How to Start a Record Label


Many artists and music lovers dream of owning a major record label. But what no one tells you about the music industry is how hard it is to gather a loyal team of artists and employees and build a music empire. 

So that you don’t waste loads of time and money, I’ll teach you how to use the lean startup method to start a record label. This method of entrepreneurship was introduced by Eric Reis, and he explained it in detail in his 2011 book, The Lean Startup.

Before I get into the description of the lean startup method, I’ll explain why the traditional startup method isn’t effective.

The traditional flawed business startup process

The steps to the traditional startup method are usually something like this: 

  1. Identify a passion or skill set you can cash in on (in this case, I’m guessing it’s producing music).
  2. Write a business plan.
  3. Fund your business.
  4. Choose a location for your business.
  5. Choose a structure for your business.
  6. Decide on a business name.
  7. Form your business formally: register your business, get tax IDs for your business, apply for business licenses and permits, and open a business bank account. 
  8. Ultimately fail because this method is flawed. 

It’s easy to see why logical people look at these steps and think they’re effective (until you get to the last step, of course). This method assumes that once you’ve drafted a business plan for your record label, you simply need to obtain funding, choose a great location, and profit will just magically happen with no real effort. 

That’s a nice idea, but it isn’t based in reality. Just because you followed all the steps to the traditional startup method and expect your record label to become an overnight success doesn’t mean it will. In fact, four out of five businesses started with the traditional method fail during the first year. 

These businesses don’t fail because their owners lack the drive it takes to make them succeed or because they don’t put in the work, but because the traditional startup method makes three flawed assumptions. 

Assumption 1: You have deep and intimate knowledge of your market. 

If this is your first record label, you’ll probably need to do some market research to understand your local music industry before you start approaching artists with contracts. 

Many people who create indie labels don’t initially have a good grasp of the music industry, and you likely don’t either. Perhaps you’re an artist yourself or you know several artists, and you’ve devoted your life to great music. That’s a good start! You already have an advantage over someone who wants to learn how to start a record label but has no experience in the music business. However, starting a record label is far different than working in the industry or knowing a few good artists. 

The first assumption that the traditional startup method makes is that you have sufficient experience in and extensive knowledge of the music industry. It can take years for entrepreneurs who start a record label to master the ins and outs of the industry. The flawed assumption of the traditional startup method is that you come pre-equipped with this knowledge from the moment you decide to start a record label.

When you use the lean startup method, however, you gain experience in the music industry as you build your record label up. You won’t have to struggle with learning the industry and starting a record label simultaneously, making your label more likely to succeed. 

Assumption 2: Your needs and wants are more important than your customers’ needs and wants. 

Of course, if you want to start a record label, great music and artists are important, but the main goal of your business is to earn money. If you don’t value customer feedback, listen to the needs and wants of fans, or cultivate brand loyalty, your record label won’t be profitable for long. 

The traditional startup method calls for you to think of all the reasons YOU want to start a record label, and doesn’t consider the needs of YOUR CUSTOMERS or why they would purchase music and merchandise from your label. 

If you don’t put any thought into your marketing campaign and your ads come off as “Please buy my music,” that’s not only shoddy advertisement for your record label, it’s bad business practice. 

If you use the lean startup method, you’ll learn more about the local music scene, your potential customers and fans, as well as their wants and needs. Do people want to see more artists performing live music in the area? Do they want to see or hear more from their favorite local artist? Do they want to check out new music? 

The traditional startup method makes the flawed assumption that the desires of the business owner outweigh the desires of customers and fans. By using the lean startup method, you’re encouraged to know what customers want before you start a record label, rather than investing a large sum of money into a label and taking on substantial financial risks. You can use information from potential customers to make money and start a record label that provides people with the music and artists they want to hear. 

Assumption 3: You have unlimited cash to burn. 

It would be nice to have a never-ending supply of money, but even the richest and most successful people have to spend their money wisely to ensure they don’t run out. While it’s true that to start a business you need to take on some financial risks, you mustn’t frivolously throw away your money. 

Learning how to start a record label using the lean startup method means that you’ll start online as an independent record label (or indie label), using distribution services such as Spotify, Apple Music, SoundCloud, and YouTube to upload music from artists who sign contracts with your label, or to upload your own music if you’re an artist. 

If you were starting a record label using the traditional startup method, you would hit the ground running with a major record label and no artists, which is just as insane as it sounds. The traditional business method assumes not only that you have enough money to fund a major record label, but also that you’ve done enough networking and have enough experience to supply a fleet of artists with contracts and make sales as soon as you get started. 

