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Start a Record Label the New Way

Author: Alison Stolpa

Date: January 11, 2017

Reads: 9,863


Alison Stolpa is a Blogger, Publicist, and Music Writer. She is a graduate of the University of Minnesota, where she worked at the award-winning student station, Radio K, and a graduate of the University of Westminster's Music Business MA program. She has worked at Amoeba Records and Electric Fetus Records and interned at Atlantic Jaxx/Accidental Records.
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Owning and running a successful record label is the ultimate ambition for many budding music entrepreneurs. From discovering and signing artists, to putting on gigs and festivals, there are plenty of exciting possibilities to explore as a label owner.

No matter how exciting or glamorous the music industry may seem from the outside, the reality is that it can be a harsh and complicated business.

In fact, most people with an interest in forging a career within the music industry simply don’t know how to start a record label, or how to navigate the complex legal issues when it comes to signing artists.

There is, however, a new way to set up and run an independent record label, without having to deal with expensive legal fees and the miles of red tape often associated with owning your own business. It’s called Record Label in a Box.

What is Record Label in a Box?

Record Label in a Box is an innovative new service from Ditto Music, one of the world’s leading independent music distributors. It contains all the tools you need to start and run a record label, even if you have limited experience when it comes to managing a business or working as a professional within the music industry.

Launched in 2015 and described by The Times as “a one-stop shop for musicians and budding record label moguls” it has already helped establish hundreds of new independent record labels all over the world.

From registering your label as a limited company and drawing up contracts, to managing your artists, collecting royalties and applying for funding, it offers everything you need to start your career as an independent label owner. Let’s take a look at exactly what’s inside a Record Label in a Box.

"Networking is a crucial factor in making your label a success, and it’s important to get out there and make influential new contacts."

What do you get in Record Label in a Box?

Here’s a quick overview of everything contained within Ditto Music’s Record Label in a Box:

  • Official registration as a limited liability company
  • Online Contract Wizard
  • Distribution to online stores
  • IRSC codes for all your releases
  • Online Management Suite
  • Free web domain URL codes
  • Help applying for start-up loans
  • One-to-one mentoring session
  • Access to an industry networking calendar & opportunities database

Record Label in a Box

Now let’s break down exactly what each of these components does, and how they can help you establish yourself, not only as an independent record label owner but also as a brand with the ability to take advantage of multiple revenue streams and develop your business for long-term success.

Official registration as a limited company

Record Label in a Box has helped hundreds of labels get official registration as a limited company, giving them their own LLC in order to legitimize them as a business. This is an important step for any new label to take, and comes as standard for every new Record Label in a Box owner, taking all the hassle and paperwork out of the set-up process.

Online Contract Wizard

Creating legally-binding contracts to sign your artists is probably the most complex and expensive part of owning a record label. Unless you’re an expert who understands the reams and reams of legal jargon that each new contract must contain, you’ll likely have to pay out costly fees in order to hire professional Lawyers to draw up and check every single contract.

However, with Record Label in a Box, you’ll have access to a unique Online Contract Wizard, with which you can download and print off a wide range of contracts to sign your artists to the relevant deal.

The contracts available through this system include Sound Recording Licenses, 360 Deals, Merchandising Agreements, Management Agreements, Synchronization Licenses, and more. And there’s no limit on the number of official contracts you can access and implement as a Record Label in a Box owner.

Music distribution

Finding and signing emerging artists is pointless unless you can easily release their music to the world’s biggest online stores, including iTunes, Spotify, and Apple Music, amongst others.

Every Premium or Professional Record Label in a Box includes unlimited distribution to all of the major stores, while the Basic packages offer one free release, making it simple for record label owners to get their artists’ music live in the stores that matter.

IRSC codes for all your releases

International Standard Recording Codes – or ISRC codes – are used all over the world to uniquely identify sound recordings. Every track you release through your label will be automatically assigned an ISRC code as standard, so you can easily distribute your artists’ tracks to the biggest online stores and platforms.

Online Management Suite

One of the central features of each Record Label in a Box is a personalized online management suite, from which label owners can manage the artists on their roster, keep track of their current and projected sales and view their contracts.

The online management suite also provides owners with the opportunity to apply for start-up loans and book a one-to-one session with an industry expert to make sure they’re getting the most out of their label. Record Label in a Box owners can simply log into their management suite to view a comprehensive dashboard, filled with all the information they need to run their label online.

"It’s essential to set yourself targets and make a solid plan as early as possible, whether that’s scouting and signing a certain number of artists, organizing a series of showcase events, or earning money through merchandising or other revenue streams."

Web domain code

A professional website with a relevant domain name is essential to give a record label credibility and authority as a business. For each new label set up through Record Label in a Box, a code for a free web domain is included where owners can showcase their artists, add links to their latest tracks and promote any upcoming events.

One-to-one mentoring

Anyone who purchases the highest tier Professional Record Label in a Box package will also be able to book a one-to-one session with one of Ditto Music’s industry experts. This session can be used to discuss any aspect of the label, from writing and developing your business plan to tips and advice on releasing music and promoting independent artists.

Industry networking calendar

Record Label in Box’s online management suite comes with a built-in industry networking calendar, filled with local and national events, conferences and gigs. Networking is a crucial factor in making your label a success, and it’s important to get out there and make influential new contacts.

The Box

To complement these online features, you’ll also receive the box itself.

It will contain your official label certificate with your label name and the date you started, a personalized notebook with a calendar, contacts section and lined and plain paper in case inspiration hits you when you’re out and about, as well as a USB pen to hold all the important files and contracts, so you can read through them before you create them.

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How to make your label a success

While Record Label in a Box provides all the tools and services you’ll need to set up and run your new independent label, it’s ultimately down to the individual owner to make it a success.

Arguably the most important step you’ll take in setting up a new record label is writing and developing your business plan. It’s essential to set yourself targets and make a solid plan as early as possible, whether that’s scouting and signing a certain number of artists, organizing a series of showcase events, or earning money through merchandising or other revenue streams.

It’s also vital to build up a list of contacts who can help you to develop your label over time.

Owners can use their networking calendar to find nearby events where they can network with and get to know fellow music industry professionals, including Promoters, Festival Organizers, Artist Managers, tastemakers and other music biz bods who can help open new windows of opportunity – and then add the contacts into your online dashboard so you can easily find their details down the line.

Get Started Now

Record Label in a Box is available at three different tiers – Basic, Premium, and Professional – with the higher tiers offering access to a wider range of tool and services.

If you’re ready to set up your own independent label, you can find out more and purchase your Record Label in a Box here.

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