Industry sector: Business services

Record label: Market research

Finding artists for your roster

You need to find out if you'll have access to enough talented artists to make your label a success. It is likely that you and your employees already have a good knowledge of the local music scene but if you don't, there are some obvious starting points, including:

  • local independent record shops
  • local promoters
  • recording studios and local gig venues
  • music journalists from your local newspaper
  • social networking websites with a music focus which unsigned bands and independent record labels use for promotion. These include SoundCloud, LastFM and Myspace. Bands may also use general social networking websites like Facebook and Twitter for promotion purposes, as well as maintaining their own blogs

Of course, thanks to the internet it's now much easier to connect with unsigned artists from all over the UK and not just from within your local area.

Estimating demand

It is also important that you find out whether there will be demand for the music that your artists produce, particularly if you aim to specialise in a particular genre of music. Again, you could talk to record shop owners to find out what people are buying as well as club DJs and promoters. As a small record label, you will always be looking for artists that other labels have overlooked but that will be successful with some promotion.

Why will artists choose your label

When you do find an artist that you want to sign to your label, you need to make sure that the feeling is mutual! While some artists will just be happy to be signed, others may require more persuading that yours is the best label for them. Artists may choose you because of some or all of the following:

  • you are prepared to offer a larger advance than your competitors
  • you offer a more favourable royalty split
  • you have strong ideas on how your relationship with the artist will grow and a clear goal for the future
  • your promotional and networking skills are better than your competitors'
  • you offer more artistic freedom to your artists