May 29, 2017

Made With Love: Starting Your Own Record Label


When you think of the greatest, most successful, and most influential labels of all time, there’s one thing they all had in common. Regardless of the genre – rock, drum n’ bass, trance, indie, house – they were/are all pioneers. Be it Creation Records, Hyperdub, Good Looking Records, RAM Records, 4AD, Ninja Tune, or Reinforced Records, to name but a few, they all have their own sound and style.

So, if you’re thinking about starting your own record label, arguably, there's been no better time in terms of getting your music out there. Whether you’re releasing your own music or discovering and signing artists, you can start your own label right now, sign up with a digital distributor such as Xelon Entertainment or Noisehive, and have your label’s music for sale on iTunes, Amazon, etc., tomorrow.

One common piece of advice from many successful indie labels is not to over think things and just start releasing music. Many of the most successful and influential indie labels said they started without a plan. As Regis from label Downwards and Sandwell District said in Fact Mag “You make it, you release it, and all of a sudden you’re a label.” The social media channels and tools like Facebook ads available to you, you can also start a decent marketing campaign for your label’s releases with little money.

Another thing many legendary indie labels had and still have in common is the desire to release their friends’ music, and music that wasn’t otherwise would not have had a home. One great example of this today is Swedish techno label Northern Electronics, which is run by two producer-DJs Anthony Linell and Jonas Rönnberg. The label exists as an output for their own music aliases as well as their friends’ music with a very niche, distinctive style, sound, and aesthetic.

In fact, if you think of the greatest indie labels throughout time, they all have their own sound and style, from the artwork right down to the production of the music. Your vision and your taste is everything. The artists you sign, the artwork you choose, it’s all down to you and your taste. Your label and your commitment to it has to survive the passing of any trend. You may or may not have a widely successful artist or release but your commitment and dedication to quality and releasing records that connect with its listeners is the only real barometer of your label’s success.

As a label starting out, the good news is you need little or no capital at all. Additionally, it's likely you have little to no overheads. Sure, there’s PR and marketing to consider for your releases, but in combination with social media, initially, you can run a label with next to no money. Speaking of money, one common tip from almost every label is never to start a record label with the goal of being rich. Hey, it can happen with a runaway YouTube video, or huge single but, above all, you’ve got to release records because you love it. You’ve got to love the music you’re putting out.

If you want to read more about starting your own record label, check out the article by our partner Landr entitled How To Start a Record Label.

If you’re looking for more inspiration about starting a label, if you just read one article read Fact Mag’s 2012 article also called How To Start A Record Label.

Need help or advice starting a label? Get in touch with us here at Xelon Entertainment.