<iframe src="//www.googletagmanager.com/ns.html?id=GTM-TMFBBP" height="0" width="0" style="display:none;visibility:hidden"> Sonicbids Blog - Music Career Advice and Gigs | Rob Lanterman
Expert Music Career Advice For DIY Musicians
4 Times You Shouldn't Take the Gig
The Number One Mistake Bands Make Right After Booking a Gig
The Ultimate EQ Cheat Sheet for Every Common Instrument
15 Reality Checks Young Artists Need to Hear

Be Your Own Record Label: Everything You Need to Know About Distribution

Photo by Barry Blackburn via Shutterstock

When I started my record label in 2015, I didn’t really know what I was doing, and it’s been a series of trial and error ever since. However, I'm repeatedly reminded of something Kurt Ballou (of Converge fame) said in an interview with Party Smasher Inc. about making one’s own opportunities: “Pretend you know what you’re doing until you do.”

If you want to start a label, or do a label’s functional job for your own musical project, just start doing it and figure it out as you go. Here are some things that I'm doing as a label owner that might help you and save you some time if you choose to take this path as well.

I’ve decided to split my year’s worth of knowledge into two sections: distribution and promotion. This segment will be about distribution. (Note: this is the step you typically take after pressing a record. For more on pressing a record, see my last Sonicbids article here.)

The Ultimate Guide to Pressing Physical Copies of Your Album: Vinyl, CDs, Cassettes, and More

Image via opendoorrecords.org; used with permission

Pressing an album is something that everyone wants to do, but it’s hard to do it effectively. Having physical copies of your music is important and rewarding; listeners like having something in their hands, as it represents ownership, and there’s really nothing like holding your own record. While digital downloads are probably a better way to get your music to people’s ears, physical copies are memorabilia for showgoers. Moreover, if they like your live set, they’ll be more likely to buy your record.

That said, there are a lot of ways to get your record into people’s hands, not via just their iTunes library.

Avoid Band Van Problems With These Crucial Pre-Tour Tips

Image via flypaper.soundfly.com

This article originally appeared on Soundfly.


This last January, some very good friends of mine in the Arizona band Sundressed woke up in Salt Lake City to find their trailer stolen. It was later found, but all the gear was emptied, and they were out almost $10,000. On top of that, their tourmates, Papertowns., had their van break down in California and had to drop off for close to half of the tour.

I’m no stranger to van problems, and while I’ve never actually been robbed on tour, several of my friends have been. It sucks, but it has also made me contemplate just about every possible worst-case van scenario when it comes to touring, and I now feel that much more prepared. I don’t just up and go anymore. Here are a few, often overlooked, things to think about when getting your tour van road-ready.

The 7 Kinds of People You Stay With on Tour

Image via pandastew.com

As I've written about before, one of the easiest ways to save money on tour is to avoid staying at a hotel and simply crash on someone's floor. It's a tradition for DIY musicians and a great idea if you're someone nobody's ever heard of.

Most people I've stayed with on tour are really great (see Mr. Let-Me-Make-You-Breakfast or Mr. Cool), but everyone has stories where they would have been more than happy to just sleep in the van for a night. Most people I know who tour would agree that the people I've described here are accurate descriptions of situations they've been in or heard of, so let's take a look at the selection of people you stay with on tour.

Top 4 Ways to Prevent Common DIY Touring Disasters

Image courtesy of the author

Every band I know that's been on a DIY tour has some crazy story about a show, a drive, or a place they stayed where things went awry, and they had to quickly figure a way out of it before they got themselves hurt. I've definitely had my own share of van breakdowns, sketchy houses and venues, and encounters with crazy, sometimes dangerous people on the road. I'm still learning about how to avoid those situations altogether, but here are four tips I've received from other bands and lessons my own personal experience has taught me about avoiding disasters while on tour.