We believe strongly in sharing information, and in supporting
other folks who are trying to make cool music available, whether
those people are artists or other labels.
We've made a number of resources available to help out aspiring
artists and new label owners:
and take a look at Suppliers and
Services - A Knowledge Pool, too.
Info for Artists Who Are Just Starting Out
We get a lot of questions from artists who are new to the business,
looking for guidance on everything from how to form a band to how
to get a recording contract. Here's the best general advice I can
If you're an artist and you have specific questions, you're welcome
to write to me at firstname.lastname@example.org. I'll
try to compile the most frequently-asked questions and put up a FAQ
in the future. I also recommend sharing info with your fellow
musicians and with anyone else in the business who will share their
experiences with you. The more you know, the better equipped you'll
be to make decisions about your career.
- Learn everything you can
- I believe knowledge is power, and the more you know, the more
options you'll have. That's why I usually suggest learning as
much as you can - the local library is usually a good place to
start. Some of my favorite books are How to Make and Sell
Your Own Recording, by Diane Sward Rapaport, and All
You Need To Know About the Music Business, by Donald
Passman. You'll probably be able to find similar titles in the
music business section at your library. You can get details about
a bunch of our favorite books by looking at the Racer Reading List.
- Set specific goals and plan how you'll accomplish
- Once you know a little about how things usually work in the
music business, you'll probably have some ideas of the directions
you want to go and the specific things you want to achieve.
That's a good point to write down your goals (getting a manager,
getting a recording contract, getting a certain number of
performance deals) and the specific steps you plan to take to
accomplish them. Then, you need to work on those goals, checking
your list regularly to see how you're doing. (Once a week is not
Getting Signed To Racer
Racer has an open submissions policy; that means you don't have to
get permission before sending us a package. You may want to read
the Racer demo submission guidelines
for more details.
It may be useful to know that, in general, Racer is looking for
album-length, pressable-quality recordings, and that I'm very picky
about lyrics - I really like clever lines and unusual phrasing that
says something, preferably not something I've heard before. (That's
one reason I really like to get lyric sheets.)
If you'd like to send us something, here's the address:
2443 Fillmore St., #202
San Francisco, CA 94115
Feel free to send it to my attention (Kristi Wachter).
If you'd like to know more about Racer before sending something
in, please feel free to ask questions.
If you're interested in getting signed to another label, you
should check with that label about their submission policies and
try to do a little research into the type of music they specialize
in. I also strongly recommend reading some of the books in the Racer Reading List, which have
lots of great advice on how to get signed to a label.
Racer's Standard Contract
For a number of reasons, we've made the text of our standard
contract available (... mostly because people asked us to). Please,
please, please read the contract commentary along with
the sample contract itself. (The
commentary file has hypertext links to the contract, so you'll
probably want to start with the commentary file.)
Info for Other Indie Labels
We haven't yet formally compiled as much info for other indie
labels as we'd like. However, we do firmly believe in supporting
other labels (as long as they're not vicious and nasty and try to
blow us out of the water). After all, we can't possibly release all
of the great music that's out there, and it's always a shame when
cool music doesn't make it to the public, so it only makes sense to
encourage those other labels who are working hard to bring the
music they love to their fellow music fans.
Of course, we have provided the sample contract and complete commentary, which should
help some. In addition, we're thinking of putting together a
spreadsheet template for companies who are thinking of releasing
cooperative samplers, as well as a quick rundown of our typical
costs, to give other folks a starting point when trying to budget
for their own endeavors. If there's something in particular you'd
like to see or know about, please let me know.
If you're involved in an indie label, do yourself a favor and
read How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording, by Diane
Sward Rapaport. It compiles information about every aspect of
releasing an independent record, and covers things like sales,
artwork, and promotion in greater detail and with greater authority
than I ever could.
The Racer Reading List
Two books that I consider required reading for artists and labels
alike are How to Make and Sell Your Own Recording, by
Diane Sward Rapaport, and All You Need To Know About the
Music Business, by Donald Passman. You'll probably be able
to find similar titles in the music business section at your
library. The Racer Reading List
has details about all of our favorite books, including information
on where you can buy them.
Other Resources for Artists and Labels
There are a bunch of organizations, seminars, and related stuff
that can be useful to you in putting your music out into the world.
The Racer Resource Reference lists a
number of those organizations and has contact information and WWW
links for many of them.
We offer our warmest encouragement and best wishes to everyone
who's working to bring great music to the rest of us.