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Det_Morkettall
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 610
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Wed Nov 28, 2012 8:52 pm 
 

Hey there, anyone have tips for newly-starting distro owners? I'm looking to make my business at least sustainable (yes, business; I am in it as a business venture), but I'm not exactly sure what I should do.

Anyone have tips on:

* Calculating costs/profit
* How to know when to sell
* How to get your distro known
etc.

Let me know if you have any info, thanks!

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Det_Morkettall
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 610
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 4:48 pm 
 

Bump.

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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 4907
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 5:46 pm 
 

Know where you can't compete with larger businesses and beat them where they can't compete. Your selection is going to be very limited, your prices on releases they have will rarely be able to beat them, your shipping costs will be higher as you won't have the same volume discounts. You need to appeal to an audience and set yourself apart - small niche(s) with limited quantities and distribution, things that competitors won't have including formats like cassettes and releases from foreign markets. There are quite a few bands and labels who have thousands of fans across the world but basically no distribution in North America, or very few, lesser known distros. If it's hard for you to find them and hard for them to find you, if you serve them well you will earn their loyalty.

The quality of the music that you sell is important for this, so you should know it well. You'll be some sort of excavator and purveyor of nearly unknown bands. You'll need to find things that people want to get and let them know that they want to get it, and you'll need to get in touch with them and let them know why they should buy from you. Being a good merchant with a highly specialized product is the best way to do this.

Alternately, you can try to find a way to compete with larger distros and stores on more prominent bands. You'll need a lot of money to invest at the start and it'll be similarly difficult to earn customers. Most people who start distros and buy up product end up selling it back at a discount within a year.

Calculating costs and profit? Basic bookkeeping and the ability to not be bothered by sunken costs and a difficult market.

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Det_Morkettall
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 610
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:24 pm 
 

Thanks a ton! Do you think mainly putting out rereleases of old, forgotten black/death/doom releases on tape and CD would be a cool idea? Mainly just taking really neglected (though truly musically deep) demos and compilations and remastering them for tape or CD, then rereleasing them, sorta thing. Does that seem like it might be a good niche market?

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11979
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:37 pm 
 

Yea that's fine and dandy, there are quite a few labels gobbling up those releases and you also have to do all the legal paper work to re-release those albums. Finding out who owns the rights to the songs, working out whatever deal you can with them and then have the proper paperwork signed to allow you to re-release it. I don't have first hand exp in this but I've heard plenty enough of it from Matt from DDR. It's not any walk in the park by any means.
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http://www.cavepaints.com <--Horrid art and musics.
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Zodijackyl
Lazy Wizard

Joined: Wed Apr 30, 2008 5:39 pm
Posts: 4907
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:49 pm 
 

There's certainly a market for re-releases, and while many gems have been dug up, there's ton that haven't been re-released. If you have an extensive knowledge of these, you can contact the bands, handle the paperwork (you'll probably want to enlist an entertainment attorney's office for this), and you know where to find people interested in buying them, then yes, it's a viable plan.

It requires a lot of hard work, time, and persistence to succeed in doing this, and you'll probably need to build up a reputation to get going strong. You should probably also consider having some new bands along with all of these re-releases. You can also consider licensing other releases for tape from small labels.

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ShaolinLambKiller
King Asshole

Joined: Fri Dec 07, 2007 6:10 pm
Posts: 11979
Location: United States
PostPosted: Thu Nov 29, 2012 7:59 pm 
 

Also like had said before you should have a ton of investment capital into it. Bringing up Matt again... now DDR has been getting larger and larger as time goes on... but he doesn't turn a profit on it where it supports him and anything he does make money on goes right back in to the next release. So if you are doing this more so cause you think that you'll have a nest egg where you can just depend on your distro/label for support.... ain't going to work.
_________________
A bunch of mp3s is not a collection of anything.
http://www.cavepaints.com <--Horrid art and musics.
http://www.facebook.com/MaulerCustomCabs <--- huge heavy/loud boxes I build.
http://speedritualrecords.storenvy.com/ Check out my music here

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GTog
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:35 pm
Posts: 411
Location: United States
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 5:51 pm 
 

To run an above board business, you'll need a DBA or other tax ID. Then get an accountant who is not a pal or part of some chain. Obsessively keep track of every penny you spend and what you spend it on, even if you don't think it counts as a business expense. If your business is home based you'll be amazed what you can deduct.

For merchandise, you could always contact some of those European or Asian microlabels that already have an established audience, but no North America distributor.

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Det_Morkettall
Metalhead

Joined: Wed Dec 29, 2010 12:02 am
Posts: 610
Location: Canada
PostPosted: Fri Nov 30, 2012 11:39 pm 
 

Hmm... What would be an example? I've recently come into contact with a NZ distro who wants to trade releases as well. Also have been getting into the habit of social network marketing on Twitter too.

In terms of getting a DBA, how would I go about that?

So far, on my goal list:

~ Establish a specialty/niche for the distro
~ Find quality bands from other places that need North American distribution (I have some connection to the pakistani metal/punk scene)
~ Create a network of distros I can send/receive from
~ Promo packs?
~ Contact blogspots for band promotion

So, any tips on receiving recognition and reputation, now?

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orionmetalhead
Metalhead

Joined: Mon Feb 06, 2006 9:54 am
Posts: 2461
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 1:50 am 
 

From doing my small distro over a year, make sure that when you release a product, it's what THE BAND wants and not necessarily what YOU want. The best way to earn a respectable reputation is to earn respect from the people you release product from. Variety, keeping material in stock... if you want to run above-expenditure, it's going to be tough because you will most likely be putting your own money into your first several releases until you can get a release out there that sells well and gives you some buffer funds. Don't over-promise and don't under promise.

Respect the art of those you work with and you will be respected in kind. Don't sell yourself short by putting out something that is far different from what people would expect you to release - goes back to the niche comment. Promos are good and keep a list of those that do reviews for your releases. It's also good to have people review your stuff from all over the world, not just in one place - often times if you can get reviews in other countries for releases, you'll see people gain interest in your label from those places. Don't underestimate fanzines too. Ads in fanzines for the right price will target people that want to BUY releases and not just download them.
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Helvede
Metalhead

Joined: Tue Aug 05, 2003 6:28 pm
Posts: 1419
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 7:09 am 
 

Det_Morkettall wrote:
So, any tips on receiving recognition and reputation, now?


Show up to every metal event in your area and bring a merch booth, talk to every band playing there, start booking bands on your own, connect with other distros, also international. I've never done stuff like this myself, but I know that the guy behind Deadbangers (www.deadbangers.com) has made himself a pretty good name by truly supporting the underground. He has a zine, label, distro and is involved with some festivals I think. In Europe there's a quite impressive network that link festivals and distros together with the absolutely right audience. As an example, the death metal fstival Killtown in Denmark exists due to network between bands, national and international labels/distros. Last time Incantation and Master were on the program - I'm pretty sure these bands would not get booked in Denmark the 'usual' way, because venues would fear loosing money.

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GTog
Metalhead

Joined: Sun Dec 03, 2006 8:35 pm
Posts: 411
Location: United States
PostPosted: Sat Dec 01, 2012 12:02 pm 
 

Getting a DBA personally can be a pain in the ass, which is what my wife had to do years ago. But now there are online resources like simplefilings.com and legalzoom.com that will do all the hard stuff for you.

Once you have it, you will be able to do business as (guess what DBA stands for) the business name, with the business tax ID, so you don't have to run it under your own name using your own social security number. You will also be able to open a separate bank account for your business, apply for credit card processing for your business, and generally look more legit.

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