Life Hack an Independent Record Label

You dont need a white knight to create an independent record label. You need music recordings and the desire to share it with the world. Business aptitude helps.

Here's an easy rundown that helps guide the process of being an independent record label- Dig deeper, Learn more.

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Join Ascap or another PROPerforming Rights Organization.
pay $50 as a writer
pay $50 as a publisher
one time fee. Lifetime membership and affiliation

1 song is split in 50/50 writer and publisher share for 100% of a song.
When a person writes a song, these rights are created.

2 writers?
25/25 writers ownership percentage and 25/25 publisher ownership percentage.

Sometimes a song is quantified as either 100% or 200% to reference the halving of a song for writer and publisher ownership of this asset.
You will probably see this.

Register each song title that you own. This is the base of your music catalog.

Acknowledge ownership by registration with ASCAP and poise these songs for tracking of play and performance protection.
Share and assign rights percentages accordingly with people who made contributions to music and lyrics.

This step establishes a Music Publishing company to accompany song writer membership with the Performing Rights Organization, PRO.

International Standard Recording Code - ISRC  $95
The ISRC is basically a unique serial number for each individual sound recording.

This is a third right/asset/commodity alongside writer and publisher ownership.

ISRC is encoded on the master recording of a song.The record label is the normal owner of the sound recording.

This is where the executive in charge of administration, whether artist or musician, steps up as administrator and label.

Get some bar codes
The upc is not encoded on the file but rather it is used in most title registrations to track and report the song/commodity in all commercial transactions- such as streaming and download.

Those basics, the isrc and the upc, prepare the song for proper tracking 

Encode Your Audio Files 

Mastering and encoding can cost anywhere from $50 to $500 per song, easy. -Look Around-

This is a secret weapon!

Sonoris editor is a genius program.

It encodes the isrc on to the .wav file which is retained on the audio in later conversions to other file types such as .mp3 and .aiff

Get this software and keep it, share it, save a copy somewhere.

Join Sound Exchange 

Soundexchange collects and distributes royalties from internet radio play to sound recording owners.

Register all titles, including isrc codes, writer, performer and publisher info, percentages of ownership of all parties, release date, song length, etc.

Requires filling out a spreadsheet document, populating requested fields with applicapable data.

These become payable tracks in your catalog. 

Online Upload and printing

Many resources for printing and pressing CD's and Vinyl records are out there. Here is a budget solution-

Your isrc and upc codes will be in play at this point, almost always requested and associated with your song/sound recording when administering-

Now seek out an online music distributer that is right for you-

Distribution is in your hands, along will full ownership and rights of administration. 

Other useful links

Ninja photo courtesy of Steven Depolo


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