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How to Start a Record Label

Planning to recruit artists and groups to your independent record label is equivalent to the product development process of a manufacturing business. As a record company, your products are only as good as the artists you find, unless you have the resources of a genius producer who can transform mediocre musicians and artists into gold in the recording studio. The function of recruiting artists falls under the A&R (artists and repertoire) department and here are a few ways to plan for success in this area.

Hire Experience

By bringing on a partner with a track record of success in A&R, you can shortcut most investor concerns about how you will succeed. If the individual was personally responsible for finding and securing multiple successful groups or artists in previous positions, investors need little imagination to see him or her repeating that success with your label. The challenge for you is to describe how you will adequately compensate the A&R person and ensure that your company provides the resources needed for him or her to succeed.

Pull Strategy: Soliciting Demos

Many independent record labels attempt to find talent by calling for artists to send in demo tapes of their work. If your label covers a very specific genre, this may be a successful strategy. You will have little competition for the artists who will be sending demos and will be able to quickly weed out those that don't fit your style. Otherwise, you will have to either be a faster or better talent picker than other labels trying the same method, or post your request more widely as to receive submissions from artists that aren't also submitting to other labels. It is difficult to be successful in these ways unless you have some specific advantage, so this strategy is only recommended only for niche labels who will attract specific niche artists.

Search Strategy: Rounding Up The Usual Suspects

A&R people generally develop relationships with agent, managers, and others who, through their work, get early word of talented artists on their way up. By working through referrals, especially with finder's fees to the referrers, you can create a network which does the searching for your label. An alternative is to send your A&R person to concerts in hole-in-the-wall venues to find unnoticed talent. This will be extremely time consuming and may take a long time to pay off.

The first step to starting a record label is to develop your record label business plan. Growthink provides products and services to help you develop a professional business plan and turn your dream into reality.

Finish Your Plan Today With Our Quick & Easy Template!

If you want to create your own business plan quickly and easily, we now offer a business plan template that allows you to develop a professional business plan in hours or days, not weeks or months.

Visit this link to learn more:

OR, We Can Develop Your Plan For You

Our professional business plan consultants can create your entire business plan for you. We will make sure your business plan is sound and ready for investors so you can continue to focus on running your business. Over the past decade, we have created business plans for hundreds of record labels.

To speak with a Growthink business plan consultant, call 800-506-5728 or complete the form below.


Growthink helped birth my company. They got to know both me and my vision. They helped ‘smack me upside the head’ to help make sure I was realistic, about meeting expectations. As a result, they helped craft, draft and construct the right written presentation. As a result, I got my funding.

Jeffrey Ullman
Founder & CEO
Great Expectations

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