"When All Music is Digital, All Independence ceases." Iron Man Records would like to release all new records on Vinyl.
I'm going to release records on Vinyl anyway, but your help in reducing the costs by 10% or 20% or more would be really useful. I want you to give me a metaphorical envelope, with a small amount of money in. I'm going to come back to you in a years time, and make the case that I have used the money wisely. I'm going to reward you for the risk you are willing to take, and details will follow. Let me explain:
Vinyl can be an expensive. In order to release Vinyl at an affordable price, and maintain it's independence, the label could use some money upfront to reduce the production costs.
Iron Man Records works with guitar based music like rock, punk, metal, and acoustic singer-songwriters. The label also works with poets, artists and writers.
Iron Man Records has released recordings by P.A.I.N, Police Bastard, Dufus, Nightingales, John Sinclair, Howard Marks, Rachel Mayfield, Brassick, Steve Fly, Dr Marshamallow Cubicle, TC Lethbridge, Sensa Yuma, Last Under The Sun, and many more.
The record label has created more than 30 record releases of its own, some on Vinyl and CD, some purely digital releases. The label runs a small online shop with nearly 150 products listed for sale using Big Cartel.
In addition to releasing records, Iron Man Records offers a number of music related services from Tour Management, Legal Advice or Representation to Music Licensing, simple online strategy and The Music Network.
All the money generated from the label, and from activities around the label, like Tour Management, go into making the next record release possible. None of the bands have broken even so far. A typical record release on Iron Man Records may cost more than £8,000 and take up to ten years to recover the costs of producing it. Some record releases may take even longer.
Everything that the label creates is produced with care and attention to the highest standards with the available budget. Iron Man Records is a complex manifestation of risk taking, personal and professional financial suicide, insanity and making independent music against impossible odds. Iron Man Records works hard to give music value.
Iron Man Records has never chosen to seek financial support from Arts Funding Organisations, Government Projects, Academic Institutions, Banks, Advertisers or any other groups. The label would rather seek help and support from the consumers of the end product (that's you) or drive itself over the cliff trying to do something worthwhile. The label will remain independent by any means.
Over the past 18 years the label has run up massive debts trying to make new and interesting music accessible. I'm still waiting for the first few releases on the label to break even on their initial production budget. If things carry on the way they are, I may have to do something sensible and give it up. That would be a shame after all the hope, trust and patience invested in the label, and myself, by all the bands it has worked with. Iron Man Records has released some fantastic records by some amazing bands and artists, but it has also become a dangerously expensive past time that makes most Class A drug habits look pitifully cheap. All of the bands are struggling against impossible odds too so any help for the label, also helps the bands it works with.
The label is not finished yet and most of the bands it works with aren't either. If you can imagine what it's like "to be clinging by your finger nails to the last cliff of hope," this is where the label's at. A little help from you could make a big difference at a critical time. By supporting Iron Man Records with a monthly donation, the Label will be able to remain Independent and release more records on Vinyl. The money generated through your support will not solve all the problems, but it will reduce the upfront costs of producing the next record release on vinyl, as well as on CD, and making it available through digital platforms worldwide. I will continue to use my own money to finance the label but a little bit of extra money each month, from you, would be a great help and makes planning the next release on vinyl a bit easier. You get the idea, I'm sure you know how it can be.
I want to encourage you, if you enjoy the work I do, and the music that the label releases, to support the development and growth of an Independent Record label directly.
"When All Music is Digital, All Independence ceases." Consider what that means. When all music is digital someone will have the power to switch it on or off. Vinyl is actually more important than just being a pleasure to listen to.
You can help in three ways:
1. Support Iron Man Records to create more releases on Vinyl with a small monthly donation
2. Share this page with friends
3. Have a look at what Iron Man Records has for sale.
I'm not asking you to support the running of the label as a whole. I can do that myself. I would like to ask for your help. Iron Man Records wants your help to raise additional funds to make all new releases available on Vinyl as well.
Many people assume that because I run a record label, I must make loads of money and rip off all the artists and don't care about the music. This is wrong. Last year alone I lost more than £17,000 trying to release a number of records and one of them got incredible reviews across all the major music press and national newspapers. But press is press, it's not record sales. I put a lot of time and effort into helping bands with something to say, either in their lyrics, or in the music. I work hard to release their records properly. Doing it yourself is easy, but doing it properly and giving bands the chance to generate a sustainable future is something completely different. I try to help them reach a wider audience and I do it as cost-effectively as possible, on a budget you can stick under a glass. And I do it because I love seeing good bands, good artists and good music getting an audience. Vinyl appears to me to be one way to remain independent, to give music a proper release in a beautiful package. Vinyl is a format that enables the music and words it contains to be valued as a serious body of work. Vinyl helps the work remain independent.
I would like to invite you to help. Iron Man Records can't help everyone, but the number of records the label can release on vinyl, and the number of bands that the label can help, is directly related to how much money I can assemble upfront, to initiate a release. I might spend £5,000 sometimes £10,000 before the first record even goes on sale. I don't want to have to consider going "cap in hand" to local arts funding organisations or anyone else who might spend their time trying to re-arrange the record label's priorities to suit their needs. I have to generate an independent source of money to release records myself. I have to do that through the work I do as a tour manager, through the stuff that the bands and I sell, and through the donations you might give. That's it really.
Iron Man Records stands to live, or die, based on the money it can assemble to start a new record release, the work it can complete before the money runs out, and the income that the work generates once it has been released. There will never be a funding application form or local government arts project involved in any record release, either now or in the future. That's a promise. But I'd like to audition for your help.
Music is not just a file on a portable electronic device, it's somebody's life's work, their heart, the highest expression of the human mind, it's hours of work, years of peoples lives, it has value, it has meaning. It should remain independent in an age of digital. Help me release music on vinyl and help me release vinyl at a fair price and give struggling bands and artists a chance to be heard. You have to make the world you want to live in. Here's the application on behalf of Iron Man Records. You know what to do.