‘Micro Record Labels’ is the definitive book on the subject of running your own micro record label. It is part how-to and part love letter to all the labels which I adore. Above all else, it is a light-hearted, entertaining and beautiful book all about running a tiny record label. The book is fully written and I now need to raise sufficient funds to enable it to be designed immaculately and published.
Hi, my name is James and I run a Micro Record Label called Brian Records. Brian Records is a Micro Record Label started back in 2010 as an offshot of a music club of the same name. It has gone on to release music by people such as Nils Frahm, Peter Broderick, Clem Leek, the Wrens and a host of other incredible artists. The people at Norman Records (on-line behemoth and all round lovely people) recently said the following about the label:
"Brian Records have long been one of those labels who delight us with their determination to release music in preposterous packaging. From five cassette box sets to minidiscs to 8" lathe cuts to dictaphone tapes they have made an art out of producing objects that you can't play on any normal record player. Long may their obtuse and exotic way of thrusting music into the world continue."
I think that summarises things pretty well.
So last Christmas, whilst moving logs at my in-laws, I had an epiphany. Literally over the space of several hours, I dreamed up a book on Micro Record Labels. I wanted it to be part how-to, following 8 years of running my own label – and I also wanted it to be a love letter to all the other labels which I know & love, having collected records since the age of 13. I wanted it to be a light-hearted book which makes you laugh. And also a book that tells you a tiny bit of the story of Brian, my label.
You may be thinking at this point that the book isn’t written yet, but in fact you’d be wrong. It turns out that I am a writing machine. In just two months I have written roughly 30,000 words spread across more than 130 pages and featuring over 50 photographs. The reason why I have been able to make this happen now is that in reality I have been mulling over the idea of this book for years, literally years. At Christmas, however, I suddenly realised how I could bring the idea to fruition.
So, you may be thinking – if you wrote it that quickly, then it’s crap, right? Hopefully wrong. I asked all of my children to read it and they all told me that they love it. But seriously, I have asked a few trusted friends who know what they are talking about to read it, and they have said things like:
“I really like the book. I like its honesty and also its refreshing style. I like the fact that you’re not attempting to keep any cards on the table – and that you’re attempting to be as transparent as possible, particularly with regards to finances – but also in terms of scope. I would love to think that somebody out there will pick up the mantle and run with it.” – Paul Lockett, who writes for a number of music review websites.
“It’s great, really great. Your style of writing and language use is very you and, as Brian was a manifestation of you in the first place, it’s brilliant that the book reads the same way. The book (like the label) is a labour of love, obsession, attention to detail and what happens when someone cares more about the end result than financial reward.” – Philip Rhoads, who has written for just about every music magazine under the sun for many many years.
So, you know, hopefully it’s OK.
What is a micro label?
This is a great question. And as the writer of the definitive book on the subject, I’m hoping my book will thoroughly and convincingly answer it – but in a nutshell, it is a record label which releases physical musical artefacts in a run of no more than 200 copies and ideally a lot less.
What’s in the book?
Lots of photos of some amazing releases. Advice on contacting artists. An in-depth look at physical releases. Advice on finances. A review of some of my favourite labels. And a plea to never include compromising photos in any release ever!
What labels are included?
The list is still to be completely finalised as I reach out to different labels I love. However I am delighted to confirm the following labels will feature: Akashic Records, Awkward Formats, Brian Records, Champion Version, Clothbound, Cotton Goods, Dauw, Deception Island, Dinkytown Records, Entr’acte, Flau, Fluid Audio, Hibernate, Mordant Music, Mort Aux Vaches, Oscarson, Reckno, Reverb Worship, Rural Colours, Second Language, Secret Furry Hole, Slaapwel, Sonic Pieces, Spank Me More Records, Standard Format, Static Caravan, Under the Spire, Vintermusic, Winebox Press and Wist Rec. Don't worry if you haven't heard of them. One of the hopes of the book is to introduce people to amazing tiny labels just like these.
How close are you to finishing?
I am done. Honestly. The writing is complete and is currently being edited & re-edited to remove all those pesky spelling mistakes and typos (apparently its and it’s are two different things, who knew?). The next step is to sort out the graphic design and redo all the photos.
Who else is involved?
The graphic design is hopefully being handled by Steers McGillan Eves Design Ltd, who have worked on a number of high profile projects including the overhaul of the National Trust magazine (and who doesn’t love the National Trust?).
What will you do with all the extra money?
To realise this project, I must raise £2000 to fund the printing & binding, touching-up of the photos and resolving minor layout issues. Additional money over-and-above this level enables the book to be further improved. The more I’m able to raise, the more can be invested on the type of printing & binding, the number & quality of the photos and also the layout. Not a penny will be wasted. Of course, this does mean that the more I’m able to raise, the longer the post-writing phase will take. But the results will hopefully speak for themselves.
Risks and challenges
I don’t see any risk in me writing the book, it’s done.
Regarding the production, the more I raise the higher the standard of design but also the longer it will take.Learn about accountability on Kickstarter
- (30 days)