by Lee Morin, Esq. Here’s a recap of NARIP’s recent Indie Labels Today panel in Atlanta with Rap Coalition founder Wendy Day, Atlanta Record Label Fest founder Juliette Rowe and Afro Acid founder DJ Pierre.
1. The indie market is flooded with outrageous competition – find your tribe and harness the power of grassroots growth to identify and reach your target audience.
2. Creative control is not always a good thing for the artist. Labels hire experts for objective advice. An outside opinion and guidance can be the difference between a stellar and stagnant music career.
3. Research a label – ask what is their market share (check SoundScan, Google), read blogs, view their marketing collateral, ask which artists are on their roster and whether those artists are what you want.
4. Refine your brand as an artist or label. Branding is multi-dimensional – let the music set the tone and be consistent in all marketing collateral – social media, Website, and even your own personal style.
5. When you are ready to put yourself into the world, investors (i.e., the money) will find you. Investors want to see a business plan. Your local Small Business Administration can help you create one.
6. When seeking distribution, ask where is your market concentrated? If it is Europe, then focus distribution deals and marketing there – send copies of records to local radio stations and DJs for play.
7. Be judicious with social media. Control disclosures to elicit deep impact. Whether a single makes a splash is about timing. Be professional, post relevant material. Learn about your audience.
8. Use the Internet for education, networking, testing material, gathering data from online reviews to refine set lists, and for limited distribution. Bandcamp is your stepping stone to a larger deal.
9. Price releases just below the competition to incentivize buyers. Have a handful of artists putting out material. Expect 6-9 months before you see your first royalties income from streaming.
10. Be open to ancillary businesses outside of your comfort zone. Augmented reality applications, sponsorship, concerts, placements, production, and charity events each lead to opportunities.
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About The Author
Lee Morin is principal of MORIN Entertainment Law and sits on the Board of Directors for the National Association of Record Industry Professionals – Atlanta Chapter, since 2015. She represents chiefly independent artists, songwriters, composers, sound designers, session musicians, performers, publishers, label owners, producers, and managers in the music industry. She also works in related industries including film and games. She has led panels for NARIP Atlanta including Music in Games, Producing Hit Songs, Meet the Press, and The Business of EDM: Current & Future Opportunities. A former college radio DJ at WRAS Atlanta, 88.5FM, Lee volunteers also with music advocacy group Georgia Music Partners and is an Associate Member of The Recording Academy – Atlanta Chapter. To learn more about her practice, please visit morinentlaw.com