Label or indipendent publishing?

Discussion in 'Internet for Musician' started by Highdom, Sep 4, 2018.

  1. Highdom

    Highdom Ultrasonic

    Oct 16, 2016
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    Our situation:
    Me and my "team" are faced with a difficult choice. I state that we aren't professional artists. One of us works in a national radio and tour often across the country in small festivals and clubs.
    We've made a track. It's a modern house record, very catchy, with English lyrics from a female singer. We think it could interest even the mainstream audience, and not just underground djs and producers.
    The budget for this project is 500$. The track is home-mixed, but it sounds already ok. Mastering (single stem) requires 60$ in a friend's professional studio. So we have 440 bucks to invest.
    (Unluckily I can't just let you listen to it yet:dunno: Hope this won't mind).

    If you were us, you have to choose between:
    1) Contact a nice house/dance label to publish this record.
    In this way we need professional mixing if we want good change to be considered from nice labels, it'll cost 350 bucks. With the rest, we can sponsor the track, about 100$ of sponsoring over label's promotions (depending on the contract). The major issue is that we haven't direct contacts to major labels.
    2) Publish it as independent artists and hope to be contacted from labels after. (of course we will publish it in main stores and streaming services)
    We can save money from professional studio mixing (or looking for something more cheaper) and invest in sponsoring the track in socials/radios, or/and maybe making a small "video trailer".

    Which one will you do?:bleh:
    It may be an hard question...thanks
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  3. BaSsDuDe

    BaSsDuDe Guest


    I have tagged Tony. He knows more about this than most people could learn in a lifetime. My suggestion is that you message him privately. He has a wealth of knowledge and knows the legal and logistical aspects of how the industry that was has become what it is today and what "might" serve you best. There is an opinion that there is no industry anymore and there is merit in that opinion, but to best understand what you want to do, it is always best to ask someone that fully understands the "ins and outs" of anything you might consider venturing into.
  4. fraifikmushi

    fraifikmushi Guest

    @BaSsDuDe it strongly depends on the genre you're in.
    In electronic music (for the sake of the argument: music whose main target market are djs), there is no way around an well established label if you haven't made a name for yourself already. The number of electronic artists who are successful on bandcamp is zero to none.
    It's because there is a very communal feeling surrounding labels. If you're on an established label's roster, it's like a certificate of quality. People will listen to you because you're on this or that label. It's not like in pop music, where a label is just a means for publishing and publicity. An electronic music label is some kind of additional genre tag that will bring you on people's radar. Maybe like in Jazz: if you made it onto the blue note roster, you'll have people's attention.
    You won't get on curated platforms likle beatport without a label, and most certainly not in the featured releases list, and that's the single most important factor for sales in electronic music. Streaming is irrelevant, and so is itunes.
    It's possible to do it without a label, but you have to have a very well connected publicist who can get you the attention a label would give you. And that's way above your budget.

    If your project is on the border to pop music, it's a whole different story.
    Budi Voogt has said anything there is to say on this topic, and this in great detail:

    Getting on blogs and hypemachine
    Publicists, pluggers and DJ Promo
    Music Publishers, Synch & Licensing
    Getting More Fans: The Artist Guide for Social Media
    Mastering Music PR: SoundCloud Marketing, Repost Trading & Promo Channels
    Understanding the Music Industry: Record Labels, A&Rs, Distribution, Pluggers and PR
    The Truth About Record Deals (And How To Negotiate Them)
    Follow to download gates: the #1 strategy for accelerating follower growth (a comparison)
    It's a little dated, soundcloud doesn't have the same meaning anymore. Also, he leaves out spotify playlists, which is one key element to commercial success these days.

    Make sure to check

    and please please please do a little research yourself for once :)
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  5. TonyG

