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More Music and Less Labels: A Manual to Get Your Band Known

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More Music and Less Labels: A Manual to Get Your Band Known
by Billy Jeremiah - Friday, September 3, 2021, 3:49 AM

With platforms like Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Spotify or iTunes, it is no longer necessary to have a record company to distribute your music, even if you are completely anonymous.

The only possibility that musicians had to spread their material in the 90s was for a record label to bet on their music. This, with various commercial, distribution and even creative restrictions. In these terms, the entry of Napster marked the way to what we see today: Bands that can distribute their albums through digital platforms, being able to reach the same diffusion as for renowned artists.

In those years, groups like Smashing Pumpkins, Limp Bizkit and The Offspring went downhill against their own record labels to achieve free distribution of the maximum number of songs in order to reach new followers. However, in my opinion, Napster was not aware of the phenomenon that it catapulted.

In 2002, the recently deceased David Bowie already knew that the future of the music industry would change, pointing out to the  New York Times  that “I don't know why I would be signing with a record label in a couple of years,  because I don't think things will to work with stamps or traditional distribution methods, at least not in the same way ”.

Check out: soundcloud mp3

It would take less than five years for the world to begin to change and for bands to begin distributing material through MySpace, PureVolume, and YouTube. In other words, in 2006 you could already make your musical group known through one of these platforms. In technical terms, both file compression and improved connections were essential for this to be achieved.

At that time there were two worlds: Well-known artists who continued to work with their record companies and a whole independent scene that took advantage of the internet to distribute their work. Now it was necessary for the most recognized musicians to legitimize this new ways of distributing music. An important precedent was set by Radiohead at the end of 2007, when they offered their album In Rainbows through the web, allowing their followers to price the album in digital format, even downloading it for free.

The music market continued to change, we saw several players appear that due to copyright conflicts disappeared, up to the current scene configured by the main free distribution platforms such as Soundcloud and Bandcamp, and paid ones such as Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Tidal and Google Play , to name a few.

In this way, today there is the possibility of going to some cheap recording studio, recording multitrack, mixing, mastering and distributing without having to spend a fortune or wait a lifetime for "a label to notice my band." Two years ago with my friends from university and college we started a group called La Gran Mano de Cera , which has helped us understand how independent labels work and broadcasting from Chile.

We began to put together gigs, analyze promotional labels, finding an interesting bet from Algo Records , BYM Records , Cápsula Discos , Beast Discos , Armatoste Brazo Discográfica , Tuneless Records among many others. All these labels have as their main function the promotion of their bands and not the simple use of their work like the old record companies. In addition, a good part of them has even been dedicated to recovering old analog formats such as cassette and vinyl that are highly appreciated by purists.

With 9 songs of our own, we decided to “throw in the pool”, we rented a couple of hours in a recording studio, we recorded all the instruments together, on different channels, then the vocals, mixing and mastering. Once we were satisfied with the sound (at least a year passed for that to happen), we uploaded the material to Souncloud, Bandcamp, Portaldisc (record distribution in Chile) and then we figured out how to upload the first demo to Spotify , more than bad , is the most used playback platform along with iTunes.

We investigated and found distribution labels that are paid an annual membership to distribute albums on Spotify, iTunes, Deezer, Google Play, Tidal, among many others. For an annual plan in the Swedish Record Union label , for example, we are paying close to CLP $ 20,000 pesos per month with the opportunity that our band, which started in total anonymity, can reach thousands of people in the world, which can reach other bands, and why not, that it helps us to go on tour to another country.