12.4.07

The "We're not Evil" Music Label

Being as interested in music as you might have noticed by now, I've thought inumerous times about what kind of music label the world needs. Heck, I've even thought several times in creating one... So here's a sum-up of how that music label should be:

01. Rights are exclusively from bands - the copyright should belong to bands, and they should be the ones to decide whatever to do with their songs;

02. CD releases - The less evil labels I know of are exclusively netlabels, or do CD-R releases. But bands deserve the choice of having their art in propper Audio CD's, without having to go with a not so un-evil label;

03. MP3's for free - All tracks released should be also available for free as mp3's (and possibly in other formats, as ogg), DRM-free (of course), so listeners could do the usual try-before-buy legally and without restrictions;

04. When the CD's are sold out, digital sells continue - Maintaining a release is impossible: even the major labels go out of stock for a long period of time (I'm talking about years) before they do a re-release. To a smaller label the problem gets worse, so it is common to see some bands whose first works are already out of market: and the only way for you to get them is by downloading them (legally or not). So, in this scenario, I think that, for those wanting those previous releases and actually buy them, sold-out albums should start being sold in non-evil music stores (like, for instance, Amie Street), at a reasonable price for everyone involved;

05. CD's at reasonable prices - I don't really know (yet) the praticability of this (the cheaper the album is, more is the profit share that must go to the label), but I was aiming here for something like 5€ per album;

06. Label profit only to cover the business itself - We can't have a scenario where all the money goes to the artists, since doing this costs money. So, the idea is to give a share to the label good enough to cover the expenses in the release, running the label itself, and to invest in new releases. I was aiming for nothing less than 50% for the artists, but, as I said in 05, the biggest the artist share, biggest the unit price, so I think that, as a test, 5€ per album and 50% for the artist is a good combination, suitable to enhancements;

07. The "usual" promotion - The label must do the "usual" promotion of the band. Unfortunately I think that the "usual" part is not that usual, and that's bad - for both artists, the label itself and the (potencial) listeners. And easier too. When I mean promotion I'm talking about several things, from making the band have an online presence to making their album available in as many music stores as possible;

08. The "unusual" promotion - AKA "getting better deals for the band". Of course the concept of "better" isn't a well-defined thing, and should be developed with the artists (project by project): for instance, I don't think I would want another record deal other than this one if I have such a label, but with "unusual promotion" I mean stuff like "getting you a bigger label, if that's what you want". Of course that I also mean many other things, such as promoting the band on things like SellABand;

09. Consider musicians as artists and music as art - self explainable, yet most of the times ignored;

10. Items from 02. to 08. negotiable - and the others not. This is perheaps the most important of these items: setting what must be, and talking about what by default would be, unless the artists (the real important piece in the music industry) think otherwise.

What are your thoughts on this? And do you know any label that does something similar to this?