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#1
Saw this on Metalsucks.com:

THE 16 CARDINAL RULES FOR RUNNING A METAL RECORD LABEL IN 2011



1. Fire your entire sales staff, if you still have any. They’re quickly becoming obsolete, a floppy disk in an Internet world.

2. Accept that the CD is a dead format and plan now for a future without them. At best, CDs will end up as souvenirs for the hardest of the hardcore fans, much like vinyls are now.

3. Ditch your out-dated distribution deal with the major. Handle all physical item sales in-house through your webstore. Distro deals still have value, but it’s limited value, and that value won’t last long. Sign a new non-exclusive distribution deal for physical retail only to reap the remaining cash stream from that channel while it lasts (2-3 years max).

4. Sign up for TuneCore to get your artists tracks on iTunes, Amazon, etc. Handle all digital distribution in-house.

5. Close your office in the expensive/hip downtown locale. Get super-cheap office space in a warehouse in the exurbs or industrial urban area.

6. Sign all of your bands to 360 deals, or some variant thereof (180, 270, whatever). In order to make it in today’s world you’ve got to have merch rights. Think of it not as the record label grabbing a band’s rights, but acting as more of a manager than a proper record label.

7. Set up a robust, easy to use webstore for all of your bands’ physical product including CDs, vinyls and t-shirts. Use your office space as a storage room and handle all shipping in-house. Delegate shipping duties to interns.

8. Release albums digitally on the same day across the entire world. End of story. The Internet is global; deal with it. If a physical product release is staggered due to manufacturing, marketing or other concerns, make sure the release is available digitally everywhere whenever the first physical product hits.

9. Buy a t-shirt-printing machine. Handle all short and medium-run shirt-printing in-house. This will pay for itself in a matter of months.

10. Leave the bigger bands to the agencies, but hire an in-house booking agent to work the smaller bands to small clubs. Touring at this level is crucial for developing bands, and an agent is the most important player in today’s music industry landscape.

11. Hire someone whose sole job it is to handle the roster’s online presence (for bigger labels, hire a team). This person must have an intimate understanding of basic web technology, emerging internet trends, social network best practices and online advertising.

12. Create and manage accounts on all the major social networks for every one of your bands, for those bands who don’t already do so themselves. Delegate the day-to-day updating of these accounts to interns. Don’t waste anyone’s time designing/updating MySpace; keeping music and tour dates up-to-date there is enough, in case any fans happen to stumble through.

13. Don’t waste time and money creating .com websites for your bands. No one visits them.

14. Hire an in-house graphic designer.

15. Create exclusive, limited edition pre-order bundles.

14. Retain an in-house publicist, but don’t be averse to hiring out-of-house for certain projects.

15. Do not expect to turn a profit on a band’s first release.

16. Do not expect to make much money, period. Expect a modest living. Thems the breaks; the good old days are over.
#2
This is BS, there will still be metal fans who prefer physical copies over crappy MP3s
Quote by severed-metal
These don't sound like very good ambitions when driving...Judas Priest makes people want to go 200 mph, and Realm of Chaos is now an album for ramming shit. You are dangerous, dangerous people.

last.fm
#5
This is ridiculous.
Quote by beadhangingOne
Are you talking about those weird sphincter-spasms where it feels like there's a ghost dick in your ass for a little while and then it just disappears?
#6
He makes some good points. This is my list.

1.Get a day job
2.Start up a label as self sufficient hobby
3.Get a website,webstore and a distro of other releases you enjoy
3.Find cool bands who need someone to release them and that you like
4.Release it on tape or LP
5.Advertise on forums and email
6.Accept that buying mp3's is retarded and that people are just gunna download it anyways,people will always want physical copies as well, mp3's are lame.
7.Release stuff by more underground bands and just diy everything.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#7
Quote by Riffmast
He makes some good points. This is my list.

