Ensemble launched in September 2014, and has thus far been a music management and concert production company, working with artists such as Loah, Ensemble Ériu, the Kirkos Ensemble, and more.
We set out to combine good music with good business, marketing, and production, and we’ve had a hugely successful first year, if we may say so. But from day one our plan was always to release music as a label, and now that time has come.
We feel that Ireland needs a new independent label with a fresh perspective. One that will support exceptional artists who have a lot of potential but aren’t necessarily seen as commercially viable.
We didn’t want to rush into it, waiting for our artists to develop and for us to build enough of a following and experience in the industry to justify it.
We’ve also hired a new team member to run the label – Brian Dillon, an extremely talented all-rounder who you might know from Meltybrains?, the Dublin Laptop Orchestra, and as a very capable producer and engineer in his own right.
The plan is to put out 2-3 records per year of our artists’ early EP’s and albums, each backed by a music video, international PR campaign, and Irish and UK tour.
However, releasing music is an expensive business. So we’re looking to raise the funds to put out our first two releases – minimalist/electronic pianist Conor Walsh and Irish/Sierra Leonean songstress Loah’s debut EPs.
The costs for each release roughly break down into the following: Mastering: €250 Vinyl pressing: €1.5k Artwork: €500 Music video / photography: €750 PR: €750 Online Advertising: €250 Total: €4k per release
Of course, any extra we raise will help the records reach an even wider audience and go towards our future releases. But all going well, we want to only have to ask for help with these first two releases, after which the label will hopefully become self sustainable.
We’re realistic enough to know that as a small label from a small country we won’t be able to single handedly turn our artists into world beaters, so the goal is to use these releases as a platform for artists to get noticed by international labels, and in time to become a feeder label of sorts.
Donating to the campaign will not only support a (hopefully) worthwhile project, but also to preorder our first release (Conor Walsh’s Debut EP) which will be out before the end of the year. Pre-assessing demand is an important part of how these crowdfunding campaigns work, and we don’t want to lose sight of that.
Most people we tell that we’re starting a label in this day and age think we must mad, and to be honest we probably are a bit. But some things are worth doing for art’s sake, regardless of the cost. We hope you’ll agree that this is one of them and support our campaign.
Risks and challenges
Many would say that the challenges and risks of setting up a record label far outweigh the possible gains. This is certainly the case financially. There is literally no money to be made in selling records in the 21st century, especially niche ones like ours.
However, we believe that there are much better reasons to do so than that. The artists we want to work with deserve to get recognised by a greater audience and we’re willing to put in the work to make it happen. However, the business of selling records is risky at the best of times and this is why we need your help. Without the initial cash injection, we’re not going to be able to make it happen.
Even after that, it will be difficult to sell the records at a rate to even break even. However, we’re willing to accept this challenge, as we believe the music will speak for itself and convince people that it’s something worth paying for.
After we have successfully funded our project there will still be a veritable minefield of setbacks ahead. Funding this project will not make it a success, it will only be the starting point. The project will not be a success until people all over Ireland and further afield are listening to these artists.
Everyone who works in the music industry knows that setbacks are inevitable, these might include:
– Delays/defects with the vinyl pressing
– Tour scheduling issues
– PR campaign clashing with other similar releases
When these arise we will use our experience and work ethic to get around them, and deal with the problems creatively, and learning from mistakes that other record labels have made in the past.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (19 days)