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What Do You Call an Artist's Own One-Man Record Label?

Discussion in 'Studio Lounge' started by Dave_D, Sep 11, 2012.

  1. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

    Hi all,

    I created a record label to serve as the business platform for my own musical projects. This is all DIY and self-serving - no A&R department and certainly no resources (or experience) to represent or manage other artists. Consequently, I cringe when I receive email and Twitter requests to submit demos or to record at my project studio. I don't want to "reject" these requests in the traditional sense - bad vibe - but merely inform these artists that my label isn't "that kind" of record label. "Dear Ms. Artist, XYZ Records is a _____ label, but thank you for asking! Let's keep in touch."

    Is there a word for this? Private label? Artist label? I was thinking "vanity label," but then discovered the history of the term on Wikipedia - it doesn't necessarily denote a closed operation, or even an indie one.

    Any info is greatly appreciated.

  2. Zilus

    Zilus Active Member

    This should be interesting!
    Maybe Non-profit label? No wait, private label sounds good to me.
  3. ZXYZ

    ZXYZ Active Member

    How about "Market" label?
  4. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

    Well, in this instance, "non-profit" is probably most accurate. :redface: That said, my wife (and the IRS) would really like me to turn a profit one day.

    Unfortunately, IMHO, "private label" suggests "private ownership" without necessarily suggesting a one-man show, like a sole proprietorship. Likewise, I'm sorry, ZXYZ, but I don't understand "market" label? Is this used elsewhere in the manner we need?

    Drat. I was really hoping there was a well-established word for this already.

    Thanks, guys!

    If we're inventing something, here's more suggestions: "Solo label?" "Band" label? "Buoy" label? "Self-production" label? Hmmm.... Maybe not.
  5. Thomas W. Bethel

    Thomas W. Bethel Well-Known Member

    How about "my record label"?
  6. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    Dave D,

    Congrats on making it through the process of setting up a label!!

    (I'm still trying to fight through the labarynth!)

    Maybe something like "fledgling private label with limited resources at this time" would be appropriate?!?!? It lets them know you're a private label, that could potentially be able to assist them in the future, etc, etc...

    I for one, would love to see you start a thread documenting the whole process of setting up the label, including the big nasty of expenses and legal rangling.

    So many folks think that all they have to do is the copyright stuff and submit stuff to an online distributor, and fail to understand the totality of having to register as publisher, etc...which leaves them up the creek sans paddle to actually track and collect their full royalties/sales.

    Please consider it!

  7. Zilus

    Zilus Active Member

    That would be great!
  8. ZXYZ

    ZXYZ Active Member

    Just a generic word, not meaning too much. I thought that's what you were looking for. Sorry, misunderstood ;]
  9. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

    all you need to do is register with ascap / bmi and the canadian one ...uhhh i forget ... senior moment. oh yeah; sesac ...

    get off my lawn!

    you still don't get paid unless you sell a lot of units. They apply an averaging system which pays the biggest earners. A lot of the revenue is primarily from airplays / use in ads. Publishing usually runs through brookers like Harry Fox.

    i'm thinkin' vanity label. (i can't say what i'm really thinking)
  10. RemyRAD

    RemyRAD Guest

    The correct term is actually Vanity. It's a vanity label. It's a label for producing your own product with. Most recordings made by most people are released by themselves. And this is referred to as a vanity release. This is the term we've always used for well over 40 years.

    Of course, just being an independent vanity label does not mean that you are not interested in the promotion and distribution and possible profit margins, from taking on outside projects on your own. Of course, along with that, it requires that you both retain entertainment attorneys. Contracts have to be negotiated and legally binding. And are you releasing under ASCAP or BMI publishing? Lots of legal stuff to be stuck with. Great if you are a lawyer, boring if you are an engineer.

    Go for it.
    Mx. Remy Ann David
  11. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

    For he record, trademark protection has been the greatest thorn in my side. Two or three times per year, I'm forced to send a C&D to some DJ who thought it'd be neato to launch a business (read, "Facebook page") without so much as a Google search for uniqueness/prior use beforehand. [Indisputable if you hold the top rank for your brand.]. They usually comply without fuss, but I hate being the bad guy. If I had it to do again, I'd choose something more bizarre.
  12. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Socan it is.

    SOCAN | music. people. connected.
  13. Dave_D

    Dave_D Active Member

    Thank you for this clarification! I was sorta hoping this was the case.but got hung up on the Wikipedia examples - sounded like vanity labels were a perk afforded to the Madonnas and Eminems of the world and operated by them to nurture new talent. I'm not wild about the narcissistic connotation, but it is intuitive. "Vanity label" it is!
  14. Kurt Foster

    Kurt Foster Distinguished Member

  15. audiokid

    audiokid Staff

    Thanks, looking around there now :)
  16. MadMax

    MadMax Well-Known Member

    It sure hasn't been that "easy" here...

    As far as I've been able to identify it... You hafta' incorporate a new business (the actual label company) and register that business entity with ONE of the following; BMI/ASCAP/SESAC/SOCAN/etc. as a legal entity - with the rights and authority to administer the payment processing and a separate statement of authority to conduct audits of all accounts... then something about registering with the various copyright authorities (copyright.gov here in the US) as the publisher of record, and/or copyright holder of record on the songwriting/performance rights (If so entitled by any existing contract(s)).

    All of which are pretty damn vague in finding out which is what - and there seems to be a bit of a grey area as to the fact that there is some kind of specific order in which things have to/should be filed in order to be a recognized label.

    It's not total rocket surgery to do this, but it sure seems like there's a veil of secrecy over what all needs to be done, and they types of contracts/business filings that an attorney needs to draw up in order to be ACCURATELY registered as a publisher/record label of record.
  17. mtm1

    mtm1 Active Member

    Definitely it is correctly called a vanity label, but for OP's purposes to make it sound better, I'd call it a "small independent label." As for the Canadian PRO, it is SOCAN not SESAC. SESAC is the third PRO operating in the USA that actually had its roots in Europe.

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