Yesterday evening Adam (@getsick828) on twitter said he had a new label and asked if I had a good tip for him. I have a lot of tips, but the one that immediately came to mind was Focus. A lot of new small labels don’t have sub genre focus. Which I think is fine if you’re a label from your local scene, and you don’t care about going all over the genre map. Meaning, you might release an old school hardcore style record, then you’ll release a metal record, then you go back to hardcore or maybe punk, just cause these are the bands that live around you, and/or are the bands you’re friends with. But if you’re looking to grow a label, it needs focus. The reason for this is releases can’t build off each other, unless they’re liked by similar people. For instance if your first release is punk, and you sell a couple hundred records, what are the chances these same people will like your second release which is metal? Almost none. Therefore your mailing list is toilet paper, and your social network followers are firewood. You now need to start from scratch. What you want is momentum. You want to build a fan base just like a band. Look at Revelation Records. Why were they so successful? Yes they released incredible game changing music, but the key was they released the exact same style game changing music. They hit a specific niche, and they stuck with it for a very long time. Even when they swerved off the path early, like for instance Quicksand ST, they had good reason in that Walter from GB started the band. And GB released Rev’s best selling album ever, Start Today. You think they would have released a post hardcore band if it wasn’t from Walter? Not a chance. What about Orange 9mm? Well that was Chaka from Burn. What about Shelter? Ray YOT! You see where I’m going with this? There was a strong connection that helped create momentum. There was no wavering in Rev’s plan of attack. You’ve heard the saying, “I bought every release, even before I heard it”. Rev was the KING of that. That’s customer trust, and when customers trust you that much, they talk to their friends and spread the word. So I think focus is extremely important in building momentum.
Maybe I’ll push out some more tip posts like this. The tips might be obvious, like this one, but sometimes when you hear the reasoning behind them, it helps you understand it in a way you might not have thought of.