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Our Label "could we distribute your music"?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by audiokid, Sep 9, 2001.

  1. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    We all know we can write and produce mp3 music so what's next?
    For those that are interested in what RO could make happen, here is one company that I've been following for a few years and they aren't going away. They have awesome things planned for the pro audio world. They are equiped with the technology RO could use.

    If we are plannning to become a label, here are some questions we need to think about.

    • How will we market your music?
    • what format should we use to distribute your music?
    • Who will handle the e-commerce ?
    • How do we get the music out to the world?
    • speed of music downloads
    • online artwork and presentation
    • copyrights
    • encoding
    • production credits
    • digital watermarks

    Read this link and maybe more of the site.It it for real? All those going to AES, stop by the Liquid Audio Booth and discuss business with this company. Dig deeper into the business side of this business and where it's going. Once you see how they work, our possibilities might start looking pretty sweet. You'll soon begin to realize what a place like RO could have in the indie world.

    What I'm hopping for with this post is to stimulate people and encourage more brain storming on this subject.
     
  2. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    One huge problem I had with Liquid is that, at least last year, they didn't support the Mac with their encoder and had a very negative attitude towards any kind of co-operation with digidesign. (Liquid's president was the founder of Dyaxis) While we all have love/hate relationships with digi., the fact remains that most of us in music use it and don't really want to start flying a windoze box any sooner than necessary. I hope everybody bugs them about Mac support.

    Another issue is that the majors have created their own AAC secure file delivery system (that's almost up and running) which makes the future of Liquid a bit more up in the air.
     
  3. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Hi Bob, dead on there, I use a mac and don't plan on switching.

    Liquid was supporting digi or vise versa as you most likely remember around 98 but something happened. If something better comes along then we move that direction. Main thing is that this trend is coming and we can take advantage of it without the HUGE set up costs of online distrubution and e-commerce. We use whom ever has the system to stream our music. This worries me even more because if the majors are trying to control the distribution e-players and download sites the more reason to see an indie download player happen. DAWs and the indie world ver. majors and control aught to be interesting. Kind of like mp3 and napster. Not sure what I'm saying but it's going to be hard to control it all.

    Liquid does support Mac. You use their stand alone Mac encoder or pay them to encode it for you. All you need is an aiff file or CD for that matter and send it to them or you buy the label package and encoder and import the aiff into the encoder and liquify it.

    Still, I'm not trying to sell anyone on liquid. I just know this kind of technology is coming and it's coming soon. Someone will take care of the store front for our label. That's all this post was about. There are approx. 1000 online retail outlets supporting LA. I'm interested in what microsoft is planning. Seems LA and microsoft are working together on this.

    Again, let them worry about it, all we need to think about is markets and who to sign. As RO becomes a label of quality music the doors will open to who needs music and we will also find markets to promote our artists.
     
  4. Bob Olhsson

    Bob Olhsson Distinguished Member

    The majors are trying to standardize which is critical for all of us. They just don't want a single gatekeeper ISP like Liquid. Do we?

    Certainly Liquid has a lot to offer small labels but so do other paid download services and security systems.
     
  5. Aaron-Carey

    Aaron-Carey Active Member

    well we also dont want a single gateway fx plugin architecture like digi.
    Any hope of seeing focusrite plugs on dx or vst/ I doubt it.
     
  6. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Originally posted by Aaron Carey:
    Any hope of seeing focusrite plugs on dx or vst/

    Hehe, you ain't missin much there.
     
  7. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    as for "artists to be on label"...idea:

    we have alot of people who record music, and some who know what is good. some who even make it!

    so we could have: 1. a moderators [and respected friends of moderators] review of submissions of music.
    2. a community voting system: i.e. people post their mp3's or LA or whatever. then there is, on this "voting page" a chance for anyone to give $*^t a listen when they want. and you can click a like it button if you do. after getting to a certain "like it" level, it gets on the label.

    also, there could be "feedback" mini forums for each entry, just in case anyone wants to offer suggestions on how to make the music/arrangement/mix/etc better. if we could get some ex-label people kicking around, we could kick the ass of a service like taxi in terms of feedback.

