How To Build A Sustainable Music Hub Outside of London
AIM's Member Focus series sees independent music companies break down their goals, the journey to achieving them and what others in the indie community can learn from them...
Founded in 2014, Mayfield Records Ltd (MRL) was established with the aim of bringing together certain key elements to support and nurture a thriving, all-inclusive music community on the south coast. As of June 2021, the five operational pillars are:
High-end recording studio
Video production services
Multi-angle, mixed sound and video live-stream facilities
MRL represents an innovative approach to new music production; incorporating recording studio, house band, record label, video production and live-streaming services and a wealth of talented up and coming artists with the central aim of producing fresh, new music with melody and meaning at its core.
WHO IS THIS CASE STUDY USEFUL FOR?
This case study is useful to any driven, committed and multi-skilled teams looking to build a sustainable music hub that will last long into the future. Its strength is based on five complementary and unshakeable pillars that will allow wonderful new music to flourish and prosper.
WHAT IS THE LABEL AIM?
Our aim is to support and promote emerging UK artists; releasing their music and securing significant streaming revenues across all DSPs.
WHAT WAS THE CHALLENGE?
Paving a career for an up-and-coming original artist in an ever-changing music industry is tricky to say the least. MRL’s challenge was to create an all-encompassing music hub to guide singer- songwriters, rappers and bands through this ever-shifting maze. Our aim being to establish a business model incorporating the following critical functions:
Support in songwriting and instrumentation (house-band)
Rehearsal (fully equipped live room)
Recording (professional recording studio)
Video Production (full range of music videos)
Live performance (venues, festivals and live-streams)
Release & distribution (record label)
PR and marketing (record label)
Royalties, licensing and sync arrangements (record label)
As of 2014, different local organisations provided single elements of the above. Our challenge was to create a ‘one-stop’ offering to streamline and facilitate the journey of aspiring, talented artists all the way towards national and international recognition.
As of June 2021, the full MRL infrastructure is in place.
WHAT ARE THE GOALS 2025?
To sign and support a diverse range of artists with the aid of the complete MRL infrastructure to include recording studio, video production services, house band and live streaming facilities. The music is released digitally (plus selected vinyl) every Friday with melody and meaning at the very core of each song (#SublimePop). We will continue to support our local community to include schools and colleges, music festivals and local charities (Tonic Music For Mental Health and Tonic Rider). By 2025, our goal is to have 3 commercially successful artists on our roster with regular play listing across BBC National Radio. We will continue to cultivate ‘togetherness’ amongst our label artists allowing for cross-pollination and the generation of a ‘scene’ and label family, under the umbrella of a strong brand (MRL) label identity.
WHAT WAS THE SOLUTION?
To create a sustainable music and video recording facility supported by solar panels alongside minimal overheads to act as the creative hub for the organisation.
Thus allowing for the majority of profits to be re-invested towards the label arm of the business and the support of our artist development services.
MRL has forged partnerships with many organisations, which have proved hugely beneficial for the local music community. For instance, our partners have been instrumental in securing Arts Council England funding to deliver a series of live music shows commencing May 2021. Our partners include the Association Of Independent Music, Victorious Festival, Express FM, Tonic Music For Mental Health, The Wedgewood Rooms and Soho Radio.
The Mayfield Records music hub is an ongoing project and is currently working on a 5-year business plan up to the end 2025. For instance, work is underway to build a studio annex to offer overnight accommodation. In addition to the studio rooftop, a further 50 square metre space has been developed to offer further live music and video production opportunities. The business plan is in constant review with amendments made regularly in accordance with ongoing developments and business requirements.
WHAT ARE THE OUTCOMES SO FAR?
Although the label arm was only established in 2017 we have already achieved some notable successes:
A significant number of MRL releases have received BBC Radio airplay (both local and national). For instance, Hannah Reem’s ‘Beg Steal Borrow’ was recently played on ‘Rylan on Saturday’ on BBC Radio 2. Here’s an MRL BBC Airplay Spotify playlist link.
The label is committed to releasing new music each and every Friday and this was sustained throughout the entire lockdown period.
Much of the PR and marketing campaigns are centered on driving Facebook Ads towards Spotify plays and playlisting. Total monthly Facebook post reach is approximately 500K (*June 2021) and the total number of Spotify playlists (algorithmic, editorial and listener combined) featuring our 30 strong roster of artists is approaching 10K.
Creating a multi-angle, mixed music and video live streaming facility has enabled us to secure Arts Council England funding to deliver a series of fortnightly live music shows to support up and coming artist along the south coast.
MRL have developed a strong and integrated relationship with Express FM which has evolved to the weekly ‘Local Music Show’ and the associated ‘Local Music Chart’.
AIM is the not-for-profit trade body exclusively representing the UK’s independent music sector. Our members range from the largest, most respected record labels and associated music businesses in the world to self-releasing artists and the next generation of entrepreneurs in music.
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