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How to start a label?
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 3:44 am    Post subject: How to start a label? Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

[Editor's note: moving this from Commentary and Editorial to How Tos - mosc]

There are a lot of issues about starting a label.

Here are some links. I suggest we all read this info in order to understand what starting a label really means:

Hypnos-the "how to start a label and avoid dying quickly" cheat sheet
http://www.hypnos.com/label.htm

http://www.rapcointelpro.com/Start%20A%20Record%20Label.htm

On now.. for some SOS!
This series from Sound On Sound Magazine is probably the best I have seen. ( Actually, I buy SOS monthly! Great magazine! )

http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Sep02/articles/diylabel.asp
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Oct02/articles/diylabel2.asp
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Nov02/articles/diylabel3.asp
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Dec02/articles/diylabel4.asp
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Jan03/articles/diylabel5.asp
http://www.soundonsound.com/sos/Feb03/articles/diylabel6.asp


There are a lot rights management issues involved with publishing music.
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seraph
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 6:33 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I have already checked most of the links Stein suggested on How to start a label? (or as Jeff said:"I've already spent more quality time here than anywhere else that's tried to grab my interactive attention)
The most interesting, for me, has been
http://www.hypnos.com/label.htm
Mike Griffin of Hypnos Recordings seems to know what he's talking about.
I would like to underline a few sentences I've found just perfect:

1) "a lot of artists hate the business end, and just want to make music"

2) "I've always admired labels like ECM in that they had strong identities not just visually, but also in terms of musical direction"

3) "I have wanted Hypnos to have a focus, and to be "about" something, rather than just being a company that releases a bunch of CDs"

4) "a label is not only a creative enterprise, but also a business"

I think that the majority of the people reading about this topic has, sooner or later, dreamed of becoming someone like Dave Grusin (at least I did): not only he's a successfull musician but also the owner of a successfull record label (GRP in his case that, btw, has a strong identity).
Of course it's very hard to be a jack of all trades. Contemporary musicians are alredy getting accustomed to be composers, arrangers, performers, sound engineers etc. but often "hate the business end, and just want to make music". That's exactly my case: the first time I signed a record contract I was so excited that I did not check what I was signing. I realized only months later how stupid I had been (when I talked to a lawyer!)

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Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Sun Aug 24, 2003 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Very Happy
Yes, I agree about the Hypnos link. That is why I put that one first in the list.
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djfoxyfox
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PostPosted: Sun Oct 19, 2003 9:48 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
Contemporary musicians are alredy getting accustomed to be composers, arrangers, performers, sound engineers etc. but often "hate the business end, and just want to make music". That's exactly my case: the first time I signed a record contract I was so excited that I did not check what I was signing. I realized only months later how stupid I had been (when I talked to a lawyer!)


Did you ever get out of that contract? Or are you stuck in a deal you no longer want?

BTW, I was going to give the Hypnos link when I saw this Topic, but obviously you guys beat me to it! I link to the Hypnos label link from my tips pages. There's a tips page on the web sites for all three of my radio shows: The AM/FM Show, Afterglow, and EMUSIC. They're all basically the same so I'll only show one link here:
http://soundscapes.us/~bill/amfm/tips.html

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seraph
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:15 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

djfoxyfox wrote:

Did you ever get out of that contract? Or are you stuck in a deal you no longer want?

Fortunately the effects of that contract were limited to one album. The following one:
http://www.targetmusic.it/template.php?disco=bindi_claudedebussyreverie.html
I'll tell you the story because I think is a good one:
This flute player asked me if I were interested in arranging/orchestrating some piano music by Claude Debussy for flute and synthesizers. I knew (or at least I thought I knew) that he was a professional and had contacts with the "recording industry", so I said yes. We (but mostly me, being the "computer whiz") spent months working on it. We did not want it to sound mechanical. You should see the tempo list of each song: there are more events there than notes on the other tracks! I am still very proud (after more than 10 years) of how the album sounds. It flows very nicely. The sounds may "sound" dated ( at that time I had a Roland D110, a Alesis HR16, a Yamaha TX81Z and a Yamaha TX802) but anyway...the label liked what we did. They wanted the master for free ("you know we have to cover many other costs" they told us) and we gave it to them, then we signed the infamous contract (I trusted my "buddy" thinking that he knew better than me but unfortunately he was as naive as myself). The album was printed, it received a few nice reviews, they did not promote it at all, we were not playing live to promote it and to sell copies and it ended up as a flop. The nicest thing that happened to it was that, thanks to my buddy's liaisons with the Italian National Television Network, one of the pieces was used for years as title track for a weekly broadcast.
I still receive money (homeopathic doses, if you know what I mean or as we say in Italy: I receive "crumbs") for it. For each song I receive 3/96 of its earnings Shocked translated it means that for every 100 Euro/Dollars/whatever I receive 3.125. Isn't fantastic? Isn't it a great lesson to learn?

