For several months now I have gotten myself into conversations where the definition of record label needs to be defined. I usually keep this to producing and marketing of an album. However I am starting to realize that to better define Record Label 2.0 I should look at Record Label 1.0. Please if you have anything to add leave a comment or contact me. From Wikipedia we get the basic definition of “Most commonly, a record label is the company that manages brands and trademarks, coordinates the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion, and enforcement of copyright protection of sound recordings and music videos; conducts A&R; and maintains contracts with recording artists and their managers.”So lets list these and look further into each aspect to show that DIY artists are record labels.
- Manage Brands and Trademarks – DIY artists do manage their brands in fact in the 2.0 system this becomes your top priority even above that of earnings.
- Production, Manufacture – Just getting your music out there to be consumed falls into this aspect. For the Record Label 2.0 professional the biggest trick here is your strategy for release which leads to.
- Distribution – As simple as giving your Demo out to your fans at your shows. This is where your release strategy really needs to be thought through. Do you go all digital or add in a physical product, and so much more?
- Marketing and Promotion – This may be the most common problem for DIY artists. I stand behind the idea of building an army from your 3 Fs (Family, Friends, Fans).
- Copyright Protection – Well here all DIY and Record Label 2.0 folks need to follow the Record Label 1.0 form. Join up with your countries Copyright Trade Association, if there is more then one be sure to do your homework.
- A&R, Contracts – Well DIY artists make all the decisions of what goes on their cds thus are their own A&R. This does not mean you shouldn’t seek advice from professionals with more and better experience. As you move along your own DIY or Record Label 2.0 path creating your own standard contracts would be of great help. Also network or find an lawyer to look over contracts before you sign them.
Well now the basics of what a record label is shows that once you release even 1 of your songs you are for all intents and purposes a record label. You can continue along the path of being your own label and even make it official with business licenses. If you move into the arena of bringing your fans into your label actively then I would call you Record Label 2.0. Another Record label ideal that works along side the Creative Commons path is “Open Source Record Label“. I just came across this idea today so go ahead and tell us your thoughts on Open Source Label.