Many years ago, my brother-in-law and I had the brilliant idea of putting together a record label to release some albums from our noise project. I did some research, filed some papers, wrote some checks, and boom! My label was born. (It was going to be OUR label at first, but that never really panned out.)
We managed to scrape together an album, designed a cover and sent it off to DiscMasters (or whoever) to print 100 CDs. We sent a handful off to CD Baby and waited to watch our names rise to the top of the charts, which…you know… *looks at watch* …ought to happen just about any minute now!
I followed the same game plan a few more times for my solo projects, and even advertised a bit on social media. MySpace actually seemed to be a good place to release music as a new artist, but they continued to make the platform worse and worse, and everyone jumped ship to Facebook. I soon found that Facebook advertising could generate thousands of “likes” with absolutely zero listeners. Looking at my stats, I calculated that nearly 10% of the town of Ramallah had liked one of my music pages, though my play counts remained steadily abysmal.
A few years ago I decided that paying California’s minimum business tax was too steep a toll to keep my little vanity project running. I hadn’t released anything new in years, and the small royalty checks that I received on occasion had slowly dried up. I checked whatever box I needed to on the final tax return, wrote my last $800 check to the state and closed the metaphorical doors.
Why did I even bother with all that in the first place? Well, I was hoping that my brother-in-law would be a bigger part of the whole thing…he knows people and maybe he could find a real band to sign with us. And I was hoping that I could use the label to write off some of the business expenses that come with releasing and promoting music, but it ended up being pretty much a wash.
So what steps have you taken to get your music out there? How do you distribute and promote your music? Do you have any hints to share or pitfalls to avoid? Let us know! Or just talk about whatever you want (including our song challenge whose deadline is quickly approaching!)