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Monday, 15 September 2014

Record Labels Research

"A Record Label is a brand or trademark associated with the production of music recordings and music videos." They are often behind the production, manufacture, distribution, marketing and promotion of music, signing deals between artist and their managers.

The traditional relationship between the record label and artist would consist of a contract in which they claimed royalties on records sold for a certain amount of time. For a new upcoming artist signing a record deal used to be vital, however now with the proliferation of web 2.0 and digital media, record deals are no longer necessary for distribution and marketing stages as they can do it themselves with direct fan contact. For already established artists this has enabled them to self distribute. For example Radiohead released their album In Rainbows on their website by making it downloadable where audiences could pay what they wanted. This proved very successful- a suggested 1.2 million downloads sold on the day of release, and then when the album was released on CD it went straight to number 1.

Major Record Labels

The main record labels in the UK were Sony Music, EMI, Warner music and Universal Music Group, however due to finacial reasons Universal bought EMI in 2011 making them the largest of the three. Here is an updated chart:

source: http://www.thismustbepop.com/2014/01/04/major-record-label-map/ 

Artists signed to major record labels usually agree that they will earn 10-15% of the royalties, which can only be claimed once they have paid back their debts to the Record label for CD artwork/packaging, tour support and video production fares etc.

Independent Labels

Independent labels follow a similar format to major record labels, however they take less advances, have lower studio costs, lower royalties but due to financial constraints they spend less on marketing and promotion and rely heavily on word of mouth. Also independent labels differ from major labels in that they often give artists more control over their music, as the quality is the priority rather then making something that is easily marketed.

Independent labels have recently grown in popularity and success.

I looked into London based record label Moshi Moshi

They have helped release music by bands such as Bloc Party, Hot Chip, Kate Nash, Disclosure, Florence and the Machine and many more successful artists.

One method they rely upon in order to raise awareness is live events, hosting a monthly live event at the Servent Jazz Headquarters in Dalston, London, and hosted a stage at Iceland Airwaves Festival.

Many artist often feel restricted by their record label, and now some artists are leaving their labels and making their own enabling total artistic control. For example White Stripes, left Warner Bros and set up Third Man Records, which is now home to other artists, such as Laura Marling.

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