This week we caught up with the owner of recently formed imprint Cyborgs in Love, YENI, to discuss five lessons she's learned from running a label in 2017.
Cyborgs in Love got techno tongues wagging recently when they released the exceptional ‘Different World’ EP by John Haden, featuring remixes by label boss YENI as well as another from DJ Emerson. For the label’s latest, it’s YENI who takesup the reigns courtesy of the noless exceptional ‘Hang On’ EP. A stunning fivetracker featuring three originals and two remixes, it’s very much the sound of a producer who’s destined for great things.
Yeni's Hang On EP (ft. remixes by Andres Campo and Wigbert) is out soon on Cyborgs in Love.
Five lessons I learned running a label in 2017:
1) Your planned schedule will never run in time.
I had so many plans doing things differently when I started. I originally wanted to release one EP per month which was far beyond what was possible. There are so many different parties involved in a release which makes it really hard to plan when you start a label and I didn't really have much experience when I started out. You need to find a balance between the following parties:
- A&R, which I do myself
- Releasing Artists
- Managers of the artists, which I handle alongside my label manager. They want to protect their acts and sometimes the manager of the one remixer want to do things differently compared with the manager of the other remixer. It's important to find the balance in between
- Label management, I work with a label management agency for administration and distribution.
- Distribution and stores, although my label manager handles this element of the business.
- A PR agency, which I am in constant contact with to handle communications.
- Graphic design, which I handle myself.
- Social media, although I have an agent for my own career who helps me with the l myself & she also helps me with the label socials) - but I am responsible for the content and posts
- Opinion leaders, i.e. bigger acts that you want to support your tracks. I have a promo pool which I created over many years myself, but I also add external providers to target others.
- Merchandise providers.
On top of all of these priorities you end up with other responsibilities, for example, I also ran a showcase during ADE which made me kind of a event organiser which stressful, though in a good way. There are other duties too, one artist that didn't had a booking agency got a request from abroad and I handled it for him. My aim is to support my acts with bookings and more showcases With all this in mind, it took me another six months to prepare the next EP that comes out in December after the first was released in July.
2) Don't run for quantity but for quality.
There are so many labels out there and my opinion is that if you want to do it in a good and professional way, don't try to release as much as possible but try to create a special story for every single EP/release. The first EP in July was the kick-off of the label, so I was even happy to find a artist that wants to give away tracks to an unknown label.
Also was I very happy to find DJ Emerson as the first remixer which took some time, since he had no incentive to go with my label, but he did it in such a great way. This new EP is my own since I also want to showcase the style I am searching for with my label. The third release will be a VA/compilation with well-known acts and a newcomer since I want to offer something special as well. Since I've now finished preparations for this forthcoming release, I am now starting to prepare the third release that comes out in four to five months.
3) A label is expensive, especially at the start.
People ask me "how much do you pay per release"? Since I want to put 100% in every release I invest quite a lot into PR agencies, promo-mailouts, social media ads and my label management. Some remixers also require a remix fee. Every release needs a business case and a lot of invoices come in every week which you have to be prepared for. A label is a company you run and you have to pay for services you receive from third parties.
4) Your ears get tired
Since I am also responsible for A&R on my label I have to listen to so many demos, most of them not even fitting the style I have in mind. Also giving feedback is really valuable but you don't really have the time to answer every request. I receive a lot of messages, but I try to take the time and listen to all of the demos.
5) You learn how to run a company when you run a label
Being organised, having good communication with your partners and also following a plan you created for everything is important. It's also a good tool for myself to have an exchange with lots of interesting people in the scene and it's given me so much confidence in being a business woman. It's really fun and I want to expand into merchandise, bookings, artist management, events, but that would be a full-time job next to my own touring I guess.