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QRD #45 - Record Label Owner Interview Series
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Label Owner Interviews with:
Badman Recording Co.
Boring Machines
Champion Version
Dark Meadow Recordings
End of huM
Exotic Fever
Fluttery Records
Fourth Dimension/Lumberton Trading Company
Greyday Records
Lagunamuch Records
Morc Records
Moving Furniture
North Pole Records
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Label Owner Interview with Taner Torun of Fluttery Records
November 2010
Name: Taner Torun
Label: Fluttery Records
Artists Roster: A Journey Down The Well, En Plein Air, Phoenix & The Turtle, Open Work Stocking, Tamed Animals, Draff Krimmy, Yawning, Music For No Movies, Gate, Diamond Gloss, Marionette ID, Ana Never
Websites: www.flutteryrecords.com, www.facebook.com/flutteryrecords, www.myspace.com/flutteryrecords, twitter.com/flutteryrecords

QRD – When & why did you start your label?

Taner – I was dreaming of it for a long time, but it was June 2008 when we created the label. My band, A Journey Down The Well, had put a release online without a record label without CDs. The Funeral Album was a free digital download. Many people were interested. Also we had two offers from labels to which we could not say “yes.” We came to the idea that there should be a record label where all the artists are totally free. A place for creative music & artistic independence. These were the mindset of the label. They record, we release. No one says, “Play like this, do it like that.” No stupid commercialism involved in the recording process.

QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?

Taner – From our savings from other jobs.

QRD – How many releases have you put out?

Taner – 10 at the moment. Many of them are waiting in line.

QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?

Taner – It was January 2009 when we put out the first Fluttery release. We have released 4 albums in 2009. There are 6 releases so far in 2010. If every thing works well, we want to release 20 albums or EPs each year.

QRD – How many hours a week do you work on the label & how many would you like to?

Taner – Depends on the workload. When we feel very tired we take short breaks, but still there’s always someone to follow the writings & connection between the label & the artists.

QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?

Taner – Reading good reviews about our releases, positive response from the listeners, watching our artists grow their fanbases.

QRD – How have your motivations for having a label changed?

Taner – Well, motivations turn into responsibilities. You are responsible for the artists on the label. There’s no room for being unmotivated. If you are unmotivated, you are irresponsible to the artist you represent.

QRD – What do you feel is the biggest waste of your time running the label?

Taner – Some artists are sending e-mails without checking what we release & what we don’t. We are getting lots of mails from the artists asking if we could check their MySpace page. Replying to that kind of stuff is a waste of time.

QRD – What are some labels you admire or feel a kinship to?

Taner – We release post-rock, ambient, experimental, electronic, modern classical music. So, I follow the labels that do the same. Constellation, Kranky, Erased Tapes, & many more.

QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to have a label?

Taner – I didn’t have much work experience related to music business before the label. 

QRD – What makes you label special & unique?

Taner – Our artists are totally free on what they are recording & releasing. That’s the main goal. We have artists from different countries & we welcome creative artists from all over the world. Our listeners can find great music which may not be considered as “music” by major labels. 

QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?

Taner – It’s nice that we have artists from Japan, Norway, USA, etc. We welcome all the creativity & we don’t care about where they live. Our or their location is not a factor in our label.

QRD – Do you enjoy music as much now as you used to & how has running a label effected how you listen to/hear music?

Taner – I also play in A Journey Down The Well. I practice a lot. Experimenting with sounds is my biggest amusement. Time is limited, but I can say I’m a good listener. 

QRD – What’s your demos policy?

Taner – We first ask for a MySpace, Last.FM, Facebook, etc. link where we can stream their music. If we like what we’ve heard we ask for more. 

QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?

Taner – I follow music websites, blogs, & meet new artists. Also we choose from artists submitting their links.

QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?

Taner – Internet, social media, & peer recommendations. 

QRD – What’s been your biggest selling release & why do you think it was?

Taner – Artists who have a growing fanbase & communicate with their listeners sell better. 

QRD – What release that you’ve done was the most important & special to you personally?

Taner – Whenever we release a new artist, I’m trying my best to promote them. Being responsible connects me with their music. It’s not possible to choose.

QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with a band?

Taner – Simply, we must like their music. We should think that our listeners may like them too.

