If you look at Beatport now, there are literally thousands upon thousands of labels releasing tunes every single day. Despite all that competition, it’s no surprise that you tend to see the same labels’ releases filling the charts, this is because running a label – a successful label – takes more than just a bit of luck. We started Zulu Records and Vudu Records a few years ago now and have worked out a strategy that works for us. Whilst every label is different, we think that there a few key rules that every successful label should stick to:
Stick to one genre when you start
After your first few releases it’s important to keep continuity to build a base. The easiest way to for this is stick to a single genre. If you look at the early Zulu single releases they are all in the house genre.
We have now reached a point where we feel it’s important to diversify to further build the label. We have just had our first Zulu single release without a house track on it and you can expect more!
Use compilations as a way to test other genres
With a comp no one wants to see just one genre in the listing. This gives you a great opportunity to try different genres and see how well they are received by the buyers. You also have the added bonus of showing up on all the different genre release charts. You only need one track in each genre to appear on every Beatport page release chart.
When you are doing well work even harder
It took us a while to learn this as artists but it also applies to the label and probably any business. If you take your foot off the pedal there is a good chance you will get left ,behind.
Our original goal was for the label to be successful on Beatport so that was where we focused most effort. You need to recognise what your aims are and act accordingly.
Treat your label as a business
This is really important as if you just look at it as a hobby it will be hard for anyone else to take you seriously. Plan your releases properly. Treat your artists with respect and account to them properly. There are loads of cool systems to make this easier so there is no excuse nowadays. We use Labelworx Royalty Worx system for our artist accounting.
Prioritize your work
It’s easy to spend hours on something that's not important while another important job gets forgotten about. Make a plan with the most important jobs prioritised then stick to that plan. Have regular label meetings to come up with new ideas etc.
Make your cover artwork simple
When we started we noticed that the Spinnin Records releases were noticeable even on the Beatport "Top 100" charts where the artwork is tiny. This is so important especially when you start. Go for a clean simple logo that looks good small. When you start, there is no point spending a fortune on a new piece of art for each release.
Don't underestimate the power of social media
Make sure each release is promoted on social media. Look at some of your favourite label's social media pages and try to emulate what they do leading up to and after a release. It’s all a learning process and the more you do it the more you will learn what works and what doesn’t. Try to plan it out by writing each post into a calendar as a reminder or using an application like Hootsuite to schedule the posts.
Use a proper promo service
This is important as Soundcloud links just don’t look professional and you don’t receive any feedback from the artist. Use a service like Fatdrop or Labelworx. The artist has to write a reaction to the track before they can download the full mp3. We use Fatdrop which I think is the best but also the most expensive. There are plenty of other options and lots of labels use Labelworx. Build up a promo list by contacting artists you like through social media. It really helps if they are already playing a track from your label as you can hit them up straight away thanking them and asking if you can have their email address to add them to your promo list.
Start a podcast
You can use this to promote forthcoming releases. We use Podomatic which also uploads itto iTunes. Ask your artists to provide guest mixes to help promote their release. When we started our show was on a monthly basis. Now it’s every week. We do a half hour of new music then a half hour guest mix from a Zulu artist. This also gives you extra ammo to put on your social media pages.
Connect with My Digital Enemy:
Connect with Zulu Records:
Connect with Vudu Records: