Indie artists and artists are flying high today; there’s no longer shortage of success stories. Setting up your independent record label is now easier than ever, and there’s a grateful public out there to listen to your music.
At this point, you must have done a lot of work to put your indie record label in shape. However, we are not there yet. You need to set the ground rules on production and the distribution of your music.
In this piece, we’ll discuss how to play at the highest level as a record label in terms of production and distribution;
1. Master Your Music
Audio mastering is the final step in the music production process, and it’s quite an important one. Mastering is about giving your music a balanced, uniform, cohesive, and professional tone for commercial release.
You owe it to your artists and your label to have your music mastered as an indie record label. But that’s not even where we are doing yet.
In the process of mastering, you need to obtain the International Standard Recording Code (ISRC). This is by purchasing a unique code from the ISRC that will be embedded into your music.
Your audio engineers have an understanding of how to incorporate these codes into your content. This goes along with the artwork of your music.
2. Choose a Distributor or Aggregator
After mastering your music, the next step is to iron out your distribution outlet. It’s Ok if you don’t have a distribution deal in place; that’s why we have aggregators to distribute your music.
You have many options to choose from; TuneCore, DistroKid, UnitedMasters, Vydia and many others. We’ll want to suggest that you set up an account with either Vydia or UnitedMasters.
Other options to select from include; Awal, Amuse, Bandcamp, Indiefy and Songtradr.
3. Copyright Your Music and Lyrics
By registering a copyright, you have all of the benefits accruable to it. Right from the point of recording a song either in a studio or on your phone, the music and lyrics are fully protected by copyright.
However, to stay within the ambit of the law regarding copyright, you have to register it with the United States copyright office. There are various state, national, and international copyright laws.
Registering your music and lyrics for copyright can be done at the Copyright Office. There are other services that can help you register at the Copyright Office; you will pay about $100, including the filing charges.
4. Register Your Song With Your Performance Rights Organization
Remember that we’ve earlier talked about choosing a Performance Rights Organization. By now, you must be done with this process as you’ll need to register your content with the PRO you earlier registered with.
By registering your song with the PRO, they will know how much to be paid and how much. You cannot afford to make mistakes in your song registration. Your song royalties can be allocated to the wrong artist if you fail to register or have issues with the registration.
Regardless of who is handling your song registration, you must include the following data;
- IPI number and the contact info of the songwriter and publisher
- Co-writers and their shares
- Permission from masters and publishers for works used.
- Updated contact information and publisher’s info
- Updated song registration with a new recording with new recordings or alternative titles.
- Setlists from a live performance of your music.
- Your song metadata.
5. Embed Song Meta Data into Music Video
The ideal approach is to use the mastered version of your song on the music video. Ask your video director and editor to stick with the master version due to the metadata already embedded in the song.
Alternatively, you can also link your ISRC with the video as well. This will ensure that major broadcasting networks use the video. Go a step higher by getting it close-captioned before releasing the video.