What sort of commercial obstacles does the independent label face?

Quite simply commercial. The rules are set by the major players - that applies to all forms of publishing and outlets. It takes an inordinate amount of capital to publish a band. Everybody and his mother is stood in line with his hand out waiting to pass you on to the next contact level, who when you get to any significant level, is not interested because it does not belong to the same stream of mindless drivel he is told by his employers is the current flavour of the hour. The only way music gets to national radio producers is through the personal service of pluggers who cost a fortune and have limited contacts. So to spread a recording requires multiple pluggers. In the main the Radio DJ's are mindless puddings who play what they are told from the play list. The play list is controlled by the producer and therefore the pluggers and therefore the person with the most money, and, Yes - you've guessed it, the major labels.

 What's more, the key is commercial, so anything not seen as mainstream is played in obscure radio slots and there are few of them. On National radio they are generally devoted to garage or hip hop or some such drivel which is considered challenging by the mainstream producers. National and local independent radio stations are not quite as bad and usually there are more DJ's trying to prove their loyalty to local scenes, and to be down and with it, need to take notice of some of the local music scene. They are also generally more approachable directly, but obviously need more local knowledge to target effectively. Once again they tend to slot at off peak times and have limited audiences so a buzz is difficult to sustain. These are best exploited as part of a local campaign and in conjunction with other activities gigs etc. and are often used by Independent labels like mine for this.

The other key obstacle, also financial, is the logistics of distribution. Majors do not wish to share their distribution chain. Independent distributors do not deal with small runs 'cos they are not cost effective, and they are not geared to slicing distributions together since their charging structure tends to be artist based. They are more than willing to take an artist on providing they meet their criteria, so either the artist is sliced many ways and creativity may suffer, or the label loses out, or the artist just lost another slice of their hard-earned.

So commercially we are forced into publishing by stealth. Instead of national launch, we creep across the country and it can take years. Most of the progress is self financed and that's a lot of local boozers and clubs, a lot of logistics and finance management for the label and the band and total dedication to the output.

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