Label Spotlight: 301 Studios

posted July 3, 2006

by Corinne

301 StudiosPlease introduce yourself.

Hey Plug In, Joshua here. I am co-owner of [301STUDIOS], an independent record label based out of Minneapolis, Minnesota.

When and why did you start your label?

It started back in 2000, when I eventually tired of trying to get someone else to believe in my music, bands I had been a part of, et cetera. I started out on my own under the alias of JSL, and figured that there really is no better way than to build for yourself. Make them (the rest of the music community/industry) come to you.

What kind(s) of music does your label put out?

We work with all types of genres, but what's really been our niche so far has been electronic & hip-hop. Underground hip-hop in Minnesota in particular nowadays has a ridiculous following. It's huge.

What was your first release? How did you finance it?

First release was for my own solo project JSL. Financing came from working two (basically) full-time jobs, and one maxed out credit card. Heh. This project was only an E.P. as well...

What is your most recent release?

Most recent is a disc entitled "lovelife." by local electro-industrial heavyweights Thosquanta. Very cool disc. Great group of musicians and people all together. It's actually acquired a decent response with college radio-play, and internet sales too.

How do you feel about sharing music on the Internet?

Ahhh, what a segue way. Heh. Hmmm, this right here is easy for me to answer. I believe there will always be a market for physical discs or other media of an artist’s music. If it's available, and good, people WILL buy it. Even if only to put into iTunes, and listen on their computer, they'll buy it. I mean, look at it this way, even every single supposed full album leak I've heard (Yea, I'm guilty too.) has been incomplete. When it comes time for the actual release, someone screwed up along the way, and got horrible rough mixes, or missed entire tracks completely.

Any words of wisdom for those interested in running their own label?

I'll repeat what I've read someone else say, that has become the truest article I've ever read on the subject, "Get ready to work 22 hours a day for a couple years." That is, if you're serious.

What has been your most successful release?

The most successful, so far, has got to be our "TheFutureOfMusic I: Electronic" compilation (released May of last year). It's the first in a series of three, with "Hip-Hop" coming toward the end of this year. Lots of press, sales, et cetera, and hype about the series in general. It's really cool to get involved with all of the different artists on compilations as well, if you can pull them off. There are far too many compilation horror stories out there.

What is the best way and the worst way to get a label's attention?

Hmmm, I'm not quite sure there is a best way. I'll be the first to admit it, it's hard to get in on the ground floor, no matter how good you are, if certain people don't know you. We've had artists gain our affection/attention in all sorts of different ways, so, I suppose, just find what works for you, be you. One thing over all: Be professional. Worst way: Relentless pressure, horribly obvious insecurity, threats, et cetera. Heh.

Regardless of genre, what do you look for in the artists and bands you sign?

Well, going back to the last answer, professionalism. I don't care how you act in private, but towards us and your fans, be professional. Show up for gigs, be open to suggestions. Let us help you. That's what we're here for.

There are a lot of legalities involved in running a label (signing bands, releasing records, everyday work, etc.). How does your label deal with these things?

Well, we've been through our share of attorneys & accountants. We may, just now, be getting it right. That's one of the toughest aspects of running a business that you actually love. Making it all legal. Especially with a record label.

What upcoming releases can we expect from 301 Studios?

We've got some amazing things on the horizon. Releases from protégée Word Clock, Stellar Vector, another JSL disc, the second in the compilation series, and many, many more.

Thanks for your time!