10 Tips on How to Start a Record Label From Empire’s Cookie Lyon

Many of us have complained about the current state of the music industry.  If you love music and are interested in becoming a part of the music industry you need to know how to start a record label.

Empire’s Cookie Lyon loves music.  Her expertise helped Lucious become a star and she risked her life to get the money that was used to start Empire Entertainment.  In season 2 of Empire Cookie Lyon shows us how to start a record label with no money by her brilliant use of tenacity and her ability to translate vision into reality.

If you want to learn how to start a record label with no money simply analyze Cookie Lyon’s every move as she creates Lyon Dynasty.  Without further delay, here are Empire’s Cookie Lyon’s 10 lessons on how to to start your own record label.

How To Start A Record Label
How To Start A Record Label

1. Choose a name and logo
Your company’s name and logo sets expectations.  Creating the right kind of identity for your record label is vital.  For Cookie Lyon, Lyon Dynasty is the perfect name for her new label considering the definition of ‘dynasty’: A succession of people from the same family who play a prominent role in business, politics, of another field.

2. Sign your artists
Sign artists that you can trust as you will eventually have to give them the freedom to create marketable music.

The following scene shows Cookie training Hakeem’s girl group.  Before signing an artist ensure that they possess the work ethic required to succeed in the music industry.

Create an online presence
You will need a website with sample segments of new songs.  Websites give you a base for your fans to find out everything they want to know about your record label and you will also use it to sell your music.

When no one is listening make yourself heard! Cookie knows exactly how to make her voice heard when people refuse to listen.  You have to do the same with your record label’s website and social media accounts.

4. Market your music
Now that you have your website, use it! There are numerous artists that do a majority of their marketing online.  You will need to get yourself established on numerous social media accounts including Facebook, Soundcloud and YouTube.

Cookie will have to find strategic ways to market Lyon Dynasty and we are sure she will.  Her creativity and passion enabled her to sign some of Empire’s top artists.

5. Build your brand
Teamwork makes the dream work! You will not be able to do it by yourself.  Build your brand by surrounding yourself with people on the same mission as you.  Success is not created by one person but by a team that comes together as one.

Cookie knows not to burn bridges.  Never push a loyal person to the point where they no longer care.  The bridges you burn today will be the bridges you’ll need tomorrow.  Never forget where you come from, you may have to go back someday.

6. Know the contract
There are numerous contract used in the music industry.  Most labels use the 360 contract which is an agreement between the artist and record label.

Cookie Lyon doesn’t like when people are unclear in their agreements.  Precision of communication is vital when you are starting a record label.

7. Focus on the music
Get your tracks mastered.  You product represents your label so it is important for your tracks to sound professional.  Remember why you decided to start your own record label: You love music and want to play a part in the future of the music industry.

Cookie has to motivate her artist to get them to deliver the best sound.  You have to motivate your artists to practice beyond the point where they get it right.  Your artists have to practice until they can’t get it wrong.

8. Digital Distribution
Digital distribution is used to get your music to the different online stores.  Find out which distributors your favorite labels use and approach them.  Choose a reputable distributor to ensure your label receives payments on time.

You could cut out the middlemen and distribute yourself yet you may find it difficult to get into certain stores.  Cookie’s drug dealing past should not be praised but lets just say that she understood the importance of getting her product on the streets.

9. Hire a trustworthy accountant
Hire an accountant to file your accounts with the tax authorities.  This will save you more than they cost in the long run.  Whenever any decision about money is made, never do it alone.  Never spend your money before you have it!

Cookie and Jamal show how important money management can be.  As opposed to Empire’s studios Jamal is forced to work in horrible conditions.  Those who don’t manage their money will always work for those who do.

10. Plan for the future

Prepare for the road ahead.  Many of us fail to consider the fact that change happens to us whether we like it or not.  Without strategy execution is aimless.  Both Cookie and Andre understand the importance of a vision.

Vision is the art of seeing what is invisible to others.  Andre’s vision for Empire pulls him back towards the company while Cookie’s vision for Lyon Dynasty pushes her away from Empire Entertainment.  Clarify your vision plan with precision.

By Jason John

Jason John is based in Maryland and covers Empire BBK’s News and Entertainment. He was previously a producer for the mobile site, helping to present Empire BBK’s news report to readers. More