“HOW DOES THE PUNK MUSIC RECORD LABEL, IRON MAN RECORDS CHOOSE ITS ARTISTS AND HOW DOES IT PROMOTE THEM?” writtten by JANINE LABUSCAGNE BA (HONS) Media & Communication, University of Central England, 2007.
“…..There are two kinds of music – good music and bad music. Good music is music that I want to hear. Bad music that I don’t want to hear” Fran Lebowitz, Metropolitan Life, 1978
The objective of this study discusses promotional strategies generated by the independent record label, Iron Man Records. The research examined the use of the Internet as a free marketing tool and how traditional methods of running a label did not have an affect on Iron Man. Discussing this, I examined the theoretical areas of music industries, promotion and punk in order to understand and gain a solid background for the development of my research.
Conclusions are then put forward after conducting a participant observation, that social networks play the biggest part in promotion for the label. Findings throughout the research have been put forward about the different strategies used in the process of online promotion, as well as more general suggestions for further research.
‘De muziek is de geleende creativiteit en motivatie in ons leven’ (translated from Dutch), music is the borrowed creativity and motivation in our lives. The music industry has had one of the biggest influences in our lives and on our culture. An example of this would be Wall (2003) and Anderson’s (2006) statements which look at popular music as the: “soundtrack to our lives” (2003; 1) and that “we are consumed by hits – making them, choosing them, talking about them, and following their rise and fall” (2006; 2). The world of the music industry is one which has been forced to make changes because of the constant development of new technologies. These changes are in order to keep fans consuming the product that is for sale – music. Britain is a nation of music lovers and we buy more music than any other country – four units per capita each year (IFPI Recording Industry in Numbers 2002).
The music genre known as punk, has been around since the late 1960s, when unemployment was a prominent social feature in Britain. It would appear that we are currently witnessing a re-evolution of the music industry and punk’s DIY (do-it-yourself) ethos within independent record labels. Beyond the development and creation of music, technology has created an impact on the production, distribution, and consumption of ‘Iron Man Records’ music. “Record companies see the other media as promotional avenues for their music” (Wall 2003; 111). There are many new and different social networks such as MySpace, MOG and Flickr which will be one of the main areas of focus for the research. These social networks have evolved on the Internet and the trend displayed by many bands in choosing independent record labels, such as Iron Man Records, above major record labels demonstrates what Barrow and Newby argued about how the music industry:
“Without popular recording artists there would be no music business and without record companies there would be no musical product to be bought in the shops” (1995: 2-3).
The research question, ‘How does the punk music label, Iron Man Records, choose its artists and how does it promote them?’ is a significant topic in the industry to investigate. The independent label has not been explored in depth before, although academics have looked at similar areas of the music industry. The study will look at how relationships are being built between a record label, the music industry and bands. The study also looks at what steps are being taken to promote and market Iron Man Records music.
I support this dissertation through a literature review on what academics in the field have written relevant to my research topic and the critical approach that was taken towards promotion of music. The following areas will be discussed; music industry, promotion and the genre of punk. Finding underground independent music is a unique way of consuming music because, the music is not distributed through the mainstream media outlets and distribution channels (TV, radio and the Internet). The music of DIY artists is being promoted through word of mouth. I will relate this critical approach to the participant observation research I conducted at the independent record label, Iron Man Records. The DIY ethos associated with the label relates to the wider cultural context of the underground music industry. It operates through the process of consumers hearing music, liking the music and then wanting to own the music.
In Chapter Two I discuss the changes in the structure of the music industry, such as the Internet and new technologies (MP3 players and digital downloads) and how they shape Iron Man Records in its process of promotion and marketing.
Lastly, Chapter Three, I will describe the approach to the subject matter by undertaking research through participant observation. At the record label, Iron Man Records. The research follows four succeeding procedures: (1) Observing the label, (2) asking question about the relationship between the label and bands, (3) looking at producing the product and researching Iron Man Records’ and (4) new promotion strategies using the Internet as a free tool. By the end of this study, I will conclude my research findings with an answer and suggesting further ways in which more research can be done.
Click link for full article: Janines Dissertation on Iron Man Records 2007