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Author Topic: Becoming A Label (andventures in self releasing a record)  (Read 10159 times)

j.hall

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Re: ...And I'm Spent
« Reply #15 on: May 05, 2005, 03:37:49 pm »

...And I'm Spent

the CD order has been placed.  quotes have been signed, itellectual property release forms have been filled out, phone calls were plentiful, faxes were sent, files were uploaded, and i'm spent.

Mike Harbin at Furnace Mfg. is the man.  can't say enough good things about him and the other people at Furnace that helped us out the past two days.

i was very fearful that we were going to be playing a release party with no CD's........

that whole nightmare of showing up to highschool with no clothes on.........i never had that one.....i have nightmares about release parties.

anyway.  it's done, it's out of my hands, now i sit and wait for actual product to show up.

up next.  finish off all outstanding details with Merch Direct.

one by one we're getting this thing finished.
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j.hall

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Re:Can We Keep the Ship Together Captian?
« Reply #16 on: May 12, 2005, 08:58:01 am »

Can We Keep the Ship Together Captian?

proofs for our CD artwork were submitted to us a few days ago.

our graphic designer took a look and color prints i made and gave it the thumbs up.

Furnace has been awesome to work with.

i'm not sure how competitive their pricing is, i didn't look around that much.  there's no doubt in my mind that they are one of the best.

they have a process in place that ensures quality, and ensure i sleep at night not worrying about them screwing everything up without me knowing about it.

they've been great at calling and emailing with questions and i couldn't be happier that we are using them.

now we have to get our merch taken care of.

getting a hold of people at Merch Direct (at least the one person i need to talk to) is proving difficult.  we're rapidly approaching crunch time and this whole thing needs to get done.

i'm sure they can turn out merch around rapidly but we have other things to do with them that need dealing with.

a return call would be a brilliant thing.....but i'm also aware of how busy they are at the moment with renovating their wharehouse while trying to maintain their business.

radio promotion is still up in the air, but it's something we have to do.

at the moment, with out drummer on his honeymoon and us having practiced for about a month without him, it sort of leaves us with a slightly empty feeling......like one guy is out of the loop and some decisions just can't be made without his input.

we practiced last night and had a lot of good conversation afterward.  every body is really getting focused.

it's weird being in a band where the members are informed, interested, and actually function as a business as well as a band.

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j.hall

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Re:Crunch Time
« Reply #17 on: May 18, 2005, 08:03:42 am »

Crunch Time

current events.

our drummer is back from his 6 weeks away from the band.  he is married, honeymooned, and ready to rock again.  

we played two shows with out him, and though they went OK, we missed him quite a bit.

i'm sure he feels out of the loop as we pretty much finished the CD and all the graphic design without him.  but we'll catch him up quickly.

Merch Direct is really frustrating me to no end.  i think it takes 2 months to get a little bit done.  it took me 2 months to get to talk to some one, they agreed to sign us up and get things going ASAP, and i haven't heard squat.  that was about 2 weeks ago.  i call them daily at this point just trying to get some one on the phone.

i'm giving them until Friday (today is wednesday and i currently have 3 unreturned messages with them) to respond then i'm going some place else.

i understand that they are really busy, and i understand that my band isn't crap on the radar, but they agreed to take us on which means i expect them to actually take us on.

we need shirts, stickers and buttons in our hands prior to the june 19th release date and as of now, we are quickly running out of time.

if we are forced to go some place else, the on-line store will be the biggest hit to us.
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j.hall

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Re:BAM...consider it done!
« Reply #18 on: May 18, 2005, 03:30:04 pm »

BAM...consider it done!

Merch Direct is out....if they can't get my band setup in 2 months then i can't really see how they are going to service us once we finally did get setup.  if we ran out of merch, do we have to wait 2 months just to get someone on the phone to re-order.

hardly seemed professional to me, but then again, maybe they are just that busy that a small fish like my band isn't something they want to mess with.......they could have easily told me that and not wasted so much of my time and energy.

