Starting an Indie Label in 2013: A Conversation with Raviv Ullman of Innit Recordings

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Image via Innit Recordings

By Nathan McAlone

There was a time in recent history when starting a record label seemed daunting: you had to have enough money to rent a studio and press records, enough clout to somehow get on radio, and enough chutzpah to book gigs. Now all those things seem tantalizingly circumventable, as if every boy or girl with taste, Twitter followers, and a decent mic could support an artist in a way that could potentially lead to success, however you define it. We’ve fantasized about it, you’ve fantasized about it, but few have actually done it, let alone with immediate success. We decided to sit down with Raviv Ullman, whose newborn label Innit Recordings scored blog recognition from Noisey and Pitchfork for their first single, and talk about what it takes. What we found out was that though in this era of digital democracy it’s easier than ever to start a label, there are some things that haven’t changed about how the business works, and there’s still no substitute for hard work and paying your dues.

On September 12, Innit Recordings released their first single, “Drive,” by the band Lolawolf. The single was featured first on Noisey, whose response can be described as, “fuck yeah, we have no idea who this band is but we like this song,” and shortly after on Pitchfork, who took the route of “we like this song but must insert a snarky comment about Lenny Kravitz’s daughter being the lead singer” (which for the record, she is). While it might appear on first blush that this label could somehow be a Zoë Kravitz vanity project, Ullman assured us it’s not, that in fact the funding for the label was originally built around a different band, Reputante (some of whose members are also in Lolawolf), before Kravitz’s involvement. He says a hunger to have an artistic voice is what really birthed the label. Read on for some of his thoughts on the twisty process of starting an indie label in 2013.

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