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Music Festivals Run by Record Labels.

Andy Robertson

There are numerous smaller niche music festivals that take place in Europe and the United State every year that have been organised by record labels. Why are record labels running their own festivals and how can they turn this into a good revenue stream for their business for future survival.


The record label industry is dominated by a handful of corporate players who have significant funds available to sign the best and most talented artists. However, advances in technology have levelled the playing field enabling smaller independent record labels to operate and thrive. Most independent record labels are run by a handful of passionate individuals and it can be challenging for them to make any serious money. Numerous independent labels are turning to music festivals as a way of earning additional revenue.

How Record Labels Make Money. 
Record labels must sign up talent and build their portfolio of material to become commercially viable. Niche labels often specialise in a particular genre of music and this helps with their business focus. Artists will be asked to sign a legally binding agreement that allows the label to distribute their music and in return the artist receives royalties for material sold through distributors or digitally. It is common for revenue to be about 60% of the retail price which is further split between the artist and the record label. Advances given to artists are rare with the smaller independent labels and are usually only found with the corporate players. It can be risky for smaller labels as they only recoup that advance money from future sales revenue. Record labels can earn revenue from publishing rights so if an artist moves to a bigger label, they retain the rights to the content composition, not just the actual recordings. Independent labels can also earn a reasonable income form merchandise sales, however this will be shared with the artist.

New Revenue Streams. 
As most record labels have great industry contacts it is not unusual to find them working as promoters, agents or publicists and they can earn good fees and commission on any deals done. This can extend to organising one off concerts and tours for the artists they manage however; many independent labels are now moving into the festival business. Labels that manage multiple artists operating in the same genre have access to a ready-made line-up by using their own signed contracted artists. This negates the need to curate external artists and any revenue earned will go to the label and the artists. This is very common for record labels managing artists niche genres like ‘metal’ and ‘hip-hop' for example. By focussing on these niche genres, the labels can more easily promote their festivals to a loyal fan base of customers that already purchased the artist’s material and merchandise.

For record labels planning their own festival using a software management platform like Festival Pro gives them all the functionality they need manage every aspect of their event logistics. The guys who are responsible for this software have been in the front line of event management for many years and the features are built from that experience and are performance artists themselves. The Festival Pro platform is easy to use and has comprehensive features with specific modules for managing artists, contractors, venues/stages, vendors, volunteers, sponsors, guestlists, ticketing, cashless payments and contactless ordering.

Photo by picjumbo via Pexels

Andy Robertson
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