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With Right Steps and Attitude, You Can Start Your Own Record Label
Starting your own record label is a dream for any music lover who has ever wanted to be on the inside of the business. There are those people out there who look at the current way the music industry is run and want to do it better, cater to the artist more and put the music above all else. This is why most people who have started their own label first set out to do it. While it can be a difficult and long process, it is possible to start your own independent record label and have just as much success as the big corporate labels do. You can also find and nurture just as many talented artists as the big guys do. With dedication, vision and the motivation to get your business off the ground, you can be up and running before you know it.
As with starting any business, you need to do a lot of research and planning. There are many independent record labels out there already. In fact, there are thousands and they are successful. They are making it work with the big corporate backers. You need to research these success stories and find common goals and ideas. You will probably realize they started with the same intent and with the same resources you have available. The more research you do on successful small record labels, the more you will learn about the music business in general.
Before you can start scouting out talent or distributing CD’s, you will need to decide on a business name. This can be something you either spend a long time contemplating or it can literally just pop into your head. Either way, you need to remember it will be the name which you are identified with. It will also be the name the bands you sign will be associated with. If it fits the genre of music, you may find that helpful in the long run. You will have to visit your local state registrar of deeds to register your name and ensure there are no other registered businesses with your name. If there are, they will find them quickly and you will have to choose a new one.
Next, as with other business ventures, you need to establish whether you will legally be a sole proprietor, a partnership or a corporation. This is done for tax and liability purposes. If you go with sole proprietor as your legal identification, you personally will be responsible for all risks, liabilities and profits. Being a corporation will make your business a legal entity on its own, giving you some personal protection. This will also allow you to get a tax ID number. Your local IRS office will guide you through this step.
You will have to acquire a business license to start conducting operations from somewhere. Make sure your chosen location fits the proper zoning codes for the area.
You can get a retail license which will allow you to legally start selling CD’s from the location. You will have to collect state taxes for every sale. These are usually filed each month with the State Department of Revenue.
Once you have taken special care to ensure all legal bases are covered, the fun part starts. You will have to invest in an actual space, which involves renting or leasing equipment. This can mean everything from computers, office supplies, to recording equipment. This coupled with logo promotion will take time and money. Getting investors to fund the capital is also one necessary aspect to get secured before you can really begin your business.
Once these stars are aligned and you feel you have a legitimate business to promote, look for talent. This can mean scouting out areas near and far to find the talent you wish to promote and be associated with. You can visit the local music scenes, mingle with your favorite bands, talk with their representatives, and talk with local record store owners and music journalists in the area. The possibilities for places and means to locate new talent are endless.
Once you have the interest of bands, you will probably have to play many roles while you become an established label. You may find yourself being the main promoter, graphic artist, manager, webmaster, radio contact person and so on. Starting your own label to see the bands you love flourish and succeed will be a lot of hard work, but if you believe in your labels mission and your bands do too, then it will be worth the effort.