    3. combination of 1 & 2, weighing votes by more established people more...etc.

    we'd have to figgure out ways to work the money thing. that is a pain...but RO could seriously help fund this program w/o dicking the artist on royalties.

    furthermore [here's where it really rocks to have a big ass commited community]: when an internet label release gets enough downloads [or however the monetary thing works], RO could get it pressed to CD, distrubuited by something like mordom, caroline distro, etc. with the money made from the sales online.

    in exchange of RO taking care of the CD pressing and distro [which, lets face it, is the real record biz, despite the coolness of the internet], RO could be paid a higher royalty rate to make up for the extra effort. we would still be able to do well by the artists, i figgure, and they would even have a bit of a "grace period" to see if their $*^t will be a hit online before they blow alot on a pressing. moreover, they can "tweak" their record pre-pressing thanks to internet [and RO] feedback!

    and here's the kicker: RO has ALOT of members in different markets, and we could probably do a pretty good job doing grass roots promo; posters in local shops everywhere pre-cd-release, or for upcoming tours for RO acts. just the networking explosion we have going [people who know people wo do music] is killer.

    majors do 2 things: steal yr money to record $*^t [oooo! advance!], while ^#$%ing the engineers/producers as much as possible, and 2. promoting the band so stuff moves off the shelves. they often don't do this, because it costs them to much.

    it would cost us less thanks to the wide network.

    also, to be written into the "signing deal" with bands/musicians RO adopts, we can have a fixed rate "buyout" of the deal if picked up by another label. that way, if we propel a band to super-stardom, it goes back to feed our evil empire.

    please keep this post going, cause this is a WAY cool idea. also, lets us do a lil more spec work with some hope of anyone hearing it.

    thoughts?

    ok gang, lets record the $*^t to make the bucks.

    i think i come up w/ cool ideas @ 2:30 am!

    --owen
     
  8. Henchman

    Henchman Active Member

    Originally posted by owen muir:
    as for "artists to be on label"...idea:

    also, to be written into the "signing deal" with bands/musicians RO adopts, we can have a fixed rate "buyout" of the deal if picked up by another label. that way, if we propel a band to super-stardom, it goes back to feed our evil empire.

    --owen


    I don't fully agree with the fixed rate buyout. I think you should always retain some part of the back-end of the one specific album. I currently do this with all bands I work with. Since most of them have pretty pathetic budgets, I only do stuff if I get points as well as a small % of publishing. I feel I am investing into a product. So it's like buying stock. As a shareholder, you don't get capped at how much you can make if it goes big. Otherwise why would you invest in a risky projecyt like a band?.

    I refuse to put myself in a position where everybody involved, except me, makes a huge pile of dough from my work.
     
  9. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Owen, you are sweet to the ears and right on track! I couldn't have said it better. Thank you for spending the time to write this most excellent thread.

    please keep it coming
     
  10. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    thought on buyout rate:
    it would be kinda like the deal nirvana cut w/sub pop. mind you, that one deal [sub pop getting a share of the royalties of nevermind [at least] and maybe other records, +$50k @ signing kept sub pop afloat for a long time. i just suggest it as fixed so EVERYONE knows what they are getting into when they sign on to RO's label, even if they plan on jumping ship.

    basicly, this is to insure we get paid. not flat rate--fixed rate. 4 points or what ever. but standard, so we don't have to fight about it. put it in the contract for everyone right up front.

    2. other reason why this is really cool for us engineers who work w/ unsigned acts: "and yea, i have this label i work with, i could get the word out w/them." what band won't record w/THAT engineer. the engineer/producer could maybe even get a lil "bonus" for bringing successful music to us. just to encourage them to work with us--not to mentioning to get more members! anyway, i've wanted to be able to get some kind of backing for clients of mine for a while now, and they would wet themselves. all would be good in rockville.

    rock on.
    --owen
     
  11. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Cool stuff...

