Working For An Indie Record Label – Part 2 – By Luke Crook


Hello again!

So, the last article was a bit of a ramble aimed at some of the tech/admin steps you go through at a label to take a release from X tracks on a CD-R or Pendrive and getting it out to digital and physical retailers worldwide.

This time, lets talk about something that’s a little more…well, creative!


Next to the music itself, artwork is in my opinion the next more important part of a release. Before streaming music became so incredibly popular, all you had to go on was if you’d heard it on the radio and how awesome the front cover looked!

So, where do you start?

Well, first things first, you need an idea. Whilst it might sound stupid, you can waste a lot of time if you don’t have some direction, because more often than not, the music is more or less done before the artwork starts, and no-one wants to rush. Following that, you need a designer to put it all together. This can take some time too, so make sure you’re looking out for one. Check out other CD designs you like, artwork, even book covers. Students are good, as they are cheap! Friends are even better! Discussions about whether you can gloss finish, matte finish, pantones/fluros (neon colours), metallic effects, how many pages you want in your booklet/inlay, how you want your digipack to fold and open will follow that. Lots of fun!

Then, once you’ve got a designer working on your great idea, you need to work out formats. CD/Limited Edition CD/LP/Digital/Magical Unicorn Edition.

Now, on the surface, a pack shot (Album Cover) is a pack shot, but format changes everything. CD’s are fairly straight forward and versatile. If it’s a jewel case, your inlay/booklet doubles up as your pack shot! Yaaay! All you need after that is your artwork for under the tray (where the CD slots) and artwork for the back of the case, which more often than not has the track listing. Digipacks are slightly different, because it’s all printed onto one piece of card and then folded. It can be gatefold, 2 fold, 3 fold (Rammsteins latest release opened out 5 ways if memory serves!). You need to remember where the slot for your inlay (if you have one) is going if you have one too!

Now, before I go any further, I’ve forgotten to mention one of the most important aspects of artwork. Label Copy. Label copy is essential the bible for the release. It’s a document containing everything about the album/single. Catalogue number, artist, title, track listing, publishers, copyright and publishing rights, collaborators, thank yous, websites and loads more. Most of this will go into your booklet and back cover for legal and information reasons.

Great, that’s the CD covered. Oh…what about the LP? No booklet there (Unless you’re feeling fancy!). So, you’ve not got to go back and ask your designer very nicely if he/she can do you a whole new template. Front and back sleeve (And center if it’s a gatefold) and stickers for the vinyl. This leads me back to my point about making sure you know all your formats before you go to design, otherwise you’ll: A. Irritate your designer or B. End up having to pay more for another format design. LP’s tend to have a far more stripped down label copy on them, purely for the sake of space.

Digitally, its pretty simple. Just a packshot. Bliss. Through iTunes you can also get a digital booklet to go with it if you want, as an added extra.

All of that, when all most people will ever see is the pack shot, when they walk past it in the shops or scroll past online. That’s your one chance to catch their attention and get them interested. The rest, that’s their reward for picking it up.

Always run it past your artist for approval. They don’t need to see it at every stage, just when there is a significant change or update.

Oh, and don’t forget to proof read it. Lots!

by Luke Crook

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Working For An Indie Record Label – Part 1 – