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So you wanna be in a rock band?: Simple rules for going out on your own

Rose Cora Perry | Interrobang | Lifestyles | February 9th, 2009

Upon making the initial decision to create your own indie label, there will be a ton of subsequent choices you'll need to make right from the get-go. For instance, do you want your label to represent your act solely, or in the future (once established), do you plan on reaching out to other indie artists and creating a label family of your own? Do you want to cover all of your own services such as booking and publicity, or do you want to make alliances with pre-established firms to whom you will outsource these jobs and establish a commission agreement per booking? Will your label be territory specific, and make arrangements with other indies to cover international waters, or will you claim authority over all jurisdictions?

As with everything, there will be advantages and disadvantages to each arrangement you consider, but what's important is knowing your own capabilities, and setting realistic standards. So, with that in mind, even if your eventual aspiration is to create an artist-run family of your own, similar to that of Ani DiFranco's Righteous Babe Records, you need to take it one step at a time (don't bite off more than you can chew). Aboveall, to ensure that you maintain a strong positive reputation, and don't burn a lot of bridges along the way, before you decide to take on the responsibility of anyone else's career, you absolutely need to ensure that your own shit is in order.

Selecting a Name
So, at this point, I'm sure you're wondering, where do I begin? Well, after you've established your network, got your funding in order, and have drawn up a working business plan, your first order of action is to start reputation building. You need to first name your label, and then, more importantly, work on establishing your presence. For me, the name of my label was obvious - it came directly from my band's name, and it represented the fact that if I should ever expand my enterprise to assist other artists with various management and label services, I wanted it to be clear that my goal was to work solely with women in music; hence, HER Records.

For some of you, it may not be that cut and dry. But, just like with naming your band, you need to put a lot of thought into what kind of message you want to elicit, and you also need to make certain, ESPECIALLY in this case because you're establishing an actual registered business, that you are NOT infringing on copyrighted territory. In three words, do your research!

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