Label Interview Series

Got my mastering before sleep done last night.  Sent Nic Slaton a boosted up version of his track for the 30 second comp & he’s going to try to get me a replacement for it.  So then I’ll have that up & running.

Okay, so the big event for the day is that I got the label owner interview series questions typed up for submitting to labels.  I figured I’d let you look over them & see if there are any questions I’m having glaring omissions of & stuff like that.  Too many questions probably as I imagine this will be a minimum of a three hour long to answer interview, but like the other series, I want this to be the definitive interview on the subject for anyone who takes part in it.

1. When & why did you start your label?
2. Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?
3. How many releases have you put out?
4. How many releases would you like to do a year?
5. How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?
6. What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?
7. What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label?
8. What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?
9. What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?
10. What makes you label special & unique?
11. How has your physical location effected your label?
12. What’s your demos policy?
13. How do you find out about new artists for your label?
14. How do most fans find out about your label?
15. What’s been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?
16. What are some things that make you want to work with a band?
17. What are some things that would make you stop working with a band?
18. What is the thing all releases on your label have in common?
19. How involved are you with a band for acting as a producer as far as hearing demo ideas or selecting tracks to be on a release or mixing & mastering?
20. How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?
21. How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?
22. If a band breaks up between the recording of a release & the release date, how does that effect what you do?
23. What do you wish bands on your label would do?
24. What’s a record you’d like to put out that you’ll never be able to?
25. If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?
26. How is financing of a release split between artists & the label?
27. How do you split profits from a release between artists & your label?
28. Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?
29. Do you take a cut of a band’s publishing?
30. How important is it to you to have touring acts on your roster & what do you do to encourage it?
31. Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?
32. How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?
33. Do you have intern & street team programs & if so, how do they operate?
34. How big of a staff do you have & how big of one do you need?
35. What do you do to build relationships with record stores?
36. What do you do to build relationships with radio stations?
37. What do you do to build relationships with magazines & websites?
38. What do you do to build relationships with bloggers?
39. Do you view advertisements as a way to generate interest & revenue or more as a way to financially support magazines & websites you like?
40. What is the job of your distributors?
41. How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?
42. What percentage of a pressing do you use for promotions?
43. Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?
44. Do you sell music that is not on your label?
45. How has running a label effected your own artistic career?
46. Ideally, would you release your own material?
47. What do you do to try to build a sense of community within your roster?
48. What’s your most common conversation with bands as far as balancing artistic integrity & financial viability?
49. How often do you look at your “return on investment” & adjust your business model?
50. Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?
51. What have you done to cut costs over the years?
52. Do you think the album format is dead?
53. Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?
54. Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?
55. What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?
56. What do you think of “print on demand” discs?
57. How much content do you feel should be available free to fans?
58. What do you do about people distributing your music without financial compensation (piracy & file trading)?
59. What’s something you see other labels do that you think of as borderline unethical?
60. What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?
61. What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?
62. Where do you think money is currently most available to labels/musicians & where in the future?
63. Why do you think labels are still important to artists?
64. Music has had different hotspots on the internet over the years (newsgroups,, MySpace, LastFM), but with MySpace’s decline, what do you see as the place where “normal” people go to find out about & get excited by new music?
65. In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?

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