Blue Collar Distro and Blue Collar Press are where it's at.

they are local for me so i save shipping cost.

we get an on-line store, any merch we want, they'll take our CDs and store them.  the whole thing is awesome.

i knew all about blue collar press and was going to use them until the on-line store became an issue.  so we went to merch direct through a friend.

i was poking around looking for a back up plan and blue collar distro popped up.  it's perfect for us!!!!

i called Burton Parker at Blue Collar Distro after a few emails were exchanged.  we hammered out all the details in one phone call, he has pdfs of all the artwork with shirt colors and ink colors we want.  i should be getting a quote back soon.

consider it done.

these guys are awesome.  highly recommended for any of you needing to setup and on-line store and get merch.

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j.hall

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Re:Smooth Sailing
« Reply #19 on: June 01, 2005, 08:51:01 am »

Smooth Sailing

well, things just keep growing on us.

the CD's are done and will ship out tomorrow, T-shirts are being made.  stickers and buttons are almost designed

the release date is quickly approaching!

we've been told that some one from Virgin Records will be coming out to see us play in mid July.....that's sort of crazy.

there is something in the works with an indie label as well, but i shouldn't really speak on that until it's a bit more solid what exactly it is.

the radio station in town just offered us an awesome gig at some HUGE event they are sponsoring/promoting, but i had to promise not to talk about that either.........

BMI has yet to get back to us about what exactly our publishing company is called.  which pisses me off considering i sent the paper work in 5 weeks prior to us finishing up artwork and liner notes.  so our publishing name in the liner notes could very well be wrong.......i'm hoping it's right.

i guess i'll have to call them.  for the songwriter registration they were very quick to get us our paper work back with account numbers and such.

i guess they aren't into publishers.

we have started talking about touring.

for now, we plan to hit the midwest in short bursts.  probably head south since by the time we get around to planning this, it will be cold......

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j.hall

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Re:We Have Stuff, Give Us Your Money
« Reply #20 on: June 08, 2005, 12:47:09 pm »

We Have Stuff, Give Us Your Money

CD's are here.  they look awesome!!!!

some initial promo copies are getting sent around to varoius people the band agreed to give copies to.

the web store will be up very soon, and we decided to open it up for "advance" ordering to all you PSW folks.  not that we can stop anyone from going on there and buying anything.  but we aren't going to announce it's opening to our local fan base till after the release party.

not that any of you want the thing, but i'll post in here when it can be ordered.......

the indie label thing i mentioned before is a Distro deal.  we are currently "negotiating" the deal and i use that term loosely.  currently we are waiting to see the contract and pass it off to our lawyer.

there is some rumor and potential interest that a japanese label might want to license the record from us for distro over there as well.......we are VERY excited about both of these deals.

and east coast tour will happen at some point, but for now, we just aren't sure when that will be.  we're hoping to do it before 2006 but we are so busy with other things that we aren't paying much attention to the tour.

regional touring will begin sooner.  we plan to do 4 days out at a time, or less....mainly across weekends for those in the band with day jobs.

we'll probably head south first since we have some friends down in texas that can get us shows with out any trouble.

a radio campaign is in the works as well, but it's in the very early stages of being anything other then conversations......we are attempting to do a 350 station college radio campaign soon.  we'll see if that happens.

release party is 1.5 weeks away......the count down begins.
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j.hall

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Re:I Can't Do It Captain, We Don't Have The Power
« Reply #21 on: June 17, 2005, 08:55:08 am »

We Can't Do It Captain, We Don't Have The Power

this is it folks, in two days, this record comes out and the journey begins.

three of the four club members are sick.  i'm not one of them.

they all have sore throats and feel like crap.  hopefully with some rest and stupid amounts of vitamin C the show on sunday will be ok.

we rehearsed for the last time on wednesday night and made our best attempt to work out the details of this show.

we plan to play the record in order minus the very last song which we never plan to play live.

