Category Archives: Management

How To Start Your Own Record Company by Lori Kozlowski

There are music lovers, and then there are music lovers. The thing that separates the casual vinyl buyer from the collector with 50,000 records. It’s that deep love that pushed Cheryl Pawelski to leave her first job in advertising to work in a record store.

She had such a curiosity about how records are made — both physically and figuratively — that she left Milwaukee and headed to Los Angeles to find out. Pawelski started as a temp at Capitol Records. She went on to spend 12 years at Capitol, became Vice President of Catalog Development at Concord Music Group, and then became Vice President of A&R at Rhino Entertainment.

The three-time Grammy nominee learned a great deal as a producer, saw the music industry change, took the lessons, and then built her own monolith.

“Labels are caught in a technological interruption. The scale is such that the labels can’t sustain as big as they are. I wanted to reduce the scale and be a conduit to the fans,” she said.

Starting a record label seems like an overwhelming task — the talent, the manufacturing, the contracts — even for a seasoned pro. But Omnivore Recordings is about examining what the market needs, meeting all the needs, paying attention to where industry pitfalls have happened, and remembering why you got into the business in the first place. It’s about keeping something alive.

Together with three partners — Dutch Cramblitt in sales and marketing, Brad Rosenberger in publishing and product, and Greg Allen in photography and design — the label was formed in 2010.

Without question, the music industry has changed — we are reminded of this all the time, as other industries look to the giant to figure out what went wrong and how they can avoid it.

“The music business was kind of co-opted by other businesses for their own profit. There’s a misnomer that ‘iTunes saved the music business’ or ‘Spotify is saving the music business.’ To me, they are just using the end product of the music business to sell hardware or subscriptions. That’s no longer the music business to me. The music business was about selling records and music, not about selling iPods,” Pawelski explained

“Our goal really is to sell music.”

Omnivore is not your father’s record company. It’s a multiple revenue stream enterprise with a publishing arm, an effort in music documentaries and films, and a consulting service that helps estates preserve and catalog their assets. Omnivore recordings are available on CD, vinyl, and digital. You can get their music directly from the label, at a record store, in iTunes, or on Amazon.

“We’re everywhere that you need to be, which is what you need to be,” she said.

Omnivore seeks ways to be unique. For instance, in honor of Record Store Day (an industry effort to drive traffic back into indie record stores) — her label is putting out two limited edition products: a vinyl 10-inch by the band The Knack, and a vintage Buck Owens coloring book that comes with a four-song flexi disc and a download card.

Artists on the label tend to be musicians she has worked with for a sustained period of time, or reactions to fluctuations in the marketplace. Musicians currently on the label include: Big Star, Alex Chilton, Jellyfish, The Knack, The Motels, and Buck Owens, among others.

“My job for a long time at big labels was to look for the holes in the bins. I ask myself: What’s the next chapter of the story I can tell for this artist?”

With less bottom line pressure and less overhead, her own venture has afforded Pawelski all the benefits entrepreneurs want — she’s able to be a lot more creative, take more chances, surprise fans, and produce high quality work every time.

How To Start Your Own Record Company


The Reality of Artist Development Deals at Major Labels

Owen Husney, a manager, talks about today’s lack of artist development by the record companies and the importance of a fan base. If bands want quality guidance from a label they need to have already proved themselves independently.


The Most Important Members of a Successful Artist Team by Paul Resnikoff

Everyone is always talking about the artists’ team, the critical support structure that helps spread the music and manage fanbases. But when it comes to successful artists, the most important and well-paid members are lawyers and accountants – then the webmaster, booking agent, manager, and everyone else.

The Future of Music Coalition recently interviewed thousands of artists about the composition of their team, and this is what a few hundred, high-earning artists said.  These are full-time artists making more than $100,000 a year with over 90% of that coming directly from their music.  And outside of the band members themselves, these were the roles designated most (in terms of the percentage of respondents indicating that these people were members of their team).


Accountants & Attorneys: The Most Important Members of a Successful Artist Team…


Importance of Touring, Musical cycles & Authenticity w/ Music

Skepta & @Amarudontv talk about the importance of perfoming as a artists, not being concerned about musical trends on the radio & authenticity in the music you create to keep the connection with your fans + more.

Advice For Artists & Maximising Revenue Streams

Music Legend Terry Lewis sits down with Amaru, for part 3 of Amaru Don TV’S “Industry stakeholders” series. In ths clip we discuss ways artists can improve their chances to succeed in the music business & the various revenue streams you can exploit as an artist.

Revenue Streams and Expenses

Oli Isaacs, of artist management company This Is Music, introduces the workshop. In order for an artist to generate enough revenue to live, Isaacs says the project must be treated like any other business, with a budget, realistic goals and business plan.

How to Start A Record Label

Learn the elements of how to start a record label from veteran industry expert Bro. Steve Harris. Special guest appearance by Donald Passman, Vickie Lataillade and Kerry Douglas.

Master P explains how he became successful independently

While on the set his movie I Got The Hook-Up in Soutch Central Los Angelos, Percy “Master P” Miller discusses how he plans to take over the film industry with the same business model that enabled him to have vast amounts of independent success in the music industry. Take notes.

5 Ways Your Manager Can Screw Up Your Career by Robin Davey

Top51) They update your social networks as if they’re you

Your fans are not dumb, they know your music probably better than you do, and they can also tell when it is you tweeting or if someone else is doing it. It is fine for others to post general information, gig dates, TV appearances etc. But unless it is your own words, don’t let it get embellish it with badly worded faked enthusiasm, written in an attempt to be “down with the kids”.

2) Studies everything the band puts out through a microscope

The new music business is about being in the moment. Being too careful about what goes out and worrying if something truly represents the way the bands image should be portrayed, invariably ends up missing the core essence it was striving for in the first place. The best way to ensure the purest message and connective message gets out, is to encourage the band to be spontaneous and speak their minds. Sure a little guidance doesn’t go amiss, but if a manager finds the need to censor their artists through worry that they should say the wrong thing, shouldn’t be managing that band. Decisions made by a committee are decidedly old school in a bad way. A truly great artist will know how to connect with their audience, through their music and through what they say. Alternatively they will know when to shut up and let the music do the talking.

3) Insists on adding a “Call to Action” to everything

A call to action should never go further than making great content. Sure the ability to share what you have made should be easily visible via a tweet button or embed code. But people today are savvy when it comes to putting content on their own page, and they do it when they love the music or video you have created. “Call to Action” is a term for those who are out of touch with how people use social networks and interact with their peers. A call to action cheapens you and your band and adds an air of desperation. When you make content that is good enough to go viral, an amazing thing happens, other people do your promotion for you without being told to do so.

4) They spend $10,000 of your money making one video

If you have a video budget of $10,000 for the album, then use that to make 10 videos, not just one. Money doesn’t buy viral, just because it looks expensive doesn’t mean shit in today’s world. It is the idea that counts and the purity of how the band is portrayed. Even if you get 10,000 plays on a video, which is a healthy number, is it really worth $1 per person? More than likely the video will only get 1,000 plays, which ends up costing $10 a person. You would be better off standing outside Best Buy and paying people $10 to take a copy of your album, but that would be ridiculous right? Well, so is spending all that money on one music video.

5) Their business plan includes getting a record deal, and licensing music to films and TV

Your manager should be well aware that these things are highly unlikely to happen, and even if they do, unlikely to be lucrative.

A business plan should be based on two things:

1)   Getting traffic to your website
2)   Getting people to your gigs

Because synchronizations earn instant money, they are seen by managers as a way to ensure return on investment. But a manager’s job is to create a platform for you to build a lasting career on. This is not achieved by getting a song on a soundtrack. It is achieved by the greater exposure that these placements bring, being capitalized on through accessibility to other engaging content created outside of the synchronization opportunity. In other words those drawn in by hearing you song on a movie, have a plethora of content to engage them once they get to your site or search you on Youtube. Movie synchronizations are a bonus not a business plan. And as for record deals, if I even have to explain that to you, you are in the wrong business.

5 Ways Your Manager Can Screw Up Your Career by Robin Davey

Music Industry 101 Pt.2: Emergence of the “360 Deal”

Back again is music industry vet, Mr. Anthony Hubbard to drop more science about the game, and specifically the evolution of the “360 Deal”. A must see for anyone who watched part 1, and is serious about breaking into and maintaining in the music game.

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