Record Labels 101

What is the Role of a Record Label?

A record label’s role is to grow artists and get their music into the hands of as many people as possible. There is an experienced and passionate team of people in the record labels that knows how to connect the dots in the major legal structure. With all the departments (production, distribution, marketing, promotion, communication, etc.) that work together, the record label guides artists’ projects and comes up with a plan that they feel like is the most exciting, unique, and effective plan possible. 

Independent Labels vs. Major Labels

Major labels are giant companies and have a bunch of different companies for their publishing, distribution, and marketing needs within the scope of their companies. Indie labels, on the other hand, have partnerships with other companies to meet those needs. 

Careers in Record Labels

Just like in touring, depending on the size of the label company, the careers in the recording industry will become specialized and individualized. The structure for an indie label crew starts with distribution, marketing, and sales. And as the company gets bigger, the crew branches out as production team, distribution team, marketing team, promotion team, and communication team. 

How to Start a Career in a Record Label?

It is all about getting to know people and reaching out. Send a message to someone in the industry or send an email, that goes a long way. At the end of the day, those connections are going to keep your opportunities coming in throughout your career. 

Make your research – explore and define what you want. Internships are a great way to start working at a record label. 

Requirements for Working at a Record Label

The basis of a record label’s work is teamwork; therefore, it is highly important that for someone who is interested in working at a record label to be a team player and to have great communication skills. Additionally, being detail-oriented and organized will help the good work going. 

We will get into details of how things work at a record label soon – but to give it a good start, here are some of the things you need to know:

What is a 360 Deal?

The 360 deal is a business deal between the record label company and the artist. The record label funds and participates in all the areas of an artist’s career from merchandise, touring, online streaming, etc., and in return, gets a percentage of the artist’s revenue. The 360 Deal creates an opportunity for record labels to be so much more involved and to give fans a better experience across the board. It also gives them a better understanding of how the different aspects of an artist’s career works. 

What is an Album Cycle?

Basically, when an artist releases their new album, they go on tour. But it doesn’t start there, nor does it end there. An album cycle campaign is the term used for all the steps of an album’s life span. It takes a lot of planning from figuring out fonts and colors to teasing music, announcing the album tour, whatever comes to mind. Nothing is made up as they go, it is all planned with the focus of giving fans the best experience possible. 


  •  The music industry really is a small world, and it is a relationship-based people business. You never know where an opportunity is going to come from, so never burn bridges. Maintaining the relationships that you have with people is important. 
  • Getting into this business is a trial-and-error thing. Sometimes things don’t work out for you, sometimes they do. It’s all part of the process. 
  • Rejection is a part of your journey in the music industry. Even if you end up being told “no”, it is still a good experience because you have put yourself out there and you have made a new connection. 
  • Just keep going, just keep trying. What is meant to find you is going to find you.
  •      At some point in your career, you might try new things that might be outside of your wheelhouse. Making that leap is important to stay creative and to stay passionate. 
  •   Your co-workers will be your friends and there are advantages as well as disadvantages to that. You need to find a work-life balance and structure everything because you might find yourself in situations where you disagree with something professionally. 

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