    TonyG Guest

    @BaSsDuDe Thanks for your trust confidence in my abilities to help @Highdom with the dilemma he or she is facing. With that said, there is a couple of things that I want to clarify for the benefit of the OP and any other member of this Forum. Firstly, I would not provide legal advice by PM because that is the type of scenario that gives rise to an attorney - client relationship. I gladly will answer general questions posted in the open Forum but keep in mind that advice rendered on chat room is nowhere near as good as what you’d receive from hiring a lawyer. And any advice is only as good as the facts that have been offered. Now, to the @Highdom "situation".
    The OP situation is similar to those of 99% of new artists and the question posited is nothing short of asking others " How should I raise my kid?" The answer is not as simple as choosing (1) or (2). Either choice comes with pros and cons.
    Regardless of the choice you make, your music is the essential part of the puzzle. According to you, your song is not ready. Therefore, before contacting any label or publishing it yourself you need to make sure that your track sounds as good as it possibly can.
    A couple of decades ago labels didn't expect to hear professional recording quality on demos. With the proliferation of sophisticated home studios that's all changed. For that purpose, this Forum is an excellent starting point. You can upload the track here and ask us for feedback. Likewise you can ask us for help mixing it and mastering it. Asking never hurts, and you may end up with the piece of advice or help that turns everything around for you. Our members are known for going out of their ways to help others. (I am recovering from a crash, otherwise I would gladly mix it and master it for you at no cost. If you are willing to wait, I can do it 2 months from now).
  6. Highdom

    Highdom Ultrasonic

    Oct 16, 2016
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    Thanks for all replies and links.
    Ok, @fraifikmushi and @TonyG you said the best thing is to get on a revelant label but the only way to do this is to be already "interesting and a secure investment" for these labels in other words...
    But how to raise this level? Publishing tracks on minor labels or releasing as indipendent? No way to get into beatport as indipendent? I've seen some distributors like DittoMusic do it even on private releases, doesn't it?
    How much cash around beatport charts? How many download to enter in top 100 house for example you think? Always been curious!
  7. fraifikmushi

    fraifikmushi Guest

    Deliver high quality product constantly over time and at the same time work constantly to grow and engage with your audience. See budi for reference. It's all there.
    Yes, it's possible. It's just that nobody will care. I've never seen any selfpublished records in the beatport charts.
    There is no way to tell exactly. Depends on the time, and on the competition i.e. the current release landscape. If you have to compete against Armand van Helden, Daft Punk and Eric Morillo, you'd be hard pressed to come even close.
    450 sales/week would get you in the tech-house top10, that's my experience. But house main charts? Maybe ten times that? Maybe really (privately) share with us for a more realistic opinion?
  8. TonyG

    TonyG Guest

    Just to clarify, I never said to get on a relevant label. My advice was: "before contacting any label or publishing it yourself you need to make sure that your track sounds as good as it possibly can." By your own words, your track is not ready as it is so making it "ready" should be your number one priority.:guru:
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  9. Napoleon Van Hardridge

    Napoleon Van Hardridge Newbie

    Oct 26, 2018
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    My STRONG words of ADVICE -- stay away from Record Labels and do everything independently, Mastering est. Audio, software has came along way and a honest sound engineer who has nothing to lose would surely agree. There are tutorials that teaches everything you need to know to Mastering your own music, making the Home Studio Musician a threat to MAJOR record labels. Home Studios are religiously frowned upon, such as, Homeschooling because, they see the lost of power over the entire world... Music, being the greatest MIND PROGRAMER of all... It can calm the savage beast or cause one, to behave as such; just to keep, the entire world in utter chaos, retaining POWER -- performers will continue dying in plane crashes and those who are professional junkies will mistrely O.D. I come from along line of renowned musical performers here in America who have cut all ties to family... Performers don't live to be old in America, causing the shutdown of the Rap and R&B industry -- you won't see any new performers unless their from American Idol or Will Smith son or..? Hell, even ROCK groups has cease to exist... So, you want to live a long prosperous LIFE -- STICK with that Home - studio and slow down enough to READ -- how to Master, your STUFF! Don't fly on planes: letting everyone know that you are drug free and you will never commit suicide.
    They say, " Master your recordings and get with a BIG record label ", when in fact, they are the only ones who knows and cares when your bass is conflicting with your drums... Taking advice from a Doc. who gets PAID when you're SICK..! Just, as long as, your music sounds good enough to enjoy and move the HUMAN SOUL -- is alllll is NEEDED.
    Last edited: Oct 28, 2018
  10. WeRAllFosterChildren

    WeRAllFosterChildren Producer

    Sep 17, 2018
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    Why hope to be contacted by other labels after you already succeed in getting it out there yourself?

    IMO "labels" are dinosaurs from the olde days when people needed expensive specialized equipment like record cutters and/or radio towers to get their music heard. Since the internet, labels are completely obsolete, so maybe they are zombie-dinosaurs, hoping to feast upon the brains of gullible artists.
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