with Indie Label Owner Gareth Hardwick of Low Point
Name: Gareth Hardwick
Label: Low Point
Artists Roster: Numerous
QRD – When & why did you start your label?
– Low Point was started in 2006 initially as a private press to release
my own music. Other artists soon got involved & it blossomed from
QRD – Where did you get the money to finance your first few releases?
Gareth – My day job & savings.
QRD – How many releases have you put out?
Gareth – By the end of the year it should be close to 50.
QRD – How many releases would you like to do a year?
– I never start a year with a set goal in mind, things generally get
released as & when they’re ready. 2011 will be Low Point’s busiest
year to date though with 8 vinyl releases planned.
QRD – What are the fun &/or rewarding parts about running a label?
Gareth – The music & the artists Low Point works with.
QRD – What other work experiences prepared you to run a label?
Gareth – None.
QRD – What makes your label special & unique?
Gareth – The artists Low Point works with.
QRD – How has your physical location effected your label?
Gareth – Not at all.
QRD – What’s your demos policy?
– Unsolicited demos are currently not accepted, mainly as it’s hard to
find the time to listen to them when they’re sent over.
QRD – How do you find out about new artists for your label?
Gareth – However I can.
QRD – How do most fans find out about your label?
Gareth – I’m guessing word of mouth, internet forums, reviews, probably even file sharing.
QRD – What are some things that make you want to work with an artist?
Gareth – If I like their music primarily.
QRD – What do you wish bands on your label would do?
Gareth – Find an appreciative audience so that we can sell more copies of their releases.
QRD – If you really like a band, but aren’t sure you could sell many copies of their record; what do you do?
– There is always an unknown quantity when selling every release. Some
records that I have loved sell far less than what I hoped, some
releases I’ve had doubts about have done really well – it’s just the
way it goes I guess...
QRD – How is financing of a release split between artists & the label?
Gareth – Low Point finances all releases.
QRD – How do you split profits from a release between artists & your label?
Gareth – It’s a 50/50 profit split.
QRD – Do you have written contracts with your bands or handshake deals?
Gareth – Everything is on a handshake basis & is as clear cut as I can possibly make it.
QRD – Do you take a cut of a band’s publishing?
Gareth – Absolutely not.
QRD – How important is it to you to have touring acts on your roster & what do you do to encourage it?
Gareth – Playing live always helps promote a release, but I don’t expect it from an artist.
QRD – Do you handle promotions in house or hire out & why?
Gareth – In house, mainly because I cannot afford to pay someone to do it for me.
– Do you view advertisements as a way to generate interest &
revenue or more as a way to financially support magazines &
websites you like?
Gareth – I don’t advertise.
QRD – What is the job of your distributors?
Gareth – To fill orders.
QRD – How do you decide how big the initial pressing of a release should be?
Gareth – Educated guess.
QRD – Do you sell merchandise other than the music (t-shirts, etc.)?
Gareth – No.
QRD – How has running a label effected your own artistic career?
– In some ways it’s helped, though the fact that I’m so busy with the
label hardly gives me any free time to record my own music.
QRD – What’s your most common conversation with artists as far as balancing artistic integrity & financial viability?
– Every musician I know in a band works a day job as they have rent
& bills to pay. I doubt that earning a living from music alone in
this current climate is financially viable.
QRD – Do you think the album format is dead?
Gareth – Absolutely not.
QRD – Do you think the return of vinyl & cassettes is a fad?
Gareth – For vinyl, I hope not. I haven’t listened to a cassette in about 15 years.
QRD – Is it important to have physical releases over digital ones or does it not matter?
Gareth – It matters.
QRD – What do you think of ultra-limited runs of releases (less than 100 discs)?
Gareth – Useful for CDRs & private press releases.
QRD – What do you think of “print on demand” discs?
Gareth – I’ve never considered them.
QRD – What do you do about people distributing your music without financial compensation (piracy & file trading)?
– It’s sad. Most of the artists Low Point works with do not make a
living from their music. If I showed up at someone’s job on payday
& grabbed their wages as they were about to receive it, that would
be wrong. I see file sharing as exactly the same thing.
QRD – What’s something you see other labels do that you think of as borderline unethical?
Gareth – Not paying their way.
QRD – What would you suggest to someone starting a label today?
Gareth – Be prepared to lose money.
QRD – Why do you think labels are still important to artists?
Gareth – I would like to think so.
QRD – In 20 years what do you think/hope your label will be known/remembered for?
Gareth – Releasing great music.