Setting up a label?

Hi all.

Asking here because I just remembered DiS recently set up its own label, and you lot all know things anyway.

My (brass) band have recorded a CD. Files have just finished being mastered by the outgoing MD, and I’m doing the artwork. Turns out that’s as far as the band’s committee have thought, and now I’m getting questions I’m not qualified to answer. There’s a label who do pretty much all the brass band releases, who would probably be our go-to, but apparently someone has suggested we set up our own label. Whilst this sounds exciting, I have absolutely no idea how to go about this. Is it expensive? Would it take ages to set up? What would be involved?


Also, I think they want to whack it on iTunes/Spotify. Same questions apply for this I suppose.

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I will share some thoughts at some point but I have too much to do this morning at work to answer properly now. Will at least page @McGarnagle who did more of the looking into how to get things on iTunes/Spotify.

In terms of cost, the digital aspect is not expensive, but there are gonna be up-front costs if you want to do physical releases, which I guess using an existing label would circumvent.

I’m sure cost is too much of an issue (unless it’s a ludicrous amount) as the band’s fairly well run/has money.

Thanks, I’ll look forward to your wisdom. They seem to think I know about these things as I’m…a designer?

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*I’m not sure cost is too much of an issue…

I have nothing useful to add, but wish you the best of luck in your endeavour.

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Thank you kindly.

I have done this also and can possibly help. It would be good to get more of a sense of things e.g. Do you want digital only, or do you want to print CDs too? Do you have a reasonable audience for it to go to? As you’re a brass band, are you playing arrangements by someone else outside of the band where external rights/royalties might apply? This is probably something to look into immediately, and could cause the most issues. If you’ve arranged it all yourselves then sweet.

Rights aside, in terms of cost and time it really depends on what you want to do. If you just want to bang it on digital channels it doesn’t cost loads and doesn’t take that long, and you can get an agency to do it for you (we used to use Ditto music). But if you want to manufacture CDs as well this adds time and cost, which you would then need to recoup. If you have a decent audience at concerts then this could work well.

If there’s an existing label who do brass band releases and they have a good reputation, they’re likely to have everything in place already that you might need: distribution networks (including digital like Spotify and iTunes), PR, marketing, press contacts for securing reviews, maybe even radio play plugging and other things like that. Also, being able to access the label’s existing audience and reach people beyond who you’re able through gigs or friends.

For the amount of work it would take to set up a label from scratch and take on all the risk yourselves (plus the costs of producing discs, registering for MCPS and PRS, paying royalties, advertising etc), I guess it’s worth finding out exactly what the offer would be from the label so you can compare?

If you retain the ℗ rights to your album (you say it’s your master so I’d assume you would) then having an already established company take it on and release it would seem more attractive to me personally than setting up on your own.

I’ve started up my own label in hope to promote bands further and beyond!

Thought I’d ask up and see if had ideas/suggustions/comments on the doos and dont’s.

What are your pet peeves in regards to band promotion?

Is there any method you like/dislike in particular??

I ain’t no sissy with easily hurt feelings so the more brutally honest the better!