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The music business is one of the toughest and most competitive industries out there. You have to be thoroughly prepared before you decide to start a label since you’ll be competing with giants with lots of weight in the industry. They will have a bigger war chest than yours, their acts will get more attention, and you will not be able to get the same level of access they do.
But if you manage to avoid some of the major mistakes so many labels commit when they start out, you’ll have a chance to make a space for yourself. Here are some of the most common mistakes new music labels make and how to avoid them.
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Going into a Genre of Music They Don’t Understand
One of the biggest mistakes you could make when starting a label is entering a genre that you don’t fully understand. You should only start a label if you know the music inside and out and are a genuine fan. If you’re not, you’ll have a hard time staying in touch with what’s going on and understanding trends. You might also need to bring lots of people into your team to help you make decisions, and you’ll have less control.
Not Doing the Legwork
It’s really easy to get excited about an act and assume that their talent will sell itself. But there is so much that goes into building a successful music act. Most of it is marketing, and the rest of it is getting this act in front of the right people. This means you’ll have to be able to build a solid marketing plan with actionable steps and key performance indicators before you launch an artist.
Building an audience doesn’t happen overnight and demands a lot of work. You will need to knock on doors and be ready for many of them to close in your face. This also means you will need to do the necessary legwork to book gigs in small venues and as supporting acts. You’ll also have to be consistent on social media and take care of your core audience.
This is all hard work, and something many people going into the music industry aren’t prepared for. You will have to be ready to get down and dirty and fight for your artists if you want to make it in this business.
Not Investing in Artists’ Development
Failing an artist in their development is one of the biggest mistakes you can make as a record label. Too many labels make the mistake of either trusting the artist too much or not being involved enough. Giving your artists artistic license is one thing, but you also have to provide coaching and be ready to let them know if they’re lacking in certain areas. They might be great as studio artists but have very bad live performances, for instance. And, at the end of the day, it’s impossible to be successful long-term in the music business if you don’t have a good live show.
This is why you will need to start looking for resources to help your artists develop from the earliest stage. One of the things you will have to invest in is a quality studio where they’ll be able to work on their craft and their performance.
Rehearsal studios allow bands to practice their live shows in a private environment and work on ideas with their team. If you want to know where to find great rehearsal rooms, visit https://pirate.com/en/rehearsal-studios/. They have some of the best music rehearsal rooms you’ll find anywhere. Plus, they’re accessible and very affordable. This makes them the perfect place to help an artist improve on their presence and technique on stage.
Many music labels have been destroyed because certain acts were getting preferential treatment. When you favor certain artists over others, you end up putting all of your faith in that artist. If that artist fails, all other artists on your label will fail as well, and you will become a failing label. Moreover, favoritism creates a bad atmosphere for creating. Artists want to feel secure in their situation, and when they’re not, their art suffers. Word will also start spreading about how your label treats artists and you might have trouble finding people who will want to sign with you.
Putting Too Much Pressure on Artists
Another common issue with new music labels is putting too much pressure on artists. Artists need to be in the right space to create. Pressuring them to produce work will only result in uninspired work that will not be well-received by the public. This is another reason why you should be invested in many of your acts at once. This will prevent you from being too dependent on one act to keep the lights on.
Making Bad Contracts
As a new music label, you don’t want to be known for giving out bad contracts. Your goal is to attract as much top talent as you can, and your reputation as a label will be extremely important. You also want to avoid disputes with your artists and get their loyalty. Giving out bad contracts is bad business in the long term. You might be able to get over with one of your acts, but word will start spreading and it will paint your brand in a negative light.
Not Providing Their Musical Acts with Moral Support
So many artists end up self-destructing after they get their first big break. In many cases, it’s because they don’t have a support system. As a label, you can decide to have a hands-off approach and not get involved in your artists’ personal lives. But if you truly care about your artists and your business, you will need to go a step further.
If you notice that one of your artists has mental health issues or issues with substance abuse, make sure that they have resources available to them. Health and wellness are important in the music business, too. Artists who are well-adjusted make better art and tend to have longer, more fruitful careers. So you need to invest in their mental health and make sure you constantly check up on them.
Trying to Do Everything Themselves
New labels tend to try to do as much as they can themselves so they can cut costs. While this can work in some cases, there are some times when labels are holding themselves back and end up spending more money as a result. It’s a bad idea for a new label to try to handle accounting on their own. Even promotion, especially on social media, should be performed by a third party at the beginning. It’s better to pay a team that has been there and done that and understands your space rather than doing it yourself. You’ll get greater returns and will be able to concentrate on working on what matters the most.
Not Having Control over Expenses
Overspending is what ends up sinking a good portion of new music labels. They either overspend on production, over-extend their tours, or overestimate their audience. This is again why you need to find an accountant as soon as possible to help you avoid financial pitfalls.
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Finally: Navigating the Music Business with Ease
These are only some of the mistakes you will need to avoid as a budding record label. It is possible to be successful with music, but it’s a tricky business. Therefore, get as much information about it as possible before you start the process of building your brand.
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