Recently we’ve been taking a closer look at some of the labels that use TuneCore for distribution. We’ve learned about 50 Cent’s G-Unit Records, UK indie label LAB Records, and comedy label aspecialthing records, just to name a few. Today we’ve got an interview with Bill Roe, co-founder of Trouble In Mind Records. Based in Chicago, Trouble In Mind Records is a pop label that works with artists on an album by album basis. Check out our interview in which Roe talks about the importance of staying realistic, and what it takes to build a loyal fan base.
Can you describe your label (genre, number of artists signed, how long you’ve been operating, etc…) ?
I think we are a “Pop” label first and foremost. Some of our bands veer into psych, garage, punk, indie, but the unifying factor is the POP HOOKS. We don’t really “sign” anyone, just operate on an album-by-album basis. We have been a label since August of 2009.
How did you get your label up and running?
Basically we ponied up for the first release ourselves (a 7-inch by our old band, CoCoComa), and funneled that money towards the next, and so on and so on. We had a little help initially from our first distro with P&D, but I would NOT recommend that to any label. You just dig yourself into a money pit. We were fortunate enough to be able to buy our way out.
What does TuneCore provide for you as a label?
Basically it makes it as easy as possible to get our music into a vast array of online retailers. I appreciate the fact that I just get it all uploaded and you guys handle the rest. Easy-peasy.
How do you use the monthly sales information in your account?
We have yet to really use the full capabilities of that feature, but the basic info does help us keep track of who on our roster is selling so we can pay them the digital royalties they’re owed!
When one of your artists has a new release coming out, what do you do to promote the release, and what do you expect the artist to do?
Well, we have a Press Agent who handles getting our full-length (and some single) releases into magazines, blogs, papers, etc., but we utilize social media like Facebook, Twitter, and message boards, to get the word out. We’ve been lucky enough to build a loyal fan base that will talk about, support, and buy our releases as they come out (and sometimes in anticipation of them coming out!). As for the artists, ideally we’d like them to play live shows and tour, but really at the most basic level just be proud of what they’ve created and talk about it when and wherever they can!
What are the most important tips you would give to a DIY artist trying to achieve his/her goals (whether it be getting signed to a label or not)?
Be realistic about your label and yourself. Not every label is Capitol Records (or even a major indie like Matador or Sub Pop) with the money and staff to blitz a record into the mainstream consciousness, so research and know what you’re getting into. Conversely, I’d say be wary of big time deals that promise the moon. SOMEONE has to pay for whatever it is they’re giving you, and 9 times out of 10 it’ll be YOU whether or not the label keeps you or drops you. Also, pay your dues. Tour. Write. Record. Repeat. If you do this, you will build a fan base. Don’t expect one to be handed to you. Other than all that serious stuff, have fun. Music is awesome and brings me tons of joy.
Check out some of the artists who have worked with Trouble In Mind Records: The Limiñanas, The Wrong Words, The Paperhead, Wax Museums, Night Beats, Mikal Cronin, Estrogen Highs, Hollows, Apache Dropout, Alex Cuervo, & Jeffrey Novak