7 things to remember when setting up an electronic label

Music industry experts from Toolroom, Defected, Hospital Records and many more tell us what you need to know to establish a successful electronic label in 2015…

Jim Ottewill
  • By Jim Ottewill
  • 16 Jun 2015
  • min read
The Brighton Music Conference saw the great and the good from across the electronic music industry descend upon the seaside town to discuss and explore the challenges facing the genre.

Many of the panels saw key players from the likes of Hospital Records, Defected and Toolroom all lock horns to debate the best ways to set up electronic labels.

Check out our interview with founder John Fleming on the reasons behind the conference and discover the top tips we picked up from BMC's conference floor on establishing your own imprint below…

Be organised

Lee Morrison, general manager at Believe Digital UK and senior vice president of Rights Management, Believe Group: 'From a distribution perspective, you have to be very organised and have your meta data correct to ensure your works are identified and reported correctly.'

Trevor McNamee, Jalapeno Records founder: 'It’s become a data management business in a lot of ways. That’s the only way you can make money as a label. Make sure all your meta data is correct and all your music is registered correctly with the relevant societies. Take care of all the boring back end stuff and make sure it’s done properly.'

A&R from the gut rather than Facebook likes, says panel

Chris Goss (CG), Hospital Records founder: 'The issue for many labels is whether you A&R on data or on your gut. You’re a mug if you make decisions on Facebook likes. We do it from the heart, the gut, play it in the office - you can’t make a decision on what social media tells you one week, otherwise you’d be dead in the water.'

Create a community around your label

Andy Daniell (AD), A&R at Defected: 'It’s always been a key element, having the community. We were very active in trying to build and galvanise it - internally we have a digital media manager and YouYube has become key. It’s about making sure people can speak to the brand and we can speak back. You have to find new angles to talk to your fan base.'

Stand out

AD: 'You have to stand for something. You need to put everything into it - identify your audience and give them great product.'

CG: 'Make original, amazing music, work with great partners and talk to as many people as you can. You need to stay on top of your game to ensure you have a future.'

Stuart Knight (SK), Toolroom records director: 'The internet has allowed us to do some amazing things - it’s a big hay stack but you need to make sure your needle is the shiniest thing there is – passion, confidence and make your product stick out. You need a slight angle to what you’re doing and it’s this which will carry you through.'

Know your audience

AD: 'We have a very core fan base, a lot of them are DJs and can’t DJ with a stream. Although we’ve embraced streaming and it’s key for discovery, we need to continue providing premium physical products for our fans.'

Identify every revenue stream

SK: 'If you are going to start a label, then early on you need to identify every revenue stream. You can’t just rely on revenue from iTunes and Beatport. Identify 5-6 rev streams from the start and totally own and understand them. Before you press go on your label, identify how are you going to monetise this.'

But remember music is number one

SK: 'When we started we were a label for DJs. We’ve had to diversify but we still have the core DJ following. We have events, the radio and we’re looking into TV options. But we still need to get the music right and be consistent in getting it right. The music is the foundation of our house - it underpins everything we do and gives us the right to move into other areas.'