Musicians are artists in the purest form. But every successful musician that you hear is brought to your ears by a record label. They are the institutions that bridge the gap between musicians and their listeners, so they form a very important part of the music industry.
But to start an independent label, one needs more than just a love for music; you need business acumen. Despite the emphasis on the love of art, at the end of the day it is a business, and you need it to be profitable to sustain it. Here's how you can do it:
This plan will contain your sources of finance, your financial details, the size of your label, and other such things. Covering your finances in detail is a crucial step in case you plan to approach people to invest their money.
Alternately, you can even opt for a limited liability company, which is a completely different entity from the owners or partners. If you have decided to go along with a partner, make sure that you can trust him/her.
Many businesses have failed because the partners have fallen out with each other. It's probably best not to mix your personal life with your professional unless you're absolutely certain that it is the only way to go.
Name and Logo
Now that you have a partner and a business plan, you need to come up with a name and a logo for your independent record label. Choose a name that is unique and does not infringe on anyone else's rights. Also ensure that your name clearly portrays the kind of record label you are and the genre of music you wish to present.
You will need to apply for a business license. If you aim to sell your music directly to the public, you will also need a retail license. This is the most important aspect, as without such licenses your record label will be illegal. Do not forget to file the necessary tax forms.
Now that you've figured out how to start and run your own record label, remember that the most important thing is to enjoy yourself. Keep in mind that you're doing something that millions of others would love to be doing, so make the most of the opportunity for which you have worked so hard.
Remember, the music industry is very volatile, so starting and maintaining a record label successfully needs a lot of hard work. It's important to not lose hope, and persist in the pursuit of your dreams. If you have the right spirit you will sooner or later strike it big time!