Netlabels are everywhere. There are so many, it’s getting tough to stand out in the crowd. And yet, there is some amazing music to be had for free from these organizations that give out free music. This is what prompted me to start an online record label for electronic music by Philippine producers and musicians back in 2004. And yet, I’ve been looking for a good article on how to run a netlabel and couldn’t find one except for this wikihow article that seemed incomplete.
That got me thinking: why create a whole new article? Why not contribute to the Wikihow article instead, and add on to the wisdom already presented there? So here you go, below is the most up-to-date edit of the wikihow article after I got through with it. Hope this helps anyone thinking about joining the netlabel world.
Taken from:How to Start a Netlabel at WikiHow.com
Ever wanted to get your music to new ears? How about helping others get their music heard? With a Netlabel, an Internet record label, you can do just that (and the best part is, it’s Free!).
Host Music Files on Archive.org
- Visit Archive.org.
- Set up a free account.
- Read this forum post on Archive.org on uploading with a Netlabel (as per Archive.org requirements).
- Email simon at archive dot org. You will need to tell Simon that you want to start a Netlabel and the name of your Netlabel.
- Wait for a response from Simon. Once you get a reply, you’ll have a Netlabel. You’re now free to upload your releases on Archive.org!
Your Netlabel’s Website
- Find a good name/domain name. Do the research to ensure your netlabel name is unique GLOBALLY. Then buy it or register it.
- Find web hosting. Your website will need a home. Find a good plan and pay for it. Or simply use free hosting via sites such as WordPress.com or Blogspot.
- Set up the website. Include a good, memorable logo. Ask for help from designer friends if you need it. You can’t go wrong by setting it up using a blog platform such as WordPress.
- Set up the email. Your web hosting plan comes with email. But if you use free website hosting, you should set up an email address just for that website using Gmail.
Promotion and Networking
- Register the name on social media. Make sure your netlabel’s name can be used on all the social media channels you intend to use. For example: Twitter, Facebook Pages, Youtube, Vimeo, Soundcloud, Bandcamp, etc.
- Connect! Get in touch with other netlabel owners and music lovers via the different web channels: netlabel community mailing lists, forums, Facebook pages, or even blogs. There are many ranging from genre-specific communities, to geographic-related groups. This allows you to share your releases with a larger, like-minded and GLOBAL audience.
Promotion & Networking
- Have your own Website. There is much more you can do to promote your netlabel when you have your own domain and hosting. You can still utilize the Internet Archive for hosting your music files.
- Make a Facebook Page. With so many people on Facebook, it would be a shame not to build a community around your netlabel using Facebook’s page tools.
- A Myspace music account can be a great way to promote your Netlabel and find artists to release. Use a Myspace music account to build a web of musicians, and display some of your artists.
- Use the Netlabel forums on Archive.org to your advantage. Promote your releases there. And you can find a lot of support on the forums and help for newcomers.
- Promote your releases to the larger netlabel community. One way is to join the appropriate mailing lists to announce your releases such as: the netaudio yahoogroup and the net_label_releases yahoogroup . Another way is to post on netlabel catalogs and indexes on the web (there are many).
- Use video! Create a video for each of your releases and post on websites such as YouTube and Vimeo. Even if you are not adept at video production, simply uploading a single image (like an album cover) and using one of the best tunes in your release should help drive traffic to your release.
- Remember that Netlabels are not about the money; they’re about sharing creative talents.
- However also realize that if you’re willing to take a chance, there are many avenues to monetizing your netlabel: merchandising, royalties, analog releases, and so on. Make sure that you have a contract with your artists that spells out how any profit will be shared.
- Have a good description of the materials you release. Often, people will decide whether to listen or download your materials solely on the strength of your album descriptions. Therefore, write well!
- Sticking to one type of music or a certain style is a good way to let people know what to expect from your Netlabel and may help build a following.
- Including pictures, digital cover art, or artist biographies to the releases may be a good idea.
- It is usually a good idea to include multiple qualities and audio formats for convenience and listener satisfaction. (Note that Archive.org does this for you automatically if you allow it.)
- Tag your music files correctly! Don’t miss out on the opportunity to promote your netlabel’s brand by tagging your mp3s correctly. Include a link to your website, give out artist and release info as much as possible. Never, under any circumstances, release an untagged mp3 file. It makes it difficult for an end-user to find you.
- Do not upload copyrighted material without the consent of the owner.
- Uploading releases may take a long time depending on your Internet connection and the size of the files. For this reason, you may want to use a computer that you own, and set uploads overnight.
Things You’ll Need
- Internet connection (the faster, the better)
- Original music
- MP3 tagging software
- Your own website (gives you much more content and branding than archive.org)
Sources and Citations
Article provided by wikiHow, a wiki how-to manual. Please edit this article and find author credits at the original wikiHow article on How to Start a Netlabel. All content on wikiHow can be shared under a Creative Commons license.
Photo credits:CDs DVDs on White Background by Rob Davies on Flickr.