Nigel Adams, co-owner of the London, UK based record label Full-Time Hobby, gives us nothing but the most posi tips anyone wanting to start their own label would need.
Stay Positive. Sometimes that’s all you have. Everyone knows it’s tough, you need some luck. Cultivate your positivity.
Keep your love of music. Most people got into working for record labels or any part of the industry because at some point they loved music. Don’t spoil it, keep dropping the breadcrumbs of love for music as you wonder in the maze of the industry. Bad metaphor but you get the point, sometimes you get lost.
Don’t get sucked up by the machine. The music industry can be an unforgiving place and it’s good to keep a perspective on that.
Maintain your friendships outside of music, keep interests that have nothing to do with music – read, hike, whatever makes you happy.
Keep open to new ideas. New ways of working, different genres, approaches to making music. It won’t all work for your label but keep a fresh approach. You never know where that next artist you’re going to obsess about is going to come from. Keep all avenues open.
Make friends with other labels. As an independent label other labels are not your enemy. As the industry twists and turns into the future it’s good to help each other navigate the way forward. The more good labels out there helping artists develop, the healthier the music scene, right?
Read up. It’s good to have a sense of how labels have evolved over the years to know where they could go. I’d recommend books like ‘Follow The Music’ by Jac Holzman and Gavan Daws (history of Elektra Records) and also, if you can find it, ‘My Magpie Eyes Are Hungry For The Prize’ by David Cavanagh (The Creation Records Story). Loads of others worth reading but those are two that hooked me in.