Music Production and Promotion Tips

Dance Labels: Start Your Own Independent Dance Label

Posted on | April 17, 2012 | No Comments

The music world combined with the exciting digital age has brought a DIY ethos to many an aspiring label owner. We now have most of the tools we need at our fingertips in order to create a record label, something that once upon a time would have been a pipe dream can now be turned into a reality. So how can you start your own Independent dance label?

The dance and electronica labels are the perfect platform to start your own independent label, mainly, I find, because artists are able to produce their own tracks 100%. They wont be coming to you to ask if you can fund expensive recording sessions and the like. Twin that with the fact that most music is now sold online too, and you have a low startup cost recipe for success…if its done right.

Recommended Reading ;-)  - check it out if you want a more extensive outlook, this post is as detailed as I can get without writing a book or eBook (don’t rule it out in the future).

The Business Aspect

Firstly, you should write a business plan. No, it doesn’t have to be strong enough to take to angel investors or even to a bank, but it does need to map out a plan for your success. Without a plan for your success, it most probably wont ever happen. Make a plan and stick to it. Take into account the financial and time aspects of running your label, as well as a strategy for promotion. Having a plan will help you when you get lost, and trust me, you will get lost.

Get support. Sticking with the business aspect, you should try and get support from local business agencies and support networks. In the UK we have the princes trust, businesslink and more in most regions. Talk to people who are experienced into the industry. You can’t go it alone.

Also on the business side of things, you need to decide what you’re trading as. Sole Trader (or sole proprietor if you’re in the USA), Limited company? Google these terms, they’re important when it comes to your taxes and the legalities of running a business. If you’re just starting out, you’ll probably want to choose Sole Trader, as it has the least complications in getting up and running, but do check out the options, all have pros and cons.

The Legal Stuff

Contracts are key. Fortunately you can get templates online, and a template will probably serve you well while you’re starting out, but you need an agreement in place with your artists to let you put out their music. It will outline things like royalty splits, length of the contract, duties of both parties. Important stuff.

Trademarks and Consents. You need to make sure nobody is operating under the name you’ve chosen for your label. A copyright or trademark infringement can lead to a big problem, fines and court cases even, so be careful where you’re treading. Likewise, any artwork and photos you use for artwork and the like, make sure you get signed permissions from the copyright holder to avoid any sticky situations.

Royalty Collection

In the UK we have PPL and PRS. These account for every time music is played in public, on the radio, on TV or otherwise, and collect any royalties you might be owed. In the US, this is handled by the Harry Fox agency. Sign up with these in case you suddenly get an influx of royalties.

Websites and Promotion

Okay, so there’s quite a volume of stuff listed above that’s not very fun. This is where you can start to have some fun. Firstly, you need a website. This doesn’t have to be expensive. I use 1 & 1 for all my website needs. Even if you have no knowledge of making websites at all, they offer a WYSIWYG editor to allow you to make your site from scratch. Pretty useful!

You need to make sure people know you exist. I’ve got lots of tips already on the website about this, in fact it’s what most of my writing is about, so I wont go into detail here, but you do need to embrace social networks, blogging, video and perhaps even some paid advertising to get the ball rolling.

You also need to get demos out there. No, they’re not just for people looking for labels. Get them to radio stations and most importantly for Dance music, DJs.

Selling Online

A key aspect of any modern music label. You need to distribute your music online. Check out a company called Ditto Music for their brilliant services helping you out with this. You can get it on iTunes, Spotify, We7 and Beatport without too much difficulty or money, giving you a fantastic platform to sell your music. For a dance label, the likes of Beatport and We7 are key, beatport especially, and if you can break into any of their charts you will pick up sales organically.

Of course, all of this information is just scratching the surface, but I hope it gives you a framework to start the ball rolling and take things further. If you need any more help, you can always get in touch with me. Building your recording label empire won’t be easy, but it can be hugely fulfilling. Don’t be put off by the legalities and business aspects, once they’re sorted (even outsourced) you can make big moves in the music industry.


Leave a Reply

  • Categories

  • Recent Posts