    Owen - "a community voting system: i.e. people post their mp3's or LA or whatever. then there is, on this "voting page" a chance for anyone to give $*^t a listen when they want. and you can click a like it button if you do. after getting to a certain "like it" level, it gets on the label."

    I like the theory behind this, but it may present too many logistical problems to be able to run an effective label business. At one point we were discussing something similar, but run more like a one time event thing, such as a contest.

    "also, there could be "feedback" mini forums for each entry, just in case anyone wants to offer suggestions on how to make the music/arrangement/mix/etc better."

    This was also part of the "contest" idea. Each person who votes would have to give a review of each band. This also became a logistical question mark, as we could possibly have more entrants than time to review them.

    "if we could get some ex-label people kicking around"

    Hey, why not go for some currently-working-at-label kind of people? That might be a good leg up toward imprint deals, or letting an act "trade up" to a bigger label.

    "we could kick the ass of a service like taxi in terms of feedback."

    Ahem... no argument there. :)

    "combination of 1 & 2, weighing votes by more established people more...etc."

    We could toss this one around. The original idea was just to have the official RO label people voting. It would be good to include a rating system for all the members to weigh in on.

    "we'd have to figgure out ways to work the money thing. that is a pain...but RO could seriously help fund this program w/o dicking the artist on royalties."

    This also became a logistical problem. It's hard for a small label to turn a buck. When we went thru the whole thing on paper, there wasn't a lot of money left for either the label OR the artist. And growth of the label would be dependent on serious re-investment. If we re-invest, there's nothing for the artist. If we pay the artist, the label doesn't grow. If we don't grow, we can't pay the artist more. If we don't pay the artist more, nobody will want to be signed. Catch-22.

    "furthermore [here's where it really rocks to have a big ass commited community]: when an internet label release gets enough downloads [or however the monetary thing works], RO could get it pressed to CD, distrubuited by something like mordom, caroline distro, etc."

    In the grand scheme of things, pressing cd's isn't the biggest expense. It's marketing/advertising. It will be easier once we have upwards of 20k members. But even that is small scale from a marketing perspective. When we left off last time there were a couple ideas to use corporate $$$ to fund it, but hopefully we can find a way to do it that will still be on our own terms. Still up in the air on this one.

    "and here's the kicker: RO has ALOT of members in different markets, and we could probably do a pretty good job doing grass roots promo; posters in local shops everywhere pre-cd-release, or for upcoming tours for RO acts. just the networking explosion we have going [people who know people wo do music] is killer."

    This is similar to our cd-distribution idea. What would we offer to each member to do the promotion?

    "majors do 2 things: steal yr money to record $*^t [oooo! advance!], while ^#$%ing the engineers/producers as much as possible, and 2. promoting the band so stuff moves off the shelves. they often don't do this, because it costs them to much. it would cost us less thanks to the wide network."

    Majors actually do one thing... make money for their shareholders. When you think about it that way, nothing will surprise you anymore. And this again became a catch-22 for us. In order to stay in business, you have to make money. In order to make money, you have to engage in much of the same business as the majors. We didn't want to get sucked into the same vicious cycles the majors engage in. So much planning will be needed to be sure that doesn't happen. It's cool to be young and idealistic, until reality makes you old and bitter. hehe.

    "also, to be written into the "signing deal" with bands/musicians RO adopts, we can have a fixed rate "buyout" of the deal if picked up by another label. that way, if we propel a band to super-stardom, it goes back to feed our evil empire."

    Here's what would probably happen with the buyout thing... First, we would ask for a sum up front like a "finder's fee". This could be something between $20,000 and $100,000 depending on how much we had invested. If we put a lot of work into the band in the way of "artist development", we would be entitled to some kind of percentage of future material. If the label wanted to use material that we payed to have produced, whether it be physical masters or the writing of, we would be entitled to a piece of that as well. We would not be entitled to much percentage if we just found the band and sold them in the first year with the label writing all new songs.

