How to Set Up Your Core Record Label Structure and Organise Your Music Business

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How to Set Up Your Record Label Structure

In this video I’m going to show you how a typical indie record label business structure is organised and, walk through an example structure which you can download and use for your own music business.

Hi. my name is Nick Sadler from the Label Machine, and we help music artists and managers run, monetize and grow their record labels. If you run a record label or self-release music, then you can sign up for free using the link in the description.

Alright, so, The backbone of your record label business structure can be organised as a set of folders on your computer. And its not just for labels, this structure can be used for any artist that is self-releasing music.

Now, the best place to save all your folders and files is in the cloud. This way they are all backed up automatically. Lose your computer or have a hardware crash? No problem, everything is backed up in the cloud.

The three main cloud drives are
Dropbox, Google Drive or Microsoft OneDrive. I recommend Dropbox, as it gives the ability to easily share files with one click without having to set permissions, which makes it a winner for me. This is especially useful for sharing music files and artwork drafts with designers quickly.

However, I do have a google drive account online as I use Google Docs and spreadsheets for some of my projects, as it easier than Dropbox to collaborate and share documents with others.

I would recommend installing the Dropbox application on your computer, which’ll give seamless integration with your existing filing system, while also syncing your files to the cloud in the background.

Dropbox gives to 2GB of free data and 1 TB on the annual plan. Google Drive gives you 15 GB free data and then has paid plans from 100MB and upwards.

Ok, Now we know where to save your file structure, let look at the main elements that make up a record label.

Folder Structure

If, like many people, you struggle to stay organised online, and end up with multiple folders that contain the same things, what I’m going to show you will help keep everything organised. Let's start with "Accounts."

Accounts

This is where you save invoices, receipts, and your royalty statements. Anything money related goes in here.

Action Plans

In here is where you save your business plan, operating procedures, and job descriptions as you grow and hire people.

Demos

Keep music demos that your artists send to you in here, filed under each artists name. As you grow, further subdivide this into year of submission.

Design

This is where you keep important design elements for the label, such as your fonts, icons, images, logos, and artwork release templates.

Directory Databases

In this folder, you store your database spreadsheets of contact information for important blogs, Spotify playlists, radio and DJ contacts, and music partners.

Distribution

Save your metadata, ISRC codes and any specialist information you need to work with your chosen distributor in here.

Legal

In this folder, organise your labels recording contracts, remix contracts, management contacts, and important company registration documents.

Licenses

In here save any compilations requests, and TV, film or game synchronisations that you license your music too.

Marketing and PR

For each separate release create a folder in here (e.g. "RECORD001") to save all marketing related assets such as press releases, social media banner artwork, and logos, for each release.

These folders are often shared with artists and agencies outside the label so it’s important to have them filed this way.

Merchandise

In here save all your merchandise designs, customer information, and manufacturing details.

Passwords and Logins

Backup of your important passwords for social media accounts, website access, and distribution platform logins.

Releases

For each separate release create a folder in here e.g. RECORD001 to save all in-house music information, such as the master WAV files, master artwork files, MP3’s and press release drafts.

Why Two Folders?

Now you might be thinking: "why is there two places for marketing press files?"

Your "Release" files are where you would keep private files, like marketing plans and press drats.

However, the "Marketing and PR" folder is where you keep public files such as the final press release that you want to share with managers, agencies and press contacts.

Management and Publishing

The final two folders aren’t strictly for record labels, but if you do manage artists or handle publishing you might keep your files organised here as well.

In management folder, you would keep folder for gigs and shows that have contact information on them, a riders folder for artist riders and stage requirements and a travel folder, for keeping copies of passports and plane tickets for shows.

The publishing folder you would keep your publishing agreements and split sheets, as well as metadata for your publishing catalogue.

Conclusion

So that’s everything covering a record label or self-releasing artists setup. You might want to arrange your file structure slightly differently or add other folders relative to your own setup, but this is an essential file structure you can start with.

And if you want to save time, you can download a ZIP file with these folders already setup from a link in the description.

I hope you enjoyed this video; I’ll see you on the next one.

DOWNLOAD THE RECORD LABEL STRUCTURE TEMPLATE

Available in all major podcasting platforms.

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