What are record labels good for, anyway?

Guai Li

Shaun Tenzenmen, tenzenmen:

“I started a label as I was making music at the time but I’m in no way a musician and when the band I was involved stopped I wanted to continue doing something related to music. I’m a good organiser and enthusiastic to discover new music so it made sense to be involved in the process of producing music and encouraging other people to take an interest. As to the DIY aspect, that is more a result of my background in the punk scene of the 80s in England. Doing it yourself, or better still, doing it together was just a natural thing. Cut out the chaff and get on and do it. The music industry has changed enormously in the last 30 years and musicians are working out for themselves that they can take more control over every aspect of their work and not just the music writing.”


Giles Moorhouse, Armalyte Industries:

“Armalyte was set up to promote, and celebrate, the music that we love. I was writing for various ‘zines at the time and David Chapman was busy working on a musical project, Terminal Solution. We knew a shed-load of great bands yet no one was talking about them or even aware of their existence, so the label kind of grew out of that initial desire to, basically, spread the good word. Obviously a noble ambition that has, in time, eroded and now I’m all about the money. David has since moved on to focus on his musical projects whilst I am left as sole defender of the faith.”


What exactly is your role as a label, in relation to your acts?

Alec: “We provide a context, some connections and enough infrastructure to give bands a platform to grow. We also want all of our artists to earn enough money from music so that they can quit their day jobs, buy homes, and support families.”

Shaun: “My role can vary depending on who I’m working with. Sometimes I provide funding, others could be production and distribution and my favourite is those who have already done everything and just want to release something on the label. I do as much promotion for every release that I can – usually with radio and online, and not so much with print media.”

Giles: “Armalyte was never your traditional label per se. We are there to fight the corner for the bands on our roster and to ensure that the band’s artistic vision is faithfully captured in translation from concept to the finished article, and then to endeavour that any given release is available for folks to purchase in as consumer-friendly a manner as possible. I guess we act as friend, mentor, sponsor, lover and arbiter of quality control for our bands, which isn’t always as easy as it sounds. Ultimately we’re here to do as much of the donkey work as possible, leaving the bands with more time to focus on what’s most important to them; making awesome music.”

(continues overleaf)

2 comments on “What are record labels good for, anyway?

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