Bill Wilson and Laurens Kusters have a long history in independent music. As a founder of Blackout! Records and a current VP of Digital Strategy at The Music Business Association, Bill alongside I Scream Records founder and manager to Sick Of It All, Laurens, developed a brand new resource — Indie.ninja. The site connects independent labels to trusted freelance professionals to simplify your search, provide top quality candidates and streamline payments. Learn more about indie.ninja from co-founder Bill Wilson, below.
My buddy Jim and I founded a little hardcore punk label called Blackout! Records in 1989 with a few thousand dollars we saved from our part-time jobs. The first release, a compilation of NYHC bands, initially sold over 15k copies out of the back of my car at venues, and then later through established indie distributors. Over the years the label was active, the imprints under Blackout! released about 100 records, ranging from bands like H2O and Deadguy to The New Bomb Turks and Guided By Voices. It was a fun ride that kept me and a small staff on a (barely) living wage until about 2004.
Running an indie was always an uphill battle, but for some very different reasons than they are now. There was no internet to find a pressing plant or learn how to make a record, cobbling together lists of college radio stations and indie stores for promotion was an exercise in industrial espionage, and even just getting a national distributor was an accomplishment. Marketing was easier. Things were way simpler when you could just stick a promo photo, bio, and a CD in a jiffy pack and mail it to 300 ‘zines and college radio stations and send postcards or stickers in a SASE to kids on a mailing list.
Fast-forward through the digi-pocalypse, the streaming economy presents new problems that need to be solved, and there are more thankless, invisible jobs than ever. Instagram, Facebook, Snapchat, Twitter,Tumblr, Vero, YouTube, Bandcamp, Soundcloud, Blogs, Websites. eCommerce and more – the the list of platforms required to effectively nurture and maintain a fan base increases daily. Each platform not only requires attention to post and manage user interactions, but also creating, cutting and sizing images ads and video to fit individual platform specifications. Labels, artists, and managers at all levels need to scale and throttle bodies to handle these jobs.
This is why my partners and I created indie.ninja- so bands artists and labels could find and hire from an experienced, global network of contractors for all of those thankless, invisible jobs that need to get done. We also take care of the bill payments and tax docs, so labels can get back to their core business and not worry about the paperwork. Got a team of contractors you already work with? We can help take the pain out of your accounting and workflow.
If your interested in trying out the new platform, labels through The Orchard can connect with their label manager for more information regarding access. We encourage you to give us a spin, there are over 100 ninjas and almost 100 college ninjas ready to work right now. We also have college students from 20 music business schools who are ready to help. Want more info? See a full webinar walkthrough here or hit up Indie.ninja via email at [email protected] through our social pages on Facebook, or chat with us directly in the help chat at indie.ninja.