We recognise that you will be very well placed to sell many of these CDs through your concerts and musical contacts, or off your own web-site. We only charge you a tiny handling fee to provide you with CDs to sell, so you can recoup nearly all the retail price yourselves. Or you can use them at very low cost as promotional tools. There is every incentive for you to work at your sales - on some titles you may be able to recoup your outlay after only 650 sales, and there is no ceiling!
We, meanwhile, have only covered our costs (and because we have done that we are not going to go bust on you, which is a danger with some smaller record labels). We now put our effort into commercial sales. These are not going to be astronomic, unless you happen to be nuns or Welsh schoolgirls, but they will make you and us some profit, and they will strongly promote your brand. We take a higher proportion of the earnings from these sales, and from our own retail website. Remember that a distributor and a retailer will take a cut first from many of these sales, so the wholesale price we share with you could be as low as £2.00.
We account for all these sales to you half-yearly, paying you your shares of our sales, and charging you our handling fees for your sales.
We believe that this model makes our business relationship really clear, gives you well defined and excellent value services and both the incentive and the opportunity to recoup your investment. It gives us an affordable and low-risk business, allowing us to concentrate on those parts of producing and promoting your CDs that we are best at, with a possibility of profit if we do well.
Artists and repertoire
We only make our international sales targets and keep our reputation and our distribution deals if the music we release is of the highest quality. We also have to balance our stable of artists across styles, periods and instrumentation. There is substantial interest in our new label, so we are highly selective. We prefer to work with artists that intend, and can afford, to release CDs regularly over a couple of years, as this builds consumer and distributor interest.
Most of our artists tend to be soloists, duos or small ensembles, though we are in discussion with a number of more substantial groups.
The artists all have to be able to meet their own costs - typically between £5,000 and £10,000 - and this may be pooled investment, a loan or the fruits of a prize. They all must be established performers or give strong evidence of the likelihood of success. They must, critically, want to enter into a partnership where both artist and label works for success.
Who are we?
LIR is run by Jan Hart, who brings to the company over seventeen years of invaluable industry experience. She has worked widely across the arts scene, and set up her own arts administration business after a long period in classical, jazz and world music production at the BBC and a spell as Personal Assistant to Paul Daniel at ENO. Through this freelance work she has worked with many clients including performers, agents and consultants, and most significantly, for Signum Records, for whom she has acted as General Manager for the past three years, and whose catalogue she developed from 3 CDs to 21 in that time, establishing its worldwide distribution network, and helping it to become a well-respected highly successful period-performance label. She is thoroughly versed in every aspect of the record business (such as planning and financial modelling, accounting and sales management, artists and repertoire, production, contracts, licenses, design, booklet origination, translation, design and production, distribution, web-retailing.
In addition, LIR is affiliated to The Classics Labels, who have built up a distribution network across the world. All the labels commercial sales are managed by them and they bring to the table a vast base of distribution and sales contacts and knowledge..
If you would like to discuss in absolute confidence the possibility of making CDs with LIR, please contact us at the details below, enclosing some biographical and publicity materials, details of your own web-site (if you have one), dates and times of any forthcoming broadcasts or London performances, details of any discs you have already made or recordings you hold, and indicating the area of repertoire you are thinking would be most beneficial to promote. We will arrange a meeting and provide you with copies of specimen contracts, and fill you in on the artists we are planning to release over the coming months.
LIR Classics, Tel: (0)20 3239 6855
London Independent Records
a new option for the enterprising musician or group that wants to make CDs
LIR Classics (formerly London Independent Records) has been formed to provide a professional service. It operates the perfect business model for the musician or group that wants:
- their work to be made available on CD
- their recorded work to be taken seriously by press and the music industry
- a fixed cost and a predictable result
- a good return from the CDs they sell direct
- profitable penetration into UK and overseas commercial markets and alternative media sales
If you are an artist that is interested in recording with LIR, please read the information below which explains a little more about the philosophy behind the label. Please note that LIR does not fund artists to make records, but rather is designed to provide a service for artists who want to record. If you are still interested, then please contact us to discuss your project in more detail.
Why do it this way?
The choices for the last few years have not been ideal for the enterprising musician. Major labels have been signing fewer and fewer new artists and are making fewer new recordings. Traditional independents expect the artists to write off most of their fees against royalties that are never reached. You even have to pay ‘through the nose’ for the CDs you get to sell. There are many recording companies that will make a good CD for you, let you pay the full cost and their profit, present you with 1000 CDs and forget to tell you that most serious musicians and reviewers scorn such vanity publishing. You may get your money back, and even make a profit, but it won't help build your career. You will find yourself with a good supply of Christmas presents!
The smart version of vanity publishing is "own label". This is a growing trend, and a good one. Symphony orchestras, ensembles and choirs have been pushing this approach for some time, and with promotion on the internet it is for many the way forward. But one CD, even one a year, doesn't make a label. Distributors won't take on small labels comprising the few discs you are able to afford. You will need lots of expert input at every stage of the exercise. The successful new "own labels" are built on the existing strength of the artists' brands and their existing live and broadcast markets as primary targets for sales - take LSO Live or The Sixteen's new label for example. That is why we have designed our label to provide the best of each of these approaches for you.
LIR Classics is just what it says, an independent record label based in London.
Like almost every other label we out-source recording and engineering, production, print and pressing. You may come to us with some of this done already, and if the quality meets our exacting standards, that is fine.
We organise everything for you, overseeing every element of the process. We work with you on repertoire and artists and how they will relate to the market. We help you plan the recording sessions, and generally organise and supervise them. We help you create the copy for the booklet, finding authors if necessary and providing translations if appropriate. We deal with illustrations, copyright and clearances.
We handle all matters of registration, copyright, royalties and so on, all explained in a detailed contract with you.
We release the record with appropriate press materials using our extensive contacts, and include it in our own marketing and publicity for the label in paid ads, brochures and web marketing. We make every effort to get your CD played on air, and to sell deals on the content to third parties, such as Internet music sites.
Your CD will be available on our list through our distributors in the UK, Europe and North America.
We store your CDs and deal with internet and mail order retail, and supplying to the distributors. We advise on repressing, specific targeted marketing campaigns and other initiatives.
The business model
You prepare and play for the sessions at your own expense. You cover any other musical costs, such as fees to composers or guest artists.
You pay LIR an agreed fee for an agreed package of professional services, and you pay the recording and production costs. At this stage, LIR keeps its charges to an absolute minimum.
We receive a pressing of 1,500 CDs, which are pitched at £9.99 retail in the UK (this is known as "mid-price").