What Does A&R Stand For In The Music Business How to Start an Independent Record Label – Key Business Functions

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How to Start an Independent Record Label – Key Business Functions

Even a small independent record label must manage multiple business functions to make a profit. Some may be outsourced to some extent, but all must be managed in-house at at least a high level and call on staff with such capabilities.

Artists and Repertoire

A&R focuses on recruiting and developing musical talent signed to a label. A and R (finding artists or groups to sign and then working with them to hone their talents as a recording artist) can be separate skills entirely, unless you find an experienced A&R director with the right ear. chapter from discovery to formation.

Agreement/Law

The need for contracts between labels and artists, as well as with production houses, concert venues and distributors, complicates the legal role of record labels. Agreements must include intellectual property, division of various revenue streams, and provisions for various potential outcomes, which means that professional legal counsel is essential. Your tag question is whether it makes more sense to work with a contracting firm and at what point should that consultant be employed full-time in-house?

Product development

Whether your label prepares music for artists to record or writes for them, arranges studio time, mixes, mastered and recorded songs to create a cohesive album. CD packaging and cover art should be marketing and representative of the music within. Manufacturing must be contracted, quality assured, and distribution to stores or wholesalers arranged. Project management skills are essential for anyone managing the development process of an album from conception to release.

Marketing

Even marketing a record label is a multi-faceted activity that can include planning and executing concerts and tours for the label’s artists. These event planning skills mean hiring or contracting concert producers as needed. Marketing includes strategy, copywriting, and design. Even if all marketing execution is outsourced to expert firms or freelancers, someone within the firm must guide the overall strategy and be held accountable for its success.

Sales and Customer Service

The label must develop and maintain relationships with distributors or stores to get their CDs on the shelves. Digital sales can be the primary strategy, and driving sales on iTunes or other online sources can be a job in itself. Look for someone with experience in sales or customer relations, especially in the recording industry.

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