this means we have to attempt to mimic the segues of one max lord (this is no easy task)

after we play the record, we will play some new songs and be done.

i think the whole thing will be a lot of fun.

i called blue collar press yesterday to ask where are shirts are and they informed me that we'd have them next tuesday.  i responded with, "um, the record comes out this weekend and you knew about the deadline for 6 weeks"

we discussed it briefly and they promised to get them done by today.

i wasn't super happy with them at the moment, but their print manager called me back two hours later informing me that he felt bad about dropping the ball and they changed over the whole line and ran our shirts right then.  they are ready for me to pick up at anytime today.

now that was cool of them to do that for us!!!!

the online store will probably launch today.....maybe tomorrow, we aren't quite sure at the moment.  at the latest it will be up on the release date of June 19th.

i'll post a link for those interested.

we are closer to inking this distro deal that's in the works, and the label has invited us to play a huge festival with their other bands in august.  we are really excited to be treated this well from the label, especially prior to any deal be signed.....i think we've found a great home with them.

there is continuing discussion of an east coast tour, but we can't seem to nail down when to go......regional dates are going to start happening once we get on the back side of this release party.

running this whole thing ourselves has been a lot of work and pretty stressful, this sunday is going to be a huge relief.

we have an ad running on the entercom station that's sponsoring the release party, and they have been giving away "promo" CD's for about 2 weeks now.

everything is falling into place nicely.
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j.hall

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Re:Give Us Your Money, We Have Stuff
« Reply #22 on: June 17, 2005, 03:24:01 pm »

Give Us Your Money, We Have Stuff

ok guys. here it is.  pre-order for ya'll only.

The Secret Club Presents, The Sunday Suite

we are going to add a button set, a fifth shirt, girl cut shirts, and a nice 11x17 screened poster eventually.  probably sooner rather then later.
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j.hall

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Re:...And I'm Spent!
« Reply #23 on: June 21, 2005, 03:25:59 pm »

...And I'm Spent!

the release party was awesome.  the radio station did an amazing job at standing behind us and giving us a great show to play.  

i think it was or best performace to date.  since our singer/guitar player has made some MASSIVE changes in his life, we've noticed a much more cohessiveness to the live show.  it's close to spot on, but still needs fine tuning.....ANYWAY.

we sold a BUNCH of merch, and people really loved the new material which had only been performed sparingly until sunday night.

so that's it.  the record is out, and now it's time to get going on selling records and playing shows.

we have some BMI stuff to deal with, which i'll continue to post here about.

the distro deal is getting much closer to being real, which i'll post about when i actually have details i can speak on.

and the virgin records thing is still happening, at least last i was told.

so......it's time to get moving.
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j.hall

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Re:Can The Band March On?
« Reply #24 on: August 01, 2005, 08:23:17 am »

Can The Band March On?

ok, i haven't updated this in a long time.

current events.  we still have not signed our distro deal, and things seem to be dragging on ever so slowly in that department.  can't say i'm too surprised by the whole deal.

we've spent tons of money getting the band off the ground (CD's merch, blah blah blah) and now we aren't doing a whole lot about it.

we planned on promoting the record together with the distro label but that's still in the works and we're sitting on a record.  so, we decided to stop waiting around and get to work.

we have tons of shows coming up in and out of town.

but first, let me tell you what just made all these shows that much more interesting for us.

on friday, i left town for a float trip (this is when you sit in a canoe and float down a river and drink lots of beer and do nothing.)

the guys palyed a private party as a three piece for a few hundred people.  the show went well according to them.

they all load out and our singer heads around the corner to grab one last beer with a friend.

about an hour later he comes back to his car to find his 4x12, amp, and both guitars are missing.  i guess his pedals and cables weren't worth taking as they left those behind.

so.  we have a show tonight, we leave for new hampshire (for a festival) on wednesday, then we have a show on the 10th and the 12th, and our september calendar is filling up.

there is no time to be bummed out, and no time to waste.  he's been guitar shopping for two days straight now.  got a sweet deal on an ampeg reverb rocket half stack that he basically did just for the 4x12 and we're borrowing guitars for the moment.

so, we're going to hit the pawn shops and watch ebay and not hold our breath that we'll ever see any of that gear ever again.

on top of all this, we're booking a short 9 day tour in november and it's just about to drive me crazy.  why is it that booking people at clubs prefer to never return a phone call or email?

this has to be the most maddening thing EVER.

