This is a topic I have been pretty adamant about for many years now.
Today we are going to talk about why it is okay for you as an artist to use multiple net labels to host your free music download.
First, I want to make it clear that it is every Net Label’s right to want your release to be exclusive to their label. A Net Label with exclusive releases is one that stands out in a crowd.
Just because a Net Label wants your release to be exclusive to their label doesn’t mean you have to, or that you even should. This is why.
Net Labels do not own the rights to your art. You do.
Normal Record Labels sign law binding contracts with artists and own the rights to most of their artist’s material. In return for this, they provide the artist with royalties, a very large amount of outreach, hook their artists up with shows, alot of times they will help with expenses such as recording costs and travel costs (but not always) ect.
Point being, they have alot to offer in return. Which is why most artists sign away their rights to these bigger labels. Net Labels typically will not supply any of these benefits whatsoever.
Net Labels are ran by hobbyists and enthusiasts for the most part, for free. Alot of times they use a third party hosting service such as archive.org, bandcamp, or media fire, and put your music out there on the net for everyone to download freely. It’s a beautiful thing really.
Net Labels have a limited out reach. Their outreach usually depends on their networking skills and how much time they have put into their resources and contacts.
Alot of netlabels have a very small outreach, while others have a fairly large outreach. But none of these labels usually have an outreach that compare to a legitimate record label.
Now the outreach thing is key to this topic.
Each Net Label typically has it’s own unique outreach and fan base. Every label you host your release on is targeting a different group of people (for the most part).
This is not ALWAYS the case. There are certainly Net Labels out there that share alot of the same followers. But, there are countless Net Labels in the world, and most of them do in fact have an outreach that they uniquely created over time.
This is the main reason why you as an artist should host your music on as many labels as you see fit. IT FURTHERS YOUR OWN OUTREACH.
As a free artist, it is important for you to know that you always hold the power over your content unless you sign a legal contract stating otherwise.
If you release an album or song on a Net Label that requests exclusive releases and decide later on down the road that you would like to try another avenue THEN DO SO. It is your right. The Net Label has the right to belly ache and maybe even take your release out of it’s free catalog BUT THAT’S IT.
Don’t ever take flack from a Net Label owner who is mad at you for doing whatever you please with your own music.
I do recommend that you keep this in mind when you are shopping for labels to host your work though. I personally research and avoid labels that requests exclusive releases. Like I said before, even though it is an unrealistic expectation for any net label to have exclusive releases, it is still their right to try. It is their label after all.
Let me list the reasons why Net Labels do not deserve exclusive rights to your content.
- You own the rights to your music unless a legal agreement has been made.
- Net Labels do not supply you with the same benefits as a real Record Label.
- Net Labels have limited outreach
Here are the reasons why you SHOULD seek multiple Net Labels to host your release.
- It furthers your outreach and allows you to target a more diverse fan base.
- You worked hard on your music and are giving it out for free!
- It helps you meet and make friends with alot of cool Net Label owners.
I am not writing this to bash Net Label owners. I have a deep respect for people that volunteer their time to help underground artists gain outreach. I ran a net label for three years myself and I know what these guys go through for artists like you and I.
When I was running my Net Label, alot of the artists on my label would contact me and ask me if it was okay that they submit their release to another label. Even though I thought it was kind for them to consider me, I always told them that the best thing to do was to submit their music to as many Net Labels as they possibly could to gain a wider audience.
And that’s the bottom line.
Keep digging that fucking tunnel. ❤