Starting a record label can cost $200–$500,000, depending on whether you start out with a small indie label or start a major record label. Most of us couldn’t afford to replace that money if we invested it in a failed business, and it’s likely that you can’t either. 

If you use the lean startup method to start your record label, you can start small online with digital distribution, music streaming services, and local artists. This is vastly less expensive than trying to sign a chart-topping artist, and it gives you the chance to learn about the music industry and acquire the skills you need to develop an online independent record label empire. 

So, if you’d rather own a successful independent record label that makes money than be one of the four out of five businesses that fail during their first year, use the lean startup method. 

What is the lean startup method?

The core ideals that make up the lean startup method are: build, measure, and learn

To start a business using the lean startup method, you must experiment with ideas and products that you’ve researched. You’ll get your hands dirty and start working immediately with the lean startup method (although in smaller increments than you would with the traditional startup method), instead of drafting a business plan that decides the fate of your business before it has even been developed. Another important element of the lean startup method is choosing ideas that are cost efficient and easy to produce. 

The first phase is building your business. During this phase of the lean startup method, you’ll hit the streets to ask people what problems they have with similar businesses, identify a problem you can solve, and develop a solution that customers like enough that they’ll pay for it. Have there been no new labels in your area in recent years? Do people want to hear more new music or learn about new artists? Do they want to see their favorite artist do more live shows, or would they like to see more live shows performed by artists in general? 

Once you’ve gotten through the build phase, the next phase is to measure, or test. This is when you test the solution you’ve developed to find out whether people actually like it. This phase should help you determine whether your solution is a success or a flop. Do people like the music and artists you’ve signed? Do they like one artist in particular, or most of the music you’ve promoted through your label? And do they have a favorable opinion of your record label?

After you’ve completed the measure phase, it’s time to learn. During this phase you gain feedback from your customers about the quality of your products and services, which is valuable to growing your business. Which is the most popular artist on your label? Would customers like to hear more of a specific music genre? Are they satisfied with the number of artists and the variety of music on your record label? What makes your label better than other record labels? If any of your ideas fail, you can use this phase to reflect on that so that you don’t continue using strategies that aren’t working, but instead build your business using ideas and methods that are proven to work and make money. 

Why use the lean startup method?

Would you buy a product knowing that it had an 80% chance of breaking within a year? It surprises many entrepreneurs to learn that four out of every five businesses that are started using traditional startup methods fail during the first year, but it’s true. 

But with the lean startup method, you avoid many of the risks of starting a small business the traditional way. It also allows you to reduce the startup costs of your independent record label, as well as creating a customer base before your business is fully developed. 

Business owners who start record labels using the traditional startup method take significant financial risks. Rather than building on market research, they simply hope that people will love a new artist and buy their music. But entrepreneurs who use the lean startup method to start their record labels are able to test their ideas constantly. When you use the lean startup method, your label will have an automatic advantage over record labels that were created using the traditional startup method. You will have already created a community and developed a customer base that revolves around your independent record label. 

You’ll have lower startup costs when you use the lean startup method, as well. This is because the traditional startup method assumes that you have loads of money to spend, which most entrepreneurs simply don’t. The lean startup method allows you to learn how to properly and efficiently run your business before you make any risky financial investments. Because you aren’t taking on as many financial risks, your label will be more likely to survive beyond its first year. 

You’re probably wondering by now how I can tell you with confidence that the lean startup method is more effective than the traditional startup method. That’s easy. I’ve used the lean startup method to start five different businesses over the course of eight years (three of which I sold successfully, and two that are still in business today). I’ve also helped thousands of people start their businesses with the lean startup method, and I can help you start your independent record label too! 

How do you use the lean startup method to start your Record Label?

I use the three main principles behind the lean startup method—build, measure, learn—when I start new businesses. This method provides you with a more cost-efficient way to start a label, while also giving you a better chance at business success because your label won’t be founded on faulty business startup practices. 


The first principle behind the lean startup method is build. You’ll start developing your ideas and business during this phase. You’ll identify problems that potential customers in your community have, build a community for your label, identify a solution opportunity, and develop a solution to the problem you identified. 

This important phase guarantees that the ideas you have for your label are good and meet the music needs of people in your community. The goal of the build phase is to build your business’s foundations and ensure that it has everything it needs to survive.

Step 1: Identify a problem

The first step you must complete is to identify a problem that you can provide a solution to. 

You can’t simply skip to selling your solution because it doesn’t make sense to assume that people have enough disposable income to throw at every new product or business on the market. The best way to convince people to buy your product is to develop a solution that meets their needs while also providing them with a convincing reason to purchase it. 

The trick is to find that convincing reason. 

If many people have a need that’s not met and it causes them discomfort (which is called a “pain point” in the business world), they look for solutions to this problem. The solution can come in the form of something that these customers can achieve or provide themselves, or a solution that they’re willing to pay someone else to provide. In the case of your label, that need is quite straightforward: music. 

Owning a record label is not as simple as just providing people with the same stale music from artists that people in the area have heard before. What you must identify is a need that people in the area have that involves music. Do people in your community get excited about a new rap artist? Or is your area completely saturated with country music artists, leaving you with a community that’s sick of country music?

Talk to the people in your area and take a look at competing indie record labels. If your area is maxed out on one type of music artist, consider adapting your label to meet the needs of people in your community by offering different musical options and new artists. 

Do a deep dive to find out about the needs of your potential customers. Do they simply want more music? Do they want to hear more music from a more diverse range of genres and artists than indie labels in your area are currently producing? Is there a complete lack of record labels in your area that you can cash in on? Are people interested in checking out the local live music scene and experiencing new artists in a safe, socially distanced way? Are people interested in starting or expanding a vinyl collection, or are they more interested in using digital distribution and streaming to conveniently access new music from their favorite artist? 

Once you’ve talked to a few people, find out more about common problems and how much they’re affected by them. The more you ask questions and conduct surveys, the more you’ll learn about the industry, different distribution methods, platforms and forms of online media, the sorts of deals that other labels provide, what customers like and dislike about major record labels, and more. While you’re learning you can decide which of these problems you know you can solve, which means your label will have a better shot at long term success. 

How do you choose which problem to focus on?

There isn’t one concrete way to choose the problem you want to address. But here are three guidelines to make the task a bit easier.

  1. Choose a problem that many people in the area complain about. Do they have trouble learning about new artists? Do they complain that it costs too much to purchase music and merchandise from their favorite artist? 
  2. Choose a problem that is a “pain point” for a lot of people. This is something that causes customers a lot of grief and hassle. Is it hard for them to find a live show? Are there no indie labels in the area for artists to sign contracts with? Is there a total lack of promotion on behalf of the artists or the labels in the area that results in unawareness of the local live music scene?
  3. Choose a problem you know you can feasibly solve with a little effort. If signing a big name artist isn’t affordable for you, start small with a local artist who needs promotion and build them up. 

The most important thing is to choose a problem that many people have, that causes pain or trouble for them, and identify a problem that people want a solution for—enough to pay for it. 

Step 2: Build a community

The next step is to build a community that consists of people affected by the problem you’ve identified. This step is a breeze thanks to online culture. You can use social media to perform this task for you. Get started with a Facebook group, create a Reddit forum, and use other platforms. This step is important because by completing it you will create not only a community of like-minded individuals facing similar problems but also a potential customer base. Throughout this process, develop your brand and learn about the target market of your label. The traditional startup method would split this into three separate steps, but the lean startup method accomplishes it all in one easy step. 

It’s a good idea to diversify the methods you use to create your community by creating offline community options, as well. You can do this by creating meetup groups or clubs that meet on a weekly or monthly basis. Creating an offline community allows you to talk to your potential customers, get to know them and interact with them in a more personal way, allowing you to create stronger bonds with not only potential customers but artists and other entrepreneurs as well. You can also receive feedback and suggestions in real time, whereas online responses to social media posts can take time. 

You should also consider other local business groups, like the Chamber of Commerce, that offer a variety of benefits for your business. 

Reasons to build a community:

  1. It’s a good way to learn about the problem you identified in the first step and its impact on potential customers in your area. 
  2. It will provide you with a way to develop the brand and marketing strategy for your label. 
  3. When you finally start your label, you will automatically have a market that you’ve created and prepared, with a customer base that is familiar with your label. 
  4. Creating a community means you can gain support, as well as funding for your label before you start it. 

How to build a community:

  1. Create a group on Facebook and develop a community by discussing various music artists, genres, trends, and live music venues in the area. If you consistently post, update your status, create discussions about music, and interact with people in your community, you’ll see it steadily grow. 
  2. Use Twitter to create polls that provide your online community with more interactive ways to make their voices heard. 
  3. You can post photos of live shows and concerts to Instagram to drum up excitement about your label and to promote both your label and the artists on it.
  4. Use social media to connect with other record label owners, artists, and entrepreneurs in the music industry. This essential networking can provide you with feedback about your label and help you develop beneficial relationships with other record labels and artists in the industry. You’ll also learn valuable information about things like promotion and distribution from talking to other people in the industry. 

By creating online groups, you provide potential customers with a means to give you feedback. They’ll tell you all about what they like and don’t like about the music scene in the area and what they’d like to see. They’ll tell you about which venues they like and the music genres they love. You’ll also get feedback about many labels in the area, which can give you insight into what customers like and dislike about other labels. In short, creating a community for your label means you have access to a never-ending fountain of valuable information, which is why this is such an important step. 

Another reason this part of the lean startup process is important is that it provides you with a platform for promotion and advertisement. When customers engage with you on social media, like your posts, and leave comments and reviews about the music and artists you promote, more people are likely to see your posts and learn about your label. And once the word gets out that you actually interact with fans and use their feedback to make changes, you’ll definitely acquire more. 

Step 3: Identify a solution opportunity

After completing the first two steps, you’ll notice that the problem you’ve identified didn’t go away simply because you identified it. Unfortunately, discovering a problem doesn’t eliminate it. You must decide how you can solve the problem.

While you’re doing research about how to start a record label, question your community about the types of music they’re currently streaming and buying. Ask questions about the services that other labels provide and how satisfied they are with them, as well as what their likes and dislikes are. Use the community you’ve built to find ideas about how to provide a solution to the problem you’ve identified. 

Some of the things you need to ask about include the promotion tactics of other labels including the deals, sales, and free stuff they offer, the sorts of digital distribution that other companies use, and whether they’re selling vinyl records and other physical copies or if their music is solely digital. Ask them about their favorite streaming services, the music genres they listen to, and who their favorite artist is. 

The information that your community provides you with is incredibly helpful if you want to start a label. Not only does it help you to develop a brand, let you know about whether people would want to hear a new sound, and inform you about the mistakes that many indie labels make, but you can also use it to start thinking of a solution that will solve or alleviate the problem you’ve identified. 

Step 4: Develop a solution

You can’t stop once you’ve identified a problem and a solution opportunity because that’s not enough to fix the problem. You need to develop a solution to the problem you’ve identified. If you perform this step well, the solution you provide will satisfy the community enough that they’ll pay to receive it. 

How to develop your solution:

  1. Think up a solution. If your community has told you that they’re excited to hear a new sound, then one of your label’s gimmicks could be to provide customers with a new artist to listen to every month. If they want to support a specific artist who has signed with your company, you can use multiple digital distribution platforms to sell their music. If artists in the area have trouble finding a recording studio, you can provide that. 
  2. Obtain feedback about your idea. Unfortunately, your ideas and desires aren’t adequate to ensure that the solution you’ve come up with will be a success. Who cares if the music you want to release is awesome if it’s not going to create sales, or if other labels are promoting the same type of sound? Your customer base needs to think that your idea is a good solution to their problem. It will benefit you to talk to owners of other labels or other entrepreneurs in the music industry to find out if your solution can be feasibly accomplished. 
  3. You also need to develop your Minimum Viable Product, or MVP. An MVP is the product that will cost you the least amount of money to produce, is the easiest to produce and provide to your customers, and will make the highest profit. 

The ideal solution will be efficient and solve the problems of your community effectively, be cheap to produce and keep costs down, and require the least amount of effort to produce. If you pull this off, your MVP will keep your costs down and give your company a better chance of success. 


The next phase is to measure. When I use the word “measure,” I don’t mean that you need to get out a yardstick or measuring tape. I mean that this is a type of test or experiment. To complete this phase you’ll conduct tests to find out whether your solution is effective. 

Step 5: Test your MVP

After you’ve identified a problem and developed a solution and your MVP, it’s time to test your MVP. Experimentation is at the heart of the lean startup method, and you’ll conduct many tests over the course of your label’s life. 

A lot of factors go into deciding on an MVP for your company, such as costs of sound and recording equipment, recording costs, costs to make vinyl records and other physical music mediums, create your label’s website using your brand and logo, put out a press release for new music, music promotion costs, the cost of digital distribution and uploading music to streaming services, renting a recording studio, and hiring a producer. And if one of your ideas doesn’t work, don’t worry—the lean startup method is all about experimentation and finding what works!

If you think about it, the experimentation at the core of the lean startup method makes sense. If you were a financial institution, would you be more likely to fund an entrepreneur who thinks their company could be a success, or an entrepreneur who has done market research, created a community of loyal customers, and proved that their product will sell? 

Testing your MVP may sound scary, but it’s actually quite easy. It’s also a great way to advertise your company. 

One easy way to do it is to set up a battle of the bands where the winners are awarded an opportunity to sign with your company. The event should be free to the public and you should offer some free merchandise with your company name and website on it so that people have a physical reminder of your company. If you’re an artist yourself or you’ve already signed an artist, you could provide people with free physical samples of your music. You can make CDs or load USB drives inexpensively, both great ways to hand out physical copies of your music to get the word out about your company. 

Team up with local radio stations and entities such as iheartradio to help promote your event. It’s a good way to reach out to a section of the local population that you would otherwise skip over. 

Ask about different aspects of your brand and your promotion efforts, if they like the music they’re hearing. Ask if people would listen to your music if you were to release it on a streaming platform like Spotify, purchase a new release from digital distribution sites like SoundCloud, and if they’d purchase physical copies like vinyl records. Ask artists if they would consider recording their music in your studio once you set one up, what it would take to get them to sign with your company, what sort of royalties they would expect, and ask about the royalties that other companies offer. 

The best indicator of this experiment’s success is if people want to purchase or stream your music. It’s also a sign of success if artists want to sign with your company or ask about royalties, recording, and the distribution methods you plan to use. 

Step 6: Sell your MVP

Now that you have a bit of experience in the music industry and people want to buy your music, it’s time for the next step: actually selling your music. However, when you get started selling your product using the lean startup method, you’ll find that the process is not as glamorous as the fantasies of owning a major record label and recording studio that you’ve been daydreaming about. 

This is the last experiment you need to perform before you start getting feedback about your label’s products, so it’s important. Imagine how much more credible your label’s name will be compared to other companies when you prove that you can turn a profit and run a successful business without having an actual brick and mortar location! 

One of the ways you can start selling your music is to use digital music distribution sites like SoundCloud. People can go to these digital music distribution sites and pay to download the music. Some of these platforms have settings so that you can easily pay out royalties to artists, as well. You can also use physical distribution methods, such as vinyl records or CDs. You could set up a stall at a flea market or farmer’s market and sell vinyl records.

Another way to start selling your product is to contact local radio stations about putting some singles and demos on the air. Many indie labels forget about radio stations because we’re secure in our technological cocoons, but this is a great advertising resource and an additional revenue stream. You would be surprised how many people listen to the radio on their daily commutes, how much music people actually consume on the go. 

No matter which method you choose, this part of the process allows you to learn, grow your brand, and develop a loyal customer base all while making money. 


The last principle in the lean startup process is to learn. This means that you must gain feedback about your company and its effectiveness, which you can use to grow and improve your label. 

Step 7: Get feedback on your product idea

By the time you’ve reached this step, you’ve interacted with and created a community, identified a problem and developed a solution after listening to their feedback. You’ve also tested your MVP and found out which distribution methods, deals, and promotions work for your audience, as well as how much money your label should make. Now you need to ask your community for more feedback so that you can determine which products work best for both your company and your audience. Here is how to get and use feedback from your community to learn from:

  • Ask your community and audience members direct questions about improvements you could make to your company and what they would like to see more of.
  • Pay attention to customer feedback. Is the audience experience at live shows satisfactory? Do people like your music? Who is your most popular artist?
  • Use feedback from your customers and audience members to improve various aspects of your company. 

It’s easy to use social media to obtain feedback about your label. Create polls and read reviews, or make a website or landing page with surveys and comment cards. Once you’ve gathered feedback and learned everything you want to know about how your customers think you can improve your label, adjust your products or sales accordingly. Doing so means that your customers will be happier with your products and services, and your business will likewise be more successful. 

Pay close attention to the deals and promotions offered by competing labels. These promotions are indications of other businesses attempting to find solutions to the problems in your community. If you see that a promotion is failing, that solution isn’t working but if you see that one is really taking off, that’s a solution worth considering for your own label. 

This feedback is crucial to growing your business and competing with other companies. 

What’s next? 

Now that you’ve proven to yourself and the world that you can run a successful record label and compete with other companies, and you’ve obtained customer feedback about your business so that you can tailor it to meet the needs of your customers, it’s time to decide if you want to keep plugging along as a small business or if you’d rather expand. If you decide to expand, you can start signing artists, purchase a brick and mortar location, and set up a professional-grade recording studio. Because you’ve gained experience using the lean startup method, you can easily draft a business plan, making it easier to obtain funding. 

But just because you’ve convinced a financial institution to give you the funding you need to expand doesn’t mean you’re done. 

You’ll need to obtain an EIN, or Employer Identification Number, from the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) before you hire employees. It’s a good idea to open a business bank account for your record label at this time, as well. And it’s important that you choose a business structure for your company, such as an LLC or corporation, at this time. Many people like the LLC business structure because of the personal asset protection and tax benefits that an LLC can provide. Click here to read my article How to Start an LLC. You’ll also need to hire a registered agent to accept mail and Service of Process on your behalf. To read more about all the things a registered agent can do for you, check out my article about the Best Registered Agent here. 

The location of your brick and mortar company should meet all the needs of your record label. If you want a location that allows you to produce all the music you want to release, then it’s a good idea to plan out a section of the building to convert into a recording studio. It’s a good idea to have a boardroom for employee brainstorming sessions, an executive office, and maybe even a photoshoot room designed for social media posts and press releases. 

Here are some more activities you’ll need to take part in to ensure that you maintain a successful record label:

  1. Hire employees: It’s important to form a team that you trust. However, when you hire employees using the lean startup method you hire people based on whether they can learn and adapt, rather than choosing team members with experience. Some of the roles you should hire to fill out your team include: a merchandiser, publicist, creative consultant, audio engineer, contract administrator, sales manager, music agent, and promotions assistant. 
  2. Follow state regulations: Depending on the location of your label, you may need to obtain both state and city business licenses. The regulations for companies of this type vary from place to place, so check with your state and city governments to make sure you’re compliant with their regulations. 
  3. Find the right wholesalers: When it comes to creating and selling merchandise and physical copies of your music, you’ll want to find a good wholesaler and make sure you’re getting a good deal on merchandise. There are wholesalers all over the world that are more than happy to design and ship your merchandise, so shop around, do your research, and find the best fit for your company. 
  4. Increase your inventory: Now that you have a physical location and have expanded a bit, you can store more inventory. This means you can buy more vinyl records and physical copies of your music to sell. 
  5. Switch on the utilities: Once you’ve obtained a brick and mortar location, it’s time to turn on the lights. You’ll need electricity, wifi, water, and gas. It’s possible that you’ll need other utilities to make your business run smoothly, as well. 
  6. Business software: You’ve developed your business and obtained customers, and even bought office space for your record label. Now it’s time to consider purchasing business software to help make tasks like monitoring sales and managing employee payroll easier. If you’d like to know more about what business software can do for you, check out my article about the Best Business Software.
  7. Upgrade your equipment: You’ve expanded and now have room for a recording studio, so now you can purchase professional-grade recording equipment like soundboards, auto-tuners, microphones, pop filters, and high-end computers and editing software. 
  8. Acquire legal advice: You’ll be asking artists to sign legal contracts that include things like royalties and exclusivity clauses. Of course you can draft this legal document yourself, but it’s a good idea to get some legal advice about any contract you draft. Luckily, there are many online legal services that can edit your documents and ensure they’re legally enforceable, even if you’re on the other side of the world from them. Check out my article about the Best Online Legal Services
  9. Experiment with your products and services: Now that you have one static location, you can use the core ideals of the lean startup method—build, measure, learn—to experiment with your business and find out what works and what doesn’t. By creating new products you can obtain new customers and increase sales.


Congratulations to you! It’s an incredibly scary and bold decision to break out on your own and start your own business, let alone starting a record label in the notoriously volatile music industry. It becomes even scarier when you learn that four out of five businesses that use the traditional startup method fail during their first year. But if you use the lean startup method instead of the traditional startup method, your business is less likely to fail. Here are the steps to starting a record label using the lean startup method: 

  1. Identify a problem
  2. Build a community
  3. Identify a solution opportunity
  4. Develop a solution
  5. Test your Minimum Viable Product (MVP)
  6. Sell your MVP
  7. Get feedback on your product idea 

Once you’ve completed the last step, the build, measure, learn process starts again. This continuing process ensures that your company will continue to be successful. 

Of course it’s a lot of hard work to start your own record label. But if it’s something you’ve dreamed about for a long time and are determined to do, it’s nice to know that you’ll have a greater chance of success if you use the lean startup method. 

Congratulations again, and good luck with your record label!

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