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j.hall

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Re:Reclaiming Our Pride....
« Reply #25 on: August 15, 2005, 10:32:56 am »

Reclaiming Our Pride....

so, we all went out to Gunstock, New Hampshire to rock a big festival.

we had a blast, the weather was beautiful, the people were very generious and very cool, we learned more then we dreamed we would, and we lost more money then i care to think about.

playing outside with the sun beating down on you does two things.

1.  after a few songs, you get very tired and start to play really sloppy.

2.  makes you sweat so bad you can hardly hold a pick let alone stay standing up.

after a string of near nightmare situations (running out of gas in the middle of no where, major delays in the airport, being told we might not see our guitars again, not making enough money for food....) we returned home depressed, and relieved, and much smarter.

we spoke with our "courting" label a bit a decided that it would better for both parties to simply not do this deal.  it actually came down to a reality check more then anything.  the band wants to go a certain direction and the label has other bands on their roster hammering them for more stuff.  we would end up not getting the promo budget we wanted, and the label would not be able to promote the record the way they would need to in order to sell units.  we feel much better about this then it would seem.  the guys at the label are friends of mine, and i'd rather have every one be honest then just do a deal that turns sour.

we got back to KC, had one day off, and jumped into 3 straight shows.

the first show was the worst we've ever played in this band's life.  i mean, it was straight up AWFUL.  i'm sure half of it was all the tension from tanking in new hampshire.  the other half was prehaps all of us being pretty tired from hours of delays in airports......

anyway....things looked pretty grim that night.  it was literally, a band falling apart at the seam.  i wasn't sure if we were going to hold on.

that night, we made 30 dollars at the door, we played for the other bands and the bar staff......YIPPPPPPEEEEEEEE....

we all talked to each other randomly, and we flushed out some problems and hoped the next night would be better.

next night was a promotion for the radio station that loves us....we played better, but not awesome and we managed to clear about 380.  that really brought our spirits up.

the next night proved that we still had it.  we played as a band, a unit pulsing with the songs.....

we did about 450 that night so all in all, we're feeling great.  spirits are high, and we're paying back the band faster then we thought we would.

our current plan is to start hitting the midwest and growing the fan base.

a search for a new label is on.  we want another distro deal so we can maintain ownership of this record.

that's all for now.
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j.hall

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Re:Can I Please Catch My Breath
« Reply #26 on: September 02, 2005, 03:27:28 pm »

Can I Please Catch My Breath

ok, many things have happened.

first, the DJ at the big radio station that has been helping us so much made a passing comment about wanting to take on our booking, and possibly even some management type duties.  we talked as a band at great length about this, talk with her and decided to see how it goes.

we worked out a "trial run" type deal.  she has 6 months to prove herself to us.  we will pay her for her efforts every step of the way.  this band has never once asked for any one to work for us for free, we aren't going to start now.

since she has come on board, we've been playing TONS of shows.  we went from playing once or twice a month to about 6 to 8 times.

we hardly have time to practice anymore.

we're playing all over the KC area and she's pushing us south in november.  the shows are getting bigger and bigger and the money is really starting to be awesome.

our LLC is all set up and we have a bank account now.  too much money has been coming in for us to just pass it off.  we have to file taxes this year, there's no getting around it.

with that in mind, we're also talking with our bank about becoming a credit card merchant.  we've had a few people ask if we take credit cards for merch and we want their money just the same.

we also figure that by taking CCs more people will impulse buy and that's a good thing.

