With the entire world on lockdown and concerned with next steps, we wanted to pass along some insights to help you maximize your efforts going forward. During this time, it’s a good idea to take a second look at what you have and evaluate what you can do to better organize, boost and increase your catalog. All the time, we tell our clients that their masters catalog is an important investment for their future. And thus, putting energy towards improving and adding to it will help them immensely down the line. Here are some tips to help label managers get ahead while social distancing…
7 Ways Label Managers Can Get Ahead During Quarantine
Review Your Deals
First, if you’ve got multiple distribution deals, evaluate what you are getting out of them. We can look at this in two ways:
- The DIY (100% of royalties way)
- % based distributors, similar to us.
Getting 100% of royalties sounds nice, but if you’re with a DIY distributor and aren’t getting the adequate support or marketing help to boost your back catalog, you may want to consider making a change. You should even consider transferring the catalog to a company like us. We make it incredibly simple to do so, and if you need assistance, we’ll help load the content for you.
Now is the time for you to optimize your release strategy and assess the ways to grow the catalog. Many DIY distributors, while great in their own right, are just software companies that don’t actually help develop you as an artist or label.
Regarding the distributors that are percentage based, be sure to ask yourself:
“Am I getting everything that I’m paying them for?”
If you’re in deals that are 15% and above, but you feel like you aren’t getting what you pay for, it’s time to consider transitioning to something better. Here at Symphonic, we think of ourselves as a company that always charges fairly, but also provides a personalized approach to client relations.
Having your catalog in one place (For example, with Symphonic) will ensure that you aren’t doing double the work and getting one consistent royalty payment each and every month.
Collaborate and Create New Content
Although times are tough, now is a great time to create new content. Reach out to folks on Bandcamp, Soundcloud, or even leverage Facebook groups where you may find other creatives to collaborate with. Most content creators have been able to produce and create music without having to leave their home anyway, and this is a time to really network and make connections.
Consider looking outside your community. Explore other territories and genres that are rising up in the ranks that you might not have looked into before. Music is very cross collaborative and wildly extensive in scope; it’s not about one specific genre anymore. Consider stretching yourself creatively and work on growing with the nature of the beast.
If you are in the Electronic music genre, try creating Sample Packs or “Native Instrument STEM” versions of your songs. Even “STEM/Multi-Track” organization in general is great for future possibilities in the world of sync and beyond.
Manage Release Schedules for the Rest of the Year
In this current landscape, we personally don’t recommend artists releasing albums of 10+ songs. Instead, have them consider releasing singles or EP’s of 1-2 songs over a period of 6 months. This will help foster consistency in their release schedule and ensure that each song has time to breathe. In our fast paced world with short attention spans galore, throwing 10 tracks out into the universe and hoping for the best will only let your artist’s down. Encourage patience. Pace yourselves!
Re-Release the Right Way
We aren’t saying to go and flood the market, but consider doing a compilation of your catalog if you have a lot of it. This is a great way of getting older stuff out there, too. As a disclaimer, this could create possible issues with some DSPs that have rules about re-releasing (mainly Apple according to their style guide). However, Spotify is open to it and some shops that do downloads are ok with it as well.
- Try remastering some of your older material and/or have it remixed and release some “Remix Versions”.
- Record live versions or acoustic versions and create new masters of your existing material. This applies to many different genres and creates more content for you to promote.
Put your Catalog on Bandcamp
Bandcamp is one of the largest remaining Download stores out there. If you have a lot of catalog, throw it on there! It’s a great way for you to create bundles and get download revenue directly from consumers.
While some other distributors may not be, we at Symphonic are totally cool with this. Additionally, we’re currently working on making it even easier by letting you upload from our system directly into Bandcamp. (Coming soon!)
Expand your mind…
Create a Branded Profile and Playlists of your Catalog on Spotify
As you may know, Spotify doesn’t offer the ability to see label profiles or one-click to “see all” the catalog under a distribution account. Take the time to create a branded profile that you can link to in websites, features, etc. You can also create playlists that have your catalog featured via themes. A great example of this is done by Audiophile Music Group and Simplify Recordings.
Keep in mind, you don’t necessarily need many playlists; this is just a way for people to easily get to your catalog. If you’re a high volume content supplier, we recommend that you create a playlist of new releases to make them easier to find. Doing this will also make it easier for you to send these links to Music Supervisors once things get back to normal.
Either use chartmetric on yourself or check data on the various “For Artists” platforms provided by Deezer, Amazon, Spotify and Apple. This data will help shed some light on what you can do in the future to improve. In times like this, it’s crucial to stay up to date and be aware of where you stand so you can not only be smarter with your strategy, but thrive moving forward.
All of us in the industry are feeling the pressure during these unsettling and stressful times. We hope these tips will help guide you through this and ensure that you come out stronger on the other side. Use this downtime to re-evaluate your workflow and streamline your strategy for the better. Good luck and stay safe.
Wishing you all the best from our team to yours.