QRD – How involved do you like to be in the artwork design for a release?

Taner – Since the independence is our holy word, artworks are chosen by the artist too. If they cannot find someone to do them, we fix it.

QRD – How long is it from when an artist delivers an album to you until release date & why?

Taner – About three months or more, because we need to create pages on our website, design the press kits, & take notes about promoting the artist.

QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?

Taner – I still release their music; hope that fans like the same.

QRD – Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?

Taner – We have written contracts to protect their rights & ours.

QRD – Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?

Taner – We do it in house. We can’t afford to hire out someone to do it at the moment. I’m really thankful to Elise & Jane. They are giving a great support.

QRD – How do you maintain contact with your fanbase?

Taner – We have a growing mailing list. Also we use social networks Facebook, MySpace, etc.

QRD – How big of a staff do you have & how big of one do you need?

Taner – We are small in numbers, but big in heart. If there is a work overload, we ask for help from the artists.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with record stores?

Taner – Since the beginning of this century, the music industry is changing rapidly. More than ever…. Many record stores are out of business. But the number of albums & EPs being released every day is growing. Record stores do not want to keep dead products. Demand is the factor. If there is a demand, they contact the labels & distributors. We totally understand their concerns.

QRD – What do you do to build relationships with magazines, websites, & bloggers?

Taner – Reviews are great feedback for us, also for the bands. They introduce the artists to a new audience. We try to get our artists reviewed as much as possible. We contact music writers & ask if it is possible to review our artist. We share all the reviews on our website & social networks.

QRD – What is the job of your distributors?

Taner – To get the CDs to the online & retail stores we are working with. Most of our sales happen online. Distribution on online CD stores like CDUniverse & Amazon is important. Distribution of digital files on iTunes, Rhapsody, eMusic is important too. 

QRD – How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?

Taner – I recommend all the independent labels pressing in small numbers & frequently. The digital age is taking over. If they do not want to live with boxes, they shouldn’t resist.

QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?

Taner – Some of our artists sell their merchandise at their live shows. We only sell music on our website.

QRD – Do you sell music that is not on your label?

Taner – We only sell our releases, but we may consider this in the future.

QRD – How has running a label effected your own artistic career?

Taner – I must admit that I sometimes miss the times I practiced more.

QRD – Ideally, would you release your own material?

Taner – My band releases on the label. If I had a solo record, I would release that on the label too.

QRD – Do you worry about search engine optimization & website traffic?

Taner – Who doesn’t?

QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?

Taner – It’s quite dead for pop music. As far as I know people tend to download pop singles on iTunes. But the album format will still be dominant for other styles. What has your favorite artist composed over the year? Listening to the album is the best way to learn.

QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?

Taner – Collecting the physical materials from artists you like is a way of communicating with their music. MP3 format has a lower quality than CDs. There are other formats such as Flac, but I think CDs are one of the best ways to enjoy quality.

QRD – What’s something you see other labels do that you think of as borderline unethical?

Taner – I know some of the major labels paying artists 2 percent of the income. This is evil….

QRD – What changes in things would cause you to stop your label?

Taner – It’s still early to know or predict.

QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?

Taner – Starting small, going big. It’s best to taste the rivers, before sailing. Put some patience, energy, hope in your bag.

QRD – Where do you think money is currently most available to labels/musicians & where in the future?

Taner – The music industry is changing. No one should predict what is going to happen in the future. Music is becoming less about products, more about service. Subscription based models are changing the point of view of the artists & labels. I think stage arts will not be affected by all these changes. People love live acts since the early ages. It’s the most social way of showing your taste of art.

QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?

Taner – As an artist, the things you can do is limited. Labels make everything easier & you can focus on your music. 

QRD – Music has had different hotspots on the internet over the years (newsgroups, MP3.com, MySpace, LastFM), but with MySpace’s decline, what do you see as the place where “normal” people go to find out about & get excited by new music?

Taner – Facebook artist pages took over the MySpace profiles. I think people have more chances to discover music. There are lots of blogs, websites, internet radios. There are more services in business. What Spotify did is really big & amazing.

QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?

Taner – Our pitch is “New Home of Post-rock, Ambient, Experimental, Electronic, Modern Classical Music.” We want to be at home. We want to host great musicians & great listeners. We want our home beautiful & recognizable.