1.Get a day job
2.Start up a label as self sufficient hobby
3.Get a website,webstore and a distro of other releases you enjoy
3.Find cool bands who need someone to release them and that you like
4.Release it on tape or LP
5.Advertise on forums and email
6.Accept that buying mp3's is retarded and that people are just gunna download it anyways,people will always want physical copies as well, mp3's are lame.
7.Release stuff by more underground bands and just diy everything.


This seems reasonable. It would be nice to have that other side to your life and a day job.
#8
Someone with a job but no hobby/passion is a sad person in my opinion.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#9
Quote by Riffmast
Someone with a job but no hobby/passion is a sad person in my opinion.


What if your job is your hobby/passion?
#10
Quote by LucasGtrGod
What if your job is your hobby/passion?

Then you have won.

On the OP, seems like an awful lot to run in-house. Fixed costs would be massive if you're handling all printing on your own.
Quote by rg_metal
I love to utilize furniture to achieve the desired penetration.

UGH!
taste
kaygade
#11
It seems ideal to release on just tape and LP, but cds make up a large part of metal sales still...I mean grand if you're an underground label with particular type of releases, but lots of labels will still have to do cds!

Also, a good tshirt printer can cost a few grand - not a viable option. And lulz at the office part, it will more than likely be a converted garage of some sort.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#12
Quote by Stranglehold
It seems ideal to release on just tape and LP, but cds make up a large part of metal sales still...I mean grand if you're an underground label with particular type of releases, but lots of labels will still have to do cds!


Yeah, I'm pretty much a definite CD customer.
#13
Quote by jibran
Yeah, I'm pretty much a definite CD customer.


All I buy are CD's. I like my antiquated means of music consumption thank you very much!
#14
Well CD's are nice because they are small, and you can play them pretty much ****ing anywhere. Vinyl and tapes just don't have that kind of convenience. They are still badass though, and should stay in the music industry obviously.
#15
Eh, I think tapes are more portable than cds. Needs to be on hard copy whatever format anyway.
#16
Quote by LucasGtrGod
What if your job is your hobby/passion?



As SK said: You win!

And yeah nothing against cd's, i just see it as pointless these days since mp3's cover the convenience factor,so might as well buy LP's for the big artwork,better sound,etc for when your at home.Tapes are cheap which is nice, only having to blow 5 bucks on a release is never a bad thing. The idea of just having music in digital format bothers me,truth be told their are people who "love music" and haven't bought a single physical release in there life, and this is getting pretty common.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#17
Quote by Riffmast
And yeah nothing against cd's, i just see it as pointless these days since mp3's cover the convenience factor,so might as well buy LP's for the big artwork,better sound,etc for when your at home.Tapes are cheap which is nice, only having to blow 5 bucks on a release is never a bad thing. The idea of just having music in digital format bothers me,truth be told their are people who "love music" and haven't bought a single physical release in there life, and this is getting pretty common.

The truth is that CD's are still more convenient than LP's and the files are better quality than the MP3's you download. You can listen to them in the car, and practically at any place since everyone has a CD player. Plus they're a lot cheaper in the end and have a wider selection. But yeah, it's lame how meaningless some people consider physical copies these days.

Also, not wanting to be a party pooper here, but if your hobby/passion is also your job... well, I'm just gonna say this: a hobby is something you don't have to do, but a job is. You can probably see what might happen to your hobby in this case.
#18
Yeah that is true(the job/hobby thing).That is why i decided to not go to music school. I just don't see the difference as that big of a deal in comparison to lp or tape.Everyone can plug in an ipod these days as well.Tapes are cheaper no matter what, I've never seen a full length cd for 5 bucks. Anything under 10 for a tape is a collectors item.I think Black Witchery had it right for the future of music "Limited copies on only analog" make it more difficult so only the true fans will buy it and stop treating music as a business.This way no one is expecting money from music, and they will just create the music they want,not what Century Media thinks will sell well.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#19
There are talks about the days of the full-length album are coming to an end. The focus on singles is constantly increasing and with all this mp3-buying, people are just buying the "hits". I can definitely see it more convenient and profitable for a lot of acts to just release EP's in the future, and even though I don't see this happening with metal, I fear what the labels' stand will be and if it will become more difficult to be allowed full-length releases.
Quote by rg_metal
I love to utilize furniture to achieve the desired penetration.