since we've gotten so busy, we've put our label plans on hold.  the current plan was to keep looking for a label that would pick up the distro of this record, but i think we're back to running it on our own.  which gives us about 350 copies of the record we pressed for radio/promo use.  we planned to pass these off to our label so they could do the work for us and we could write off the expense.  we're trying to decide if a radio prmoter should be hired, or if we want to wait and just do magazine reviews and internet reviews for now.

things are looking pretty positive.  people are responding to this record in ways i never imagined.  i'm honestly shocked that so many people like it, and have even identified with it's concept.  
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j.hall

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Re:Copyright Me
« Reply #27 on: October 17, 2005, 11:39:37 am »

Copyright Me

so, first off....i typed this really great post for this update and my browser crashed and i lost it all......SUCK.

so this is the four days later, abridged version.

i got all the copyright info back from the library of congress....apparently i filled it out wrong.  really i tried to make it simple but those people actually open up your CD and read the liner notes.  i was stupid enough to go song by song and fill out who wrote the words and lyrics.  so they sent my form back and told me to fill out 5 forms total for each combination of people noted in the liner notes.....SUCK.

so that took a few hours but i learned something helpful.  if you go to the library of congress website you can download the forms you need as pdfs.  the government was actually smart enough to create fields in the pdfs so you simply click in the field and type what you need to type.

you have to print the form front and back on one sheet but at least it looks nice and neat.

aside from all that, we are taking a short break to work on the new record (material for it that is) hopefully in mid december we'll start cutting some demos.  we need to rest a bit anyway.  every one was just getting stressed with our show schedule as packed as it was.

i'm starting to get frustrated with our "marketing" situation.  basically, we have none.

we pressed an extra 500 copies of our record for promotional use and haven't done squat with them.  no radio station mailings, no zine reviews.....just a few sent out to freinds and family.

the first thought was we would hand these off to the label that picks up our distro.  this would offset the marketing budget and get us to re-coup faster....

now we aren't even looking for a distro label and have boxes of these promos collecting dust.  it's pretty frustrating in the sense of we just don't have time to deal with it, nor do we have money to hire a radio promoter.

not sure what we'll do......anybody with a record label and good marketing/distro.....sign us please!!!!!!!!!!

midwest touring will begin next year, and a tenative plan for some east coast dates is still being discussed.

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j.hall

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Re:Taking Shape
« Reply #28 on: November 30, 2005, 11:57:04 am »

Taking Shape

Ok, so these posts are getting far between and nothing is really happening of too much note.  I can’t say I’m really all that surprised that we still don’t have distribution.

The past few months we have laid low, taken some time to ourselves and done a lot of writing for the new record.  We have about 6 tunes flushed out as a band and another two in various forms of completion.  Things are progressing really well.

We plan to get back to work in January and start doing some touring in late February.  The goal is to make 2006 more focused and better planned.  We spent the back half of 2005 just playing every show we can get, and not really paying much attention to what we were doing to market ourselves.  That was cool for a while, but we need to attempt to be more mindful if we are going to get anything done.

I have still heard nothing from the copyright office, so I’ll have to just keep you all in the loop on that whole thing.  I plan to be a bit smarter about how I do the liner notes for the next record.

I guess the only real update here is that we’re still a band, and every one needs to go buy our stuff……HAHAHAHA
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j.hall

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The New Year
« Reply #29 on: January 19, 2006, 02:00:31 pm »

The New Year

2006 is moving sorta slow for us, but iin march we head out to start some regional touring.  we'll be out for a short 5 days.

right now the tour looks something like this.

March 1st - St. Louis, MO (Off Broadway)
March 2nd - Nashville, TN (Rocketown)
March 3rd - Memphis, TN
March 4th - Little Rock, AR (Juanitas)
March 5th - Kansas City, MO

if you live in any of these towns (or close to them) you are required to come to the show and talk to me, maybe even give us a floor to sleep on)

we will begin mailing out promos to on-line magazines and real zines for reviews.  still thinking about radio promotion and what to do there.

we have a little more then half of the next record flushed out.

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