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?
 

sleepy

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The dream. I absolutely HATE doing it.

PR always seems so futile. So many hours spent for one or 2 mentions on blogs that nobody reads. Paid someone to do it once, pretty much the same result
It kind of takes a lot of the fun out of making music.
Gigs - fun
Band practice- fun
Writing songs - enjoyable
Recording- sometimes tough but ultimately fun and rewarding
Promotion - a sloggy unrewarding pain in the bollocks

Honestly, I’d happily throw someone a couple of quid to do it for us next time. We’re hoping to bring out an album at some stage next year and I’ll be honest, I don’t want the responsibility of trying to push it, getting nowhere and feeling at fault for the failure of it. I’d like to get someone else to take that blame for me!
 

Anthony

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I've been thinking about this recently and trying to put thoughts/words to a feeling I've had.
I feel like I'm writing my best songs in the last few years and I think that is happening because it really seems like nobody is listening or will ever hear these songs. I have no consideration for anything outside of my DAW and headphones when writing. I'm even afraid to type this in case it ruins that isolation.

and yes, I know that I share with three great musicians and we will play the songs out loud. But oftentimes I'll get home after a jam and think "did that actually happen?"
 

sleepy

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I've been thinking about this recently and trying to put thoughts/words to a feeling I've had.
I feel like I'm writing my best songs in the last few years and I think that is happening because it really seems like nobody is listening or will ever hear these songs. I have no consideration for anything outside of my DAW and headphones when writing. I'm even afraid to type this in case it ruins that isolation.
I think there’s a lot to that. I was working away writing songs for years with no hassle at all. Only actually released something and tried actually promoting it for the first time last year. I’ve kind of found since that I seem to be wasting a lot more time on social media and the like rather than actually writing and finishing out songs. Need to reverse that. I get the odd gig through Instagram but apart from that it’s become a total time vacuum. And i’m not exactly time rich.
Also, there’s probably a sub conscious thing at play that if I finish a song I’ll have to promote it and I just don’t fucking want to
 

egg_

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I’ve kind of found since that I seem to be wasting a lot more time on social media and the like rather than actually writing and finishing out songs
I've done SO MUCH of this throughout the existence of Stoat. Back in the old days it was packing up and sending out tapes and phoning venues for gigs and other bands for support slots. Sticking up photocopied posters in cafés. Lately it's social media advertising, submithub, tiktok, blah blah what have you. Has always really cut into my available songwriting time ... though over the last few years I've re-balanced it a bit
 

sleepy

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I've done SO MUCH of this throughout the existence of Stoat. Back in the old days it was packing up and sending out tapes and phoning venues for gigs and other bands for support slots. Sticking up photocopied posters in cafés. Lately it's social media advertising, submithub, tiktok, blah blah what have you. Has always really cut into my available songwriting time ... though over the last few years I've re-balanced it a bit
That was pretty much why I’d asked about people’s experiences with small record labels before. It’d be good just to have someone else take some of that shit off my hands. I don’t mind organising gigs, that’s grand. And they’re not exactly so often that I’m overworked with them. And I actually like making videos. The rest of it can go fuck itself
 

egg_

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Spoke too soon, started writing a POS last night. Oh well, I'll stick with it. I've been proven wrong before.
Haha surely we're all used to this by now? The new one I'm working on I could hardly sleep on Mon night cos I was excited about it, then last night was all disappointment
 

Unicron

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Haha surely we're all used to this by now? The new one I'm working on I could hardly sleep on Mon night cos I was excited about it, then last night was all disappointment

What's this whole business of not taking about 7 years to finish a song thing you guys seem to be on about?
 

chris d

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I've done SO MUCH of this throughout the existence of Stoat. Back in the old days it was packing up and sending out tapes and phoning venues for gigs and other bands for support slots. Sticking up photocopied posters in cafés. Lately it's social media advertising, submithub, tiktok, blah blah what have you. Has always really cut into my available songwriting time ... though over the last few years I've re-balanced it a bit
Some people will be really into that side of things. All i want to do is practice tbh.
 

Unicron

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Some people will be really into that side of things. All i want to do is practice tbh.

At an amateur jamming with your mates never going to make any money out of this level it's worth having someone who isn't that good a musician who is happy to do the admin and PR and gig booking.

I've been that band member.

Get your band a manager and let them play bass or rhythm guitar or something if having someone good in that role isn't that important to the band's sound.
 

egg_

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What's this whole business of not taking about 7 years to finish a song thing you guys seem to be on about?
Haha the most recent one we put out was in May 2022, and there's loads of lyrics for it (most of which I didn't use) in pre-2011 notebook. The lyrics of the first verse in the song I'm working on now are, judging by their position in the notebooks, from before I left my previous job in 2017 ... so maybe I'm speeding up, but not much
 

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