Advice For Budding Label Managers

Josh Rosenthal, Grammy-nominated producer and founder of the Tompkins Square imprint, has a few opinions about what it takes to run a label.

I don’t like hiring publicists because I like driving the narrative, having my own relationships, and I like to save money. I’m not convinced that I’ll get incrementally more press by hiring someone. Plus there are very few press hits that actually move the needle. Work your consumer email list. If your music is any good, certain outlets will embrace it without a middleman. Social media is effective at spreading terrorist propaganda. For music, not so much. There’s too much chatter, nothing sticks. Is it helpful? Yes. But if you’re relying on it, that’s really sad.

Music content will be owned by technology companies eventually. There’s already this morphing of digital services and the major content holders, which are buying stakes in said services. Forget the delivery method, you can’t control that broadly. Keep up with developments in technology, but don’t let them guide your creative principles. If you can’t make money using the present day delivery systems, innovate, or go do something else. Old world constructs made musicians and labels feel entitled to reliable income, but that doesn’t mean it will be that way going forward.


These are excerpts from Rosenthal's new book The Record Store Of The Mind, which seems to be an interesting read. Check out more of his – sometimes serious / sometimes not so much – thoughts on label management at The Vinyl Factory.