, just go out there and find a good list of record companies and give them quality material. Also, remember, if you start a label, reserve at least 20% or more of your spare time to work with non-music work, that’s just how it is. If you are not prepared for this, don’t start a label, there’s nothing worse than a good intent that is just put aside and it slowly dies over time.
So back to the motivation. You need have a strong motivation or two to start a label. Money? Well, I don’t think most dance or electronic music labels are exactly enterprises that result in you becoming a millionaire, sorry. Fame? Try to list record label owners… Sex? Heh?
Here’s maybe a couple of more meaningful and realistic motivations.
You really feel that the dance music is moving with the speed of a glacier, and most music you hear is a variation of something else, and you want to create a future new path with music. Good. You know of many excellent artists that you would like to cultivate and bring forth, and let them do the music side. Yep, good motivation. You think that acid house still has a chance, just needs another angle and some new blood. Yes, good. You want to promote good music for the consumers, and you have a good plan how to do it. Excellent. You want to have musical control of the sound and music produced. That’s something I suspect is a very common motivation, and it also a good one.
Such pure motivations usually help a lot concerning kick-starting a label and getting attention. Being honest through the whole process also helps. The labels, distributors, artists and everyone are very much interconnected, so if the motivation is negative — let’s say something nasty such as stealing artists from another label — the reputation is very quickly tainted. There’s enough business for everyone, so it’s better to help each other out. So just share the resources and good results will manifest.