A Fond Farewell

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Info for Indie Artists and Labels

Info for Artists and Labels

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 give:
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 them
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 too often.)
If you're an artist and you have specific questions, you're welcome to write to me at racer@racerrecords.com. 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.

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:

Racer Records
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.

This page was last updated on March 3, 2004 by Kristi Wachter.