OurLabel has launched in beta with the goal of redefining the record label in an age of social media. Focused around a community site, OurLabel provides a platform for musicians to connect with fans, fund new releases and carry projects through to completion. Artists keep their copyright and sign agreements for specific projects. Fans get the opportunity to be part of the project and receive a cut of the proceeds. It's an innovative approach; yet the challenges will be substantial.
Asaf Elani and Brandon Robins founded OurLabel in Chicago with the "support of key industry advisers." Unfortunately none of these folks are identified on the site which would be a great way to give potential artists a sense of the depth of support for this project.
But they do have a compelling offer. Services are free. Projects are funded by fans who also interact with artists and eventually are encouraged to help promote projects through social media. When a project is fully funded, an OurLabel representative contacts the artist and they figure out how much support is needed to produce the album or ep.
Revenue is ultimately split three ways with 50% to artists, 25% to OurLabel and 25% to participating fans.
During the funding stage, fans have the choice of the following items for pre-purchase:
- Digital Downloads of all Music Produced
- Autographed CD
- Autographed Photo
- Limited Edition T-Shirt
- VIP Tickets to Launch Party with Exclusive Meet & Greet
- Personalized, Signed Merchandise Package
- Limited Edition Collectible Album Artwork Display
- Producer's Credit
Though OurLabel says that can change, part of the design is that each artist will offer the same array of products for presale. OurLabel handles fulfillment and their partners handle manufacturing.
Most of the details can be found on their FAQ which does state that they "take care of advertising, promoting, and distributing your completed project" and that they connect you with a "network of producers, mentors, managers, promoters, and more to help you with your project."
That's a heck of a lot of support and if they can successfully pull this off, all power to them.
You can apply to be an artist member via a link on the front page. Note, if you initially connect via Facebook, you'll automatically receive a fan account and there doesn't seem to be a way to change that without contacting customer service. So bear that in mind if you're checking out the site as an artist.
OurLabel is based in the States but is open to international participation though that will raise project costs due to the cost of international fulfillment.
Though the goal appears to be to develop a community of fans that will discover and fund new artists, it seems likely that you'll need to recruit your own fanbase at this stage to achieve success. But that seems to be the case even on well-established platforms such as Kickstarter for the majority of projects.
OurLabel should be worth keeping an eye on whether or not you're currently interested in trying them out.
Hypebot Features Writer Clyde Smith maintains his freelance writing hub at Flux Research and music industry resources at Music Biz Blogs. To suggest topics for Hypebot, contact: clyde(at)fluxresearch(dot)com.