Label Spotlight: Viral Music

posted April 1, 2006

by Corinne

Viral MusicPlease introduce yourself.

Darren Pearce, Marketing and A&R for Viral Music

When and why did you start your label?

The label started in November 2004 born out of seeing so many talented bands on the live circuit. Through our band management experience we decided to launch an online label that acted like any other more traditional labels but was entirely online, this kept our set up costs low. We felt there was a market for such a label as most were the 'pay to sell' varieties with no A & R process and we wanted to concentrate on marketing our artists rather than merely collecting content for the site.

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

A wide variety -- from electronica to heavy metal.

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

Our first release was the Superbossí single 'Things will get better' and due to the way we release music the cost of release was very low.

What is your most recent release?

New York based Pseudo Mellor and Redneck Renegade both released their debut singles at the end of January [2006].

How do you feel about sharing music on the Internet?

My feelings are that the artists involved should be rewarded for their work and that internet releases should in no way dilute their income. Unless an artist has granted a free release of their work, downloaders should respect that artist and pay for their music.

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

You have to look at your cost base and the team you are assembling first, the bands will come later. We are lucky because the three directors of the business perform all the functions required for the label to run successfully so we don't have to contract out for anything and this saves costs.

What has been your most successful release?

Tony Berriman's 'Evolution' was successful for us and also The Grain's debut single.

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

The best way is to be clear about your music and present it in a way that makes it easy for the label to listen and understand where you're coming from. Giving a label three of your best songs is normally more effective than giving them 10 mediocre ones along with a simple biography and picture.

It's difficult to quantify the worst way because a lot of passion goes into music and sometimes, however well produced, the songs just don't hit the spot and that's the most important aspect of the band, not the image or the press pack.

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

Musical talent. Being an online label we are less concerned about image and keener on what the songs sound like.

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?

We're all part time but because the three of us cover three distinct areas of the business it's not dependent on one person at any given time and this means that we can be doing different things at any given time that all contribute to the label.

Anything else you would like to add?

We're in an ever shifting market and now we have the legitimization of online only releases by more and more recognized artists. This now means any band considering what label to approach and how to market themselves has more options than ever before, I would say this is the most exciting time we've seen in many years for new music and those who create it.