UGH!
taste
kaygade
#20
For major labels yes, but real muscians will just gravitate towards smaller labels. And i mean other than for making merch and distributing it what do you need lables for? My buddy talked to a band signed on Metal Blade and they don't even get money to help them tour.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#21
Quote by Senor Kristian
There are talks about the days of the full-length album are coming to an end. The focus on singles is constantly increasing and with all this mp3-buying, people are just buying the "hits".
Well it only makes sense. If people don't give any value to the physical copy, it's only a logical step that they don't consider an album as an album, but as a bunch of songs, some of them good, some not. So why would they buy the songs they won't listen to anyways?

In fact when I think about some of my friends, who are into more mainstream stuff, talk about music, I can hardly imagine them asking: "What's the name of that song, it's on this or this album?" They listen to the music but they have no f***ing clue what album it's from. It's kind of absurd now that I think about it.
#22
So let them have their Steve Aoki and Rhianna singles, in the meantime we can all listen to old King Crimson records and laugh at how false they are.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#23
Quote by Sanitarium91

Also, not wanting to be a party pooper here, but if your hobby/passion is also your job... well, I'm just gonna say this: a hobby is something you don't have to do, but a job is. You can probably see what might happen to your hobby in this case.


Okay then, lets rephrase it. Paid hobby.
#24
I have a 17 year old daughter who listens to most of the crap that passes for metal these days. I don't think that she actually owns a single CD. Her and her friends all pass around mp3s like we used to pass around tapes. The physical copy of an album holds absolutely no value to her. She listens to stuff she gets and just deletes what she doesn't like. We can call it fake but that is the reality of this generation. A record label is a business. I personally still love vinyl, but in todays market its just money wasted. In order to make money the label have to have their hands in the bands tour and merchandise money.

Remember that only 50 years ago singles were the norm. Many bands didn't produce LPs. I think we are seeing music revert back to that trend.
#25
Quote by Senor Kristian
There are talks about the days of the full-length album are coming to an end. The focus on singles is constantly increasing and with all this mp3-buying, people are just buying the "hits". I can definitely see it more convenient and profitable for a lot of acts to just release EP's in the future, and even though I don't see this happening with metal, I fear what the labels' stand will be and if it will become more difficult to be allowed full-length releases.

This may very well be the future of the music industry.

I suspect major record labels will eventually just implode. Independent and underground labels will always maintain themselves out of sheer passion and what not. Most Metal fans want full length albums. Even Fenriz still rants about how stupid EPs and singles are. Worst case scenario is that Metal bands will be forced to self distribute, mainly through shows or online with lossless audio codecs.
#26
I like eps and split 7''s, always cool to hear some new material from bands that don't quite have enough material for a full-length. Its great to see underground distros thriving, even here when big shops like HMV and Virgin are really struggling. You nailed it by mentioning the passion, it's really what keeps the things alive.

Dont get me wrong, there's nothing wrong with electronic music format - I mean, I probably listen to my mp3 player more than my turntable, but I just personally couldnt buy an album online, seems a bit pointlesss - but thats just me.

The important thing is stocking a particular label or niche sound though - I have different distros for different types of metal, and rightly so. The luxury of having 5 metal labels combined into one shop over here, haha. I try my best to support Irish distros, but only really buy underground stuff from them. If there's a Priest album on cdwow for a fiver, Im gonna buy it from there! I dont give a shite though, as I support the distros regularly anyway.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#28
Quote by Stranglehold
I like eps and split 7''s, always cool to hear some new material from bands that don't quite have enough material for a full-length.

Demos and split albums are kosher in my book.

