How do small record labels work these days? (1 Viewer)

egg_

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... and how do they make any money?

For example KEELEY (who maybe used to post here?) is on Dimple Discs in London, with only 300-odd monthly listeners on Spotify. She's getting some decent support slots in Dublin, and a bit of press, which I guess is the label's doing, but how on earth are they making any money out of it? Similar for Klubber Lang - on FIFA, but only ~150 monthly listeners on Spotify. Is it cos people who are into tiny bands tend to buy physical merch, and the label takes a cut of that?
 

ernesto

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... and how do they make any money?

For example KEELEY (who maybe used to post here?) is on Dimple Discs in London, with only 300-odd monthly listeners on Spotify. She's getting some decent support slots in Dublin, and a bit of press, which I guess is the label's doing, but how on earth are they making any money out of it? Similar for Klubber Lang - on FIFA, but only ~150 monthly listeners on Spotify. Is it cos people who are into tiny bands tend to buy physical merch, and the label takes a cut of that?

id like to know this aswell
 

moose

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Smaller labels make money from selling physical media rather than Spotify streams.

For example Wild Rocket released our last album through Riot Season (owner doesn't have another job). 300 copies on vinyl and 100 on CD all sold out pretty fast, we get a percentage of the pressing to sell ourselves.

No cash is exchanged between band and label and all digital streams and downloads are handled by us directly. I've released a bunch of albums through various labels over the last 10-15 years and it pretty much always follows that formula.
 

ann post

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... and how do they make any money?

For example KEELEY (who maybe used to post here?) is on Dimple Discs in London, with only 300-odd monthly listeners on Spotify. She's getting some decent support slots in Dublin, and a bit of press, which I guess is the label's doing, but how on earth are they making any money out of it? Similar for Klubber Lang - on FIFA, but only ~150 monthly listeners on Spotify. Is it cos people who are into tiny bands tend to buy physical merch, and the label takes a cut of that?

Here's the dimple discs roster from bandcamp

1669044177812.png

They've got at least six legacy artists on there.
 

nuke terrorist

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Smaller labels make money from selling physical media rather than Spotify streams.

For example Wild Rocket released our last album through Riot Season (owner doesn't have another job). 300 copies on vinyl and 100 on CD all sold out pretty fast, we get a percentage of the pressing to sell ourselves.

No cash is exchanged between band and label and all digital streams and downloads are handled by us directly. I've released a bunch of albums through various labels over the last 10-15 years and it pretty much always follows that formula.
yeah - this all sounds very standard for DIY music.
the label guy is doing well to make a living but I am sure this involves doing very long hours especially on mailorders.
labels trade their releases with other labels and the inventory they build up is sold through their mailorder.
 

moose

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yeah - this all sounds very standard for DIY music.
the label guy is doing well to make a living but I am sure this involves doing very long hours especially on mailorders.
labels trade their releases with other labels and the inventory they build up is sold through their mailorder.

They do do much bigger presses than our record.
 

egg_

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For example Wild Rocket released our last album through Riot Season (owner doesn't have another job). 300 copies on vinyl and 100 on CD all sold out pretty fast, we get a percentage of the pressing to sell ourselves.
Hmm v interesting. I presume you own the rights for the masters, and the label just pays for the pressing? Do they normally do much in the way or promo/sorting out decent gigs?
 

moose

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Hmm v interesting. I presume you own the rights for the masters, and the label just pays for the pressing? Do they normally do much in the way or promo/sorting out decent gigs?

What's a decent gig? We book our own gigs but being on a label certainly helps us book gigs but I've no idea what you mean by decent as it's a totally subjective idea.

They do enough promo to sell out within a few days of release but don't think they have much in the way of external PR budget just a relationship with reviewers etc.
 

ann post

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I don't really want to name labels in any way but one of the ones out here, they'd have a slighly similar roster to dimple above (i don't know them or anything about them either) but they tend to work the smaller artists up through the existing artists. support slots, collabs, touring partners and so forth. like the 300 listener artist is gonna be getting a support at the 50000 listener artists gig, or a wee guest thing somewhere and from an outside point of view it seems to work pretty well. I don't personally know any of the label folks though.
 

egg_

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What's a decent gig? We book our own gigs but being on a label certainly helps us book gigs but I've no idea what you mean by decent as it's a totally subjective idea.

They do enough promo to sell out within a few days of release but don't think they have much in the way of external PR budget just a relationship with reviewers etc.
Support slots is what I mean, sorry
 

sleepy

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... and how do they make any money?

For example KEELEY (who maybe used to post here?) is on Dimple Discs in London, with only 300-odd monthly listeners on Spotify. She's getting some decent support slots in Dublin, and a bit of press, which I guess is the label's doing, but how on earth are they making any money out of it? Similar for Klubber Lang - on FIFA, but only ~150 monthly listeners on Spotify. Is it cos people who are into tiny bands tend to buy physical merch, and the label takes a cut of that?
As far as I know Klubberlang have never had a physical release (ooh matron!), it seems to be all streaming and bandcamp downloads. From what I can gather, I think FIFA seem to be helping out with getting them radio play and write ups and the like. Like @Anthony said, they all have day jobs and families (like most thumped bands) and Klubberlang seems to be their hobby outside of that so I don’t think anyone’s looking to retire on it
 

egg_

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Oh I've no doubt the bands all have day jobs, just curious about how it makes any sense for a label to be involved. With their Spotify numbers and no physical release I can't see how the total revenue generated by KL would be more than a few quid a month
 

moose

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Oh I've no doubt the bands all have day jobs, just curious about how it makes any sense for a label to be involved. With their Spotify numbers and no physical release I can't see how the total revenue generated by KL would be more than a few quid a month

I'd presume they have a physical release planned at some point or maybe it's all done on favours. Fifa seem to do PR too so maybe they've been hired to do that.
 

sleepy

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Oh I've no doubt the bands all have day jobs, just curious about how it makes any sense for a label to be involved. With their Spotify numbers and no physical release I can't see how the total revenue generated by KL would be more than a few quid a month

I'd presume they have a physical release planned at some point or maybe it's all done on favours. Fifa seem to do PR too so maybe they've been hired to do that.

Hard to know what the plan is there. Maybe they’ll package all their singles up into a physical release at some stage. They do seem to get a fair bit of radio play and coverage in hot press and the like, so maybe they have them hired more as a PR company as you’re saying @moose so they can get that stuff sorted
 

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