How musicians can piece together a record label from pieces of the Internet

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Indeed. I know at least three people running labels. Their big problem is getting vinyl pressed, as that’s getting harder and harder these days (ain’t no getting away from vinyl if’n you wanna put out techno).


Their definition of ‘working musician’ may differ somewhat from the musician’s. And almost everyone else’s.


Working-for-them musician.


these riaa types ?? they do not drink coffee ?? they do not notice the big " open mic nite every … " and ; " please be sure to see our ( kinda ) paid weekend eve music people " signs up in every coffee shop worth it’s grinder ?? perhaps they are jaded , or maybe they send ( prolly unpaid ) interns or gophers out for their coffee ?? or , perhaps , their intensely coiffed significant others serve them all the coffee they need , while wearing pearls ?? also , riaa types , thanks for impetus for a hearty belly laugh , and , as winners of " data cherry picker of the week " , you are automagically enrolled in the yearly contest ~ also , please , cds and tshirts of recent appearances are available for purchase from the table near the back with some of the plants on it , again , large signage ( videos are on youwhotoobie ~ )

Running “indie” labels has never been impossible to begin with. The means of production started getting affordable in the 80s (Tascam & Fostex 4 and later 8 track recorders). Marketing was covered with zines and flyers thanks to Kinkos making reproduction cheap and accessible. Distribution was handled by this thing some of you might have heard of, the “Post Office”.

I will contest the articles idea that of twitter as a distribution tool. Maybe marketing but twitter won’t get copies of your music to sales channels or direct to listeners.Also their idea of marketing seems confused. Topspin & Bandcamp are really sales channels and sales is quite distinct from marketing as anyone with any business experience in music or otherwise knows. Same for touring. “Who is playing in my location” is not the same as managing or executing a tour much less booking venues and getting paid.

There are fewer pressing companies but the ones that are still around are great. United Record Pressing in Nashville is probably the best choice as they know how to master and cut for bass heavy music and are indie friendly as well. FWIW vinyl is still the default in reggae as well.

To be honest, I’m interested in the understanding of musicians and small label people, those who have a horse in the race far more than the definition some SF writer who has never been involved in music at all would impose upon us.

The UK Musicians Union published some survey results a few years ago, saying that
‘working musicians’ described themselves as:
Performing artist: 58%
Teacher: 20%
Composer: 7%
Session musician: 7%
Recording musician: 3%
(Other: 6%)

And earnt money from:
Performing: 81%
Teaching: 60%
Composing: 43%
Session work: 31%
Recording: 28%
Other: 18%

So it would seem that record labels really have little impact on the average ‘working musician’.

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Possibly but it would seem that since the source is a survey of union members, it is capturing the opinions of those already entrenched in the system. I don’t say that in a bad way, but it may not capture the opinions of those most likely to take advantage of the idea of piecing together a record label from pieces of the internet as it were.

I’ll dig through that report to see if they explain how they classify the various groups but one disheartening thing at the front is the statistic of “60% of musicians report working for free in the past 12 months” and I rather doubt that means playing at the birthday party of a sibling’s child. “Over half
(56%) of the musicians surveyed earn less than £20k” doesn’t look too nice either. Interesting data nonetheless.

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