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When going into a project we always bring expectations which is a belief that something will be in a certain way based on assumptions or previous experience.

We know that “to be signed by a label” is a highly expected goal and there are a lot of dreams involved when releasing music. Therefore, we need to be very delicate when handling expectations.

Everyone is excited about their new project. We don’t want you to settle for a lower goal than you want, but at the same time, we need to be realistic in order to not be disappointed later on.

A music project is not as straightforward as many other business projects. There are no guarantees since we are dependent on so many other external factors. However, you can always expect that we will work as efficiently as possible, prioritize the work that we believe is best for you, and take responsibility for when stuff goes wrong. We have processes in place to deliver as consistently as possible, but this will still not mean that all our projects will be successful.

We don’t work as a traditional label, and all parties must have realistic expectations based on the available resources, the capabilities of our team, and the desired outcomes.

We feel that it is important to say this upfront so that you don’t rush into this project with false hopes. We only want to sign artists who understand how we work and are a good fit for working together. That’s why we made a list of things we think is great to know before signing a project with us.

You should know this before signing a project with us

  • We are not your traditional record label that takes all the risk for the artist and does all the work. In fact, traditional labels will just do “everything” for the already successful ones. We do the work we are set to do for all our artists according to the project scope that we’ve agreed upon.
  • Our goal is not to “break” your artist career. It’s to take you to the next level with more opportunities after a project with us than before. To break a career is so connected to external factors and sometimes pure luck which makes it an impossible goal. However, if we do things according to our process we seldom fall short of reaching the next level. Building an artist’s career takes time!
  • It is always difficult to predict how a release will go. Sometimes it does not go as we predicted, and sometimes a release does not meet your expectations. We, however, always do our best and we always make sure that a release has the best prerequisites to be successful.
  • We build for the long term and don’t just focus on the release date and the week after. And that’s a good thing! This means that you sometimes will be disappointed in streams within a couple of days but there is no need to worry.
  • Not all of our releases are successful, sometimes we have done an equal amount of work for two similar releases, where one took off and the other one didn’t. We are not in control of the results, only our efforts in increasing our network, resources, and tools to reach out to our artists.
  • We often deliver quite consistent results. It’s because we have pretty solid processes. However, this will sometimes make us feel rigid or slow.
  • Our distribution phase is at least 45 days from all key deliverables being completed and approved until the release date. We always get this question so it’s better to be upfront from the beginning. This is why.
  • We have a monetary margin on the projects we do taking fewer risks than traditional labels. This is for us to keep investing in our business and to have a margin if things don’t go as expected and make it possible to take on upcoming artists early in their careers. We always strive to keep our projects as slim and efficient as possible and that’s why the last couple of years we have made an overall +-0 result for the business or a slightly negative result. We are a business and have a goal to make a profit but not in absurdum, and it’s not our highest priority.
  • A project with us will probably be a slower process than if you go alone. Stating the quote. “If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far go with a team”.
  • We expect that you as an artist shall do a lot of work on the project yourself. This is to optimize the costs of a project. If we have to do everything it would probably be quite costly. We focus only on the things that we believe we can make a big difference by doing and some things are simply better and more efficient if you do them yourself.
  • We give honest feedback according to the feedback process. Sometimes you won’t agree with us and that’s fine. You should know that we always mean well and have no intention to hurt your feelings. If you don’t want any feedback that’s fine as well, as long as we know about it beforehand.
  • We are humans and we will make mistakes. If you feel that something is wrong we would like to hear it as soon as possible. That’s how we develop and keep ourselves from making the mistake twice.
  • We don’t have all the answers. But we strive to learn.
  • We are not a PR firm that will contact our friends in old-school media in our projects. This is because we have found these to give little results in taking your career forward and are very time-consuming. If your local newspaper must write about you, it might be better to do it on your own or engage a pure PR firm. We have worked with several firms with varied results.
  • We don’t share new releases as posts on our social media (in the typical ways you can see other record labels do). We made this for a long long while, realizing that our audience is mainly artists looking for content to help their careers rather than new releases. Hence, we rationalized it away since it takes a lot of time to manage. Instead, we can use this time to focus on things where we can make a greater impact. Please read our article on how we use social media in collaboration with our artists.
  • We try to minimize administrative work and keep meetings to a minimum to be as efficient as possible. So if we turn down a meeting or make a specific report on a request, this is not to be rude or lazy, it’s to focus on being as efficient as possible. However, sometimes a meeting or a report is more efficient than without (and then we will do it).

Risk Management

Some common pitfalls during a project

We have made quite a lot of release projects during our short history in the music business. Sometimes things go wrong and here are some of the reasons.

Common pitfall Impact Likelihood Principle for reducing impact/likelihood
Misaligned scope with artist goals (both doing too much and too little) Unhappy artist. Project feels expensive or the label doesn’t have the resources to fulfill artist goals. Medium Expectations agreement.
Our playlisting strategy
Change requests.
Producer, Artist or Label is late/slow with feedback or deliveries. Project feels slow Medium Feedback process document
Start up meeting
Quality checked partners
New producers / lack of understanding of the feedback process Misunderstandings, slower projects, deliveries need to be redone, creating frustrations. Low Partner checklist
Feedback process document
Artist wants to release now(!) Too little time between key deliveries and release date Sub-optimal releases, stressed artists and labels, less listeners and career growth. High 45 days principle
Non structured communications Missed information and tasks, slower projects, sub optimal results. Medium Communication guidelines
Start-up meeting
Artist is expecting to break their career Unhappy artist Low Expectations agreement
Our playlisting strategy
Artist don’t want feedback and hasn’t communicated this. Frustrated label, producer and artist Low Start-up meeting.
Expectations agreement
Label don’t do what should be expected and stated in contract. Doesn’t happen often, but often due to internal miscommunication or process error Unhappy artist. Stressed label. Time spent on improving. Low Change requests.
Single contact person.
Expectations of results within a week after release Stressed artist. Time spent on clearing expectations rather than on things that drive career growth.. Medium Expectations agreement
Our playlisting strategy
Expectations of more listeners just because the artist is talented. Unhappy artist Medium Expectations agreement
Artist don’t understand or do the work necessary Sub-optimal results Medium Paths
How to enhance my release?
Expectations agreement
Misalignment of our strategies and artist goals Frustrated artist, stressed label, deliveries according to process but artist wanted something else making it hard to live up to expectations. Medium Expectations agreement
Communication before signing
Human errors Sometimes we make mistakes and sometimes things happen that we couldn’t plan. Sub-optimal results. Higher costs. Low Taking responsibility.
Deal with problems as they happen.
Reflect and improve for now and future.
Risk costs and margin built in every budget.
Expectation that media and blog coverage will give listeners and break careers. Frustrated artist High Expectations agreement.