The important thing is stocking a particular label or niche sound though

Yeah, this appears to be one of the only strategies that is surviving.
#29
Also, Ive heard some flak for reissue labels like Svart, The Crypt, and Buried By Time And Dust, saying 'oh its guaranteed money reissuing obscure classics'....so what!? They're albums that metal fans want to get on wax, and the label do a great job, and make money to stay afloat. Win win all round.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#31
Quote by Riffmast
He makes some good points. This is my list.

1.Get a day job
2.Start up a label as self sufficient hobby
3.Get a website,webstore and a distro of other releases you enjoy
3.Find cool bands who need someone to release them and that you like
4.Release it on tape or LP
5.Advertise on forums and email
6.Accept that buying mp3's is retarded and that people are just gunna download it anyways,people will always want physical copies as well, mp3's are lame.
7.Release stuff by more underground bands and just diy everything.


This is essentially my view on it too, DIY all the way. The idea of making big money off underground metal actually makes me laugh, 95% of underground bands have day jobs to live off so why should a label be any different?
#32
Ever try getting lunch off to go the post office? Headwrecking

Ah to be fair though, it is different - a distro can get orders at any time of day, whereas a band practices whenever it suits all the members, you know?

Most of the bigger distros like HHR, and that have labels attached are full-time ones. No idea how yer man from NWN has a job and distro, it must be insane. With a big distro and label, one could live off it, I'd say (not comfortably, but sufficiently)
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
Last edited by Stranglehold at Jun 14, 2011,
#33
It probably takes years and years before you can actually live off of it though.Only big guys like Osmose,HHR,Peaceville do. And then you have to corporate side like Century Media,Nuclear Blast and Relapse(starting to get there imo). And yeah they make money, but they also release allot of garbage.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#34
I could make money off a label if I charged 25 pounds for Autopsy vinyls too
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#35
Yeah Europe is ****ing expensive. My last Osmose order was 5 lp's and a shirt and cost me almost 180 Canadian dollars with shipping and everything.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

#36
That's why I don't shop from Osmose too often. Unless a shit load of money falls into my lap, I stay away from it and stick to Old Outpost, NWN! and HHR., or eBay.

Quote by Stranglehold
Most of the bigger distros like HHR, and that have labels attached are full-time ones. No idea how yer man from NWN has a job and distro, it must be insane. With a big distro and label, one could live off it, I'd say (not comfortably, but sufficiently)


Yosuke is quite possibly the best individual to ever live.
#37
Probably sleeps 4 hours a day on a mattress made of old Abigail bootlegs. The thing with osmose was that they had all this stuff no one else had at the time, and i could some amazing stuff. It was just quite pricey, and of course the post office decided that my address was'nt real and sent it back to ****ing France,I've been waiting for this for over 2 months now.
Quote by Steve08
Acid probably makes you feel less like a hedonistic raver piece of trash, too.

Last edited by Riffmast at Jun 14, 2011,
#38
The old shop in town used to have shitloads of Osmose stuff that they bought in the early 2000s, that nobody touched. Me and another lad basically cleaned the place out of Absu, Sad Ex, Revenge, and Angelcorpse cds! Pricey pricey though...

I dont mind paying good money for a label's output if the quality is there. High Roller are probably my favourite label at the moment for quality.
Quote by Ultraussie
I want to try that while playing the opening riff to "Tempting Time".

0-0-0-13-0-0-0-0-13 or something like that alalalala but It;s so heavy and off time and awesome and you could not f**k anyone to it.


Quote by Ingested
burzum IS nazi. well, varg is.
#39
Quote by Riffmast
Probably sleeps 4 hours a day on a mattress made of old Abigail bootlegs. The thing with osmose was that they had all this stuff no one else had at the time, and i could some amazing stuff. It was just quite pricey, and of course the post office decided that my address was'nt real and sent it back to ****ing France,I've been waiting for this for over 2 months now.


doesn't help that they're on strike.
#40
I've heard of that as well tech, and Riffmast knows my feelings about that, haha.

I personally think they can get fucked in the head with a blue whale penis.
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