You’re Labeled The Minute You Put That CD Out!

Posted on October 30, 2010


I’m willing to bet you think I mean “categorized” …. but I do not. Let me take you back to 1973.

The band got together with some songs and convinced an A&R guy to come out and see the show. The band doesn’t have a recording, Tascam hasn’t put out the home recording device yet and people are still listening to vinyl. The band, however, is walkin’ the dog on that stage and they are GREAT!

So what happens? The label rep tells the label they are worth signing. The band is offered a check to cover the expenses of the recording, the engineering and the label takes on manufacturing and distribution of the saleable entity and distributes it through retailers who survive because the reputable label provides music to the single source outlets that music fanatics have to go to in order to own the music they want to hear. Whew!

That was 1973. This is NOW!

You are that band on that stage and you are walkin’ that dog.

So, lets review what the label did. They put up money for the recording and engineering.

Well, you and your band mates got together with your finances and you paid someone, or bought the equipment yourself, to record that final piece of audio literature that will live in infamy.

The label took the recorded master and manufactured thousands of copies of the vinyl, packaged and ready to sell.

You went to a manufacturer and bought a package that included shrink wrapped, well-designed and fully saleable items of your CD too.

The label called in their cronies and had it distributed to the single source outlets that survive by selling these items to the general public at the single source locations where they are able to own this recording ….

Wait, again, that was 1973. There are no more single source outlets for music purchase.

You’ve got digital downloads, band websites, CDBaby, iTunes, Amazon, Band Camp, indie labels, and of course, the local independent retailer who has shelf space. This is where the new world takes the turn for your financial benefit. YOU can do the distribution and marketing, the delivery and retail sales yourself.

All this time you’ve been thinking, I want to ink that label deal – my friends, the minute you put that CD out – you are the label! You might not be a name brand like EMI (oops, didn’t they just file bankruptcy?), or any of the major names you can pull out of a hat by looking at a logo, but YOU are the label, the financier, the single source and the drive to sell the items to the adoring fans.

So what now?

I have been talking about this for a number of years with people. In the golden older days of rock and roll, the concept was to get the item into every conceivable place so that the one fan could find it wherever he went to buy it. It was costly and decades later, the big labels are suffering from the expense, and the fans have to pay ridiculous prices to balance out the spending that happened over the years in order for a major label, a record store and a musician to stay alive.

Listen to what I am about to say and consider it deeply. In today’s market, as the sole financier of the work being sold – you need to have ONE place where the water streams from and point ALL the fans there to drink. This is where we realize that the power of self promotion and marketing is infinitely more valuable a skill to have than getting a record deal.

In order for you to have your CD out there, you can either spend a small fortune trying to get everyone to carry it, or spend effort trying to get people to go to the one place to buy it. It’s no longer everywhere for the one fan – it’s in one place for ALL the fans. You’ve just got to round them up.

In the end, that one place is right above your bank account and the money falls into it. Not the labels bank account, not the retailers bank account – YOUR bank account. You, the people who funded the recording, production and all that good stuff. YOU, the label.

So change the mode of desperation that which so many artists are striving to achieve. You took the time to have a great CD so a label will pick it up. You are the label now, so move on from step one.

Step two – build the online place where it’s most easily and readily available and spend the rest of your career driving people to that place with great performances, press releases, articles, viral videos and all the other techniques we discuss in our previous articles together. Remember, only the simple works.

You’ve been labeled. Wear it with pride!

Posted in: Uncategorized