We don’t see ourselves as a traditional Record Label. We’re rather an upcoming music company in a broader perspective. Think of a combination between a record label, media company, and innovation hub.
When describing our differences, we often get a great response on our way of working and vision. That is, helping as many artists as possible get to the next level in their music career. Sometimes though, we stumble upon people that have opinions like “You are not a ‘real’ Record Label”. They have questions about how and why we work as we do.
The term “Record Label” often refers to a very traditional way of finding help and distributing music. There’s an expectation of breaking you as an artist, giving large advances, and receiving recoups. While the record label intends to make a big profit on your behalf, your thoughts are often secondary to market interests. This way of working didn’t feel right to us, since we started as artists ourselves. We realized that there should be another way; a better and fairer way of being in the music business.
That insight lit the spark of this company. And that’s why we hesitate to call ourselves a record label in its traditional meaning.
When we started the company in 2013 (with empty hands and no resources), we actually didn’t have a clue on how we were supposed to do things the traditional way. So we did what felt logical to us. Since then we have worked on our model bit by bit during the years, making a lot of mistakes, and getting a lot of insights. Now we have a pretty good process on how to help you fulfill your goals. We take your own unique needs, preferences, and situation in mind.
From the start, we tried to do as many things for each artist as possible (always in the most professional way). But we realized artists are in different stages. Sometimes less is more, and there are different ways forward.
For us, it is important that you know which alternatives you have – and the pros and cons of these. What’s best for another artist doesn’t mean it’s the best thing for you, and there is no right or wrong way. Each model has its own implicit restrictions and opportunities. But expecting a traditional Record Label deal with us will only result in disappointment. (Even though we sometimes work in similar ways).
We like to present different paths so you can decide what’s right for you. As an artist, you have several alternatives (somewhat simplified). You can go DIY (do it yourself), find a traditional record label (major/indie), or hire an external team like a PR Company. Or you can go the Rexius Way. We try to explain the differences below.
Traditional Record Label
In the past, a Traditional Record Label typically financed your career. That’s not the case all the time nowadays, though. You get a knowledgeable team with experience and contacts in the music business. They coordinate the production, distribution, marketing, and enforcement of copyright. Scouting and artist development for new artists may also be among their responsibilities.
Since they finance a project, they usually take a large share of royalties and impose creative control (to various degrees). The first incoming royalties of a project (recoup) are also established by them.
Of course, this has changed in the last couple of 20 years due to the digitalization of the music business. Different variations exist. When talking to artists though, it seems like this is the typical expectation of what a Record Label does. The business has changed, but expectations haven’t.
- In it for the long run.
- Taking the “risk” by financing projects completely or partially. This is questionable though if they only give advances to established artists.
- Knowledge about the music industry and how to promote music and artists.
- Quality Stamp and Credibility.
- Building resources and connections beneficial for their whole roster.
- Recouping all costs until their own costs are covered + the risk of doing that.
- Typically take 70%+ Royalties after recoups are paid back (usually 90% for upcoming artists).
- Only going into projects where they see a clear financial benefit or viewed as “safe investments”. That’s why you see a lot of influencers start making music.
- Adjusting budgets according to how profitable an artist already is.
- Since they pay the bills, they want to get a profitable project. This means they want to control a lot of things, such as your creative freedom.
- Locks in their investment in long contracts.
- They usually recoup from all aspects of your artist career. Even those they’re not actively working with: Live gigs, sync, sponsorships, publishing, merch, etc.).
These companies often have a large network of contacts within their own niche, such as radio/newspaper/TV/blogs, etc. They work on a project-by-project basis, mostly with already-established artists.
To be able to do classic PR, the artist needs to bring something “interesting” to the table. I.e. an angle, or a pitch that is relevant beyond the music. When working with a PR company, you can’t just have great music. What is a newspaper supposed to write about “5 guys in a rock band releasing an album”?
- Do what you have agreed upon in a professional way.
- They often have a good network within their niche.
- Normally, they have great knowledge and competence within their niche.
- Working with projects they believe in (and have an angle). Their contacts can’t do anything if there isn’t anything beyond the music.
- You will probably receive 100% of royalties and other revenue regarding your artist career.
- Might see a PR project as something to do for 3 months and then go on. (They don’t have a long-term stake in the project or “skin in the game”.)
- Not directly affected by the project’s results.
- Often expensive.
- It’s normally very hard for an unknown artist to get the attention of a PR Company. Even if you have the resources to pay for their services.
- Might only work within a certain niche and not for the whole of your artist career.
DIY – Do it yourself
- You are in charge of your music career.
- You receive all revenue.
- You have creative control.
- Sometimes this way is faster. You don’t have a team to take into consideration when making decisions.
- You might extend your DIY efforts with a specific team where you lack experience.
- You have to do everything on your own.
- You might not have an objective person to give you advice, feedback, and mediate between band members (if you are one).
- You might not know what to do next.
- You have to fund everything on your own.
- You are not taken seriously by influential actors in the music business.
We adjust the way we work depending on where you are as an artist and what needs you have right now. Your actual needs are probably not what you think they are. So we will discuss with you, and give you advice on what we believe is the next step in your music career.
We focus on taking artists to the next level and work in a step-by-step way, trusting our processes. We are not promising dreams coming true or that you will break or make it. But you will get to the next level, and you can reach the next from there.
- Taking a long-term stake in the release projects without getting the artist locked in a long contract.
- Taking a helicopter vision of an artist’s career: Your music, branding, visuals, distribution, promotion, touring, merch and sales. Or just the specific parts you need help with.
- Knowledge about the industry from both an artist’s and a label’s perspective.
- Developing resources and connections beneficial for many artists.
- Subsidizing a project and taking a risk in return for royalties.
- You get the larger part of royalties.
- Flexible contracts according to your needs. Transparency of what will be done in a project, instead of a fuzzy contract with things to be decided later on (and added to the recoup).
- Recouping when there is a clear financial or tax benefit for you that’s is higher than the risk premium for a recoup.
- We only receive income from the things we’re actively working with.
- The model motivates both you and us since we both have a risk and reward.
- Quality stamp from a record label.
- We can work with projects that might not have a long-term profitable goal, or with niche genres. Other factors might be of higher worth for you than getting your money back.
- Setting up a team that is based on your needs.
- Growing company.
- Sometimes this requires that you have a budget and partially finance the project if you have a big vision.
- Getting fewer royalties than when working with a PR Company or DIY.
- We’re not as wealthy as the major labels (yet). We don’t have the same resources for recoups/advances as a major record label.