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Politics is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex - Frank Zappa
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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:34 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

You lucky guy! It might be your fortune the label did not market the CD. You could have ended up with being in debt to the label for the rest of your life even if the CD had sold in decent numbers. If you have it around, check the contract again. You might have some very nasty clauses in there re how the label will deduct marketing/promo costs from your crumbs. An interesting fact is that most major labels might decide to spend whatever and telling you later that YOU are going to pay for it. If the CD had sold in big numbers they would probably have started to move other general expenses over to your account too. Your release might have been of the "shot in the dark" kind. They always do that. Just in case something might end up selling anyway. Shocked Shocked Shocked
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seraph
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 1:49 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

gee, Stein after reading you last post I feel a distressing sensation like that caused by the creeping of insects over one's flesh; a feeling of apprehension and horror, a sense of panic and extreme nervousness.
I am also noticing a roughness of the skin produced by erection of its papillae from fear (a.k.a. goose bumps). I need a woodoo doll now Evil or Very Mad

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 2:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

I know the feeling Shocked

Sorry to scare you like this, but this is how most major labels conduct their business. It is like being in jail.. and then in the shower you bend over for grabbing that bar of soap you lost on the floor. Then you discover a bit too late that both being in jail, being in the shower and then going for that bar of soap were all a series of very bad choices. Shocked

And that, ladies and gents.. is the music biz. Very Happy Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

seraph wrote:
gee, Stein after reading you last post I feel a distressing sensation like that caused by the creeping of insects over one's flesh; a feeling of apprehension and horror, a sense of panic and extreme nervousness.
I am also noticing a roughness of the skin produced by erection of its papillae from fear (a.k.a. goose bumps). I need a woodoo doll now Evil or Very Mad


I don't want to add to your distress, but there's probably a clause in your old contract that gives all rights for reuse of the music to the record label for all time. (You must remember to put time limits for such things into every contract.) If you ever want to rerelease that music on another label (like electro-music.com!!), you might find that you'll need the permission of your old label... and 25000% of the crumbs you'd earn from the new release! Without intending it, you've bent over for yet another bar of soap...

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elektro80
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Yup.. Bill is right! You are in for yet another exciting moment in the shower when you try to rerelease the material later. This is standard procedure. Some unlucky guys have even discovered they have genre clauses too.. but those are rarer these days.. like if you get a deal with a major label doing xmas songs.. you can never release any xmas songs on other labels.. Shocked Shocked Shocked
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:00 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

It can happen to anyone. I remember John Lennon saying in an interview something like, "Jesus, I don't even own my own music!".
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seraph
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

djfoxyfox wrote:


I don't want to add to your distress, but there's probably a clause in your old contract that gives all rights for reuse of the music to the record label for all time. (You must remember to put time limits for such things into every contract.) If you ever want to rerelease that music on another label (like electro-music.com!!), you might find that you'll need the permission of your old label... and 25000% of the crumbs you'd earn from the new release! Without intending it, you've bent over for yet another bar of soap...


you are right. that album is lost forever. I do not have a copy of the contract around but I guess there was no time limit. They have an unlimited supply of bars of soap waiting for me Confused Crying or Very sad

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:05 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Didn´t Jimi Hendrix get a very very very bad deal? And Deep Purple spent most of their early period reaching for that bar of soap??

I guess it happens by default to most artists that sign with major labels.
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:10 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

On the other hand.. do you have the midi?? You might be able to get away with redoing the same material for another label.. very few italian labels ever got around to do genre/material restrictions as such. If you have the midi files.. get the dust off and redo the same but better .. ike how you would want this to sound today?? Just shuffle the songs.. adjust the time.. etc.. and be careful to not have anything match completely the original recordings. Then you have done NEW arrangements.. NEW recordings.. see? Very Happy Very Happy Idea
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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:12 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Yup.. Bill is right! You are in for yet another exciting moment in the shower when you try to rerelease the material later.

but I still have all the sequencer files. I could rebuild the tracks using new synths/samplers/whatever plus a flute player (or me on some kind of "flutish" sound) and rerecord everything and, doing so, send some of the aforementioned bars of soap back to the sender Twisted Evil

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PostPosted: Mon Oct 20, 2003 7:17 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

Right! Very Happy
Unless the contract has some clauses regarding sequencer files and/or work files.. BUT.. if we erase this thread or move it into a secure area.. the label will have no indication that you have used the work files. call it NEW arrangements.. because you were unhappy with the dated sound on the original release.. etc etc. Idea Very Happy Very Happy Shocked Very Happy Cool
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PostPosted: Fri Oct 24, 2003 6:11 am    Post subject: Reply with quote  Mark this post and the followings unread

elektro80 wrote:
Right! Very Happy
Unless the contract has some clauses regarding sequencer files and/or work files.. BUT.. if we erase this thread or move it into a secure area.. the label will have no indication that you have used the work files. call it NEW arrangements.. because you were unhappy with the dated sound on the original release.. etc etc. Idea Very Happy Very Happy Shocked Very Happy Cool

It's not worth all the work I would have to do for many reasons:
1) the arrangement were done by me and the flute player so I would have to discuss this matter with him
2) it's not original material but "covers" and that makes this operation much less "profitable"
3) the work was done with an Atari (that I still have but........)

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