    "please keep this post going, cause this is a WAY cool idea."

    I agree. This will be a very cool thing if we can eventually pull it off. I don't want to see us get f'ed halfway thru it tho. Long term planning is key.

    "also, lets us do a lil more spec work with some hope of anyone hearing it."

    Yes, do spec work... but the key to good spec work is knowing when to pull the plug. It's hard not to get attached to a project, even if it has major flaws. In fact, sometimes the flaws endear us even more to the project. The more time, money, and energy we sink into it, the less we want to admit it's not working. We start to feel like it's our baby and we want to do whatever we can to make it work, even if the flaws will never allow it to work. Meanwhile, there could be 2 or 3 other projects that would be easy to do and have much more potential for success, but we're so busy doing the dead end one we'll never have time to listen to them. Before we can get anyone else to hear it, it's important we train ourselves to put the producer hat on correctly and hear it ourselves.

    This is one place a RO record label can have an advantage. We can get a large number of people to comment early on for each project, and hopefully have a better chance of putting realistic assessment before our personal attachment to each spec project.

    I like the way you're thinking Owen! If we keep up the enthusiastic brainstorming I'm sure we can put something together that will turn the whole industry on its ear! (NPI)

    Maybe it's time to schedule some IRC chats?
     
  12. Henchman

    Henchman Active Member

    Well, I am just finishing an album for a band right now. And what they are looking for right now is some kind of distribution in any territory.(US, Canada,Europe). Since they are Canadian, once they have an official release distributed by a reputable company, they can apply for touring grants. As well as Video grants.

    Mark
     
  13. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    touring&video grants?

    canada is hi-larious.

    ang: i think the members doing promo not production/distro solves the "money to the artist from home burned CDs" prob.

    --owen
     
  14. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    also: big part of label expense? recording advance. none of that here--the band already paid for it.
    --o
     
  15. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    Owen, we still don't know why 4500 RO members are gonna just stop everything to go promote somebody else's band. If they're not making money from local distribution, then what do they get out of it?
     
  16. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    word. i just can't figgure out how to do an incentive program w/o being able to check up on 'em. scouts honor?

    better ideas welcomed...

    --owen
     
  17. nodell

    nodell Guest

    would it be reasonable to put a 'profit sharing' system in place? i'm wondering if we could use something like soundscan to track sales by geography. RO members would get paid a percentage based on the sales that came from the 'region' where they did the marketing/promotion. in larger areas (NY/NJ) you would probably have to split the pie among several members.

    also another idea; RO members could set up gigs for bands in their areas and would get rewarded by a percentage of the total $$ for the event. the more they promote a local show, the more they could potentially get themselves.

    also, RO members that were able to get radio airplay for the label's bands could get a small percentage as well. i guess this is all a bit like a co-op idea.

    just some thoughts.

    - neil
     
  18. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    That would be a desireable thing, but the problem comes when you have to administrate the 1000 headed beast. It might end up costing more money keeping track of everything than the profits from sales. (Soundscan ain't free.) If we could figure out a system like that which would take care of itself, that would be the way to go.
     
  19. osmuir

    osmuir Member

    well, at leastt the internet distro ain't as hard as this!

    --o
     
  20. Ang1970

    Ang1970 Well-Known Member

    I agree. IMO, the future of music will be media-less.

    In other words, you won't be buying a cd when you go into a record store. You'll be buying data. You'll wave your walkman over the platform and the music will be transmitted via infrared or some other method we haven't discovered yet. Or maybe the file will be uploaded to your Personal Data Network. Whenever you want to listen, you press the actuator on your wrist or glasses, tell the PDN what you want to hear, and your server will start streaming the audio via digital wireless to your headphones or car ster-8.1-eo.

    And then we'll... oops, getting ahead of myself, aren't I?

    I'd love to hear some more of your ideas for internet distro., marketing, and promotion.
     

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