Uncommon Approach: Selling & giving free music at the same time

Uncommon Approach: Selling & giving free music at the same time

This year is a busy one for Uncommon Records. It’s funny, I’ve run this label since 2004, but I almost feel like in 2009 I really restarted things. Basically started a second chapter that is in it’s infancy now. Last year most of the label work was put into networking, developing a strategy for the future and rebuilding the label website from absolute scratch.

‘Uncommon Approach’ is a column written by Paul “Nasa” Loverro, owner of independent label Uncommon Records. With this frequent column, he gives readers an all access look at the ups and downs of running an independent Hip Hop label in this day and age. An in-depth column from the perspective of an Indie label owner. 

This year is a busy one for Uncommon Records.  It’s funny, I’ve run this label since 2004, but I almost feel like in 2009 I really restarted things.  Basically started a second chapter that is in it’s infancy now.  Last year most of the label work was put into networking, developing a strategy for the future and rebuilding the label website from absolute scratch.

All those things being complete here we are.  I’d like to say we planned it this way, but with a few projects falling through on us, that’s just the way it happened.  Now in 2010, we’ve just dropped our latest album from an artist named Taiyamo Denku.  It’s called ‘Articles of Mind’.  I wanted to give some insight into what we’re doing on the promotional side along with the ups and downs.

Getting Help
In 2010, I put out the call for interns, because one man can not do it all.  Trust me.  I got a response and have brought some very helpful people on to help with one of the most crucial aspects of promotion and that’s follow up.  As a label we’ve taken the approach that bloggers are now the press.  If you’re a blogger and you get free music from us, then we’re going to check in with you early and often to make sure you got it, see what you think and if you plan on covering it.  Honestly, if you don’t like it, then unsubscribe.  There are limits, obviously some smaller audio post blogs we’re not going to get after, but if you write, you’ll hear from us.  Time will tell how this approach works out.

The End of Print Press
At this point, I don’t put much effort into print press.  We have print press people on our lists, but I feel like they are over run with music submissions and have less and less space to print reviews or features due to the economic shifts in that industry.  There are also a lot less options.  I can really only name about three magazines that I’d be jazzed to have our stuff featured in right now.  Where as when we started out in ’04 that number would have been around 10-12.

Lost Thoughts
What we did with the ‘Articles of Mind’ project from Taiyamo Denku is we dropped a FREE bonus LP the same day called ‘Lost Thoughts’.  Lost Thoughts is available on Bandcamp where as AOM is for sale on Itunes, Amazon and the like.  We feel that this accomplishes a few things.  It keeps bootleggers online from justifying their posting of our for sale items for free as “promotion”.  Fuck that, if I needed their help I would have asked for it.  As far as consumers go, if you don’t have loot right now, we’re saying- “Here, take this free LP and let this sit in your Ipod for a while.  If you feel Denku enough, you’ll pick up the full length”.  At the same time, to our loyal purchasers that will automatically buy AOM, we’re giving them a second album for the same price.

Today’s Music Press
We think this strategy is helping, I think we’re going to tinker with it, but that it’s a model that will be employed on future releases.  I’ve found that with bloggers and websites, you have to give them content.  Whether it’s a free track, a video, a downloadable LP on Bandcamp, whatever.  They need content.  Nobody seemingly writes reviews with text only and the cover anymore.  The web is changing not just music, but how we are told about music and we’re trying to keep up with that with this approach. 

Read all columns by Paul “Nasa” Loverro HERE

Danny

Just an ordinary guy always on the hunt for extraordinary music. Not just as the founder of The Find Magazine & Rucksack Records, but also as a freelance music journalist and—above all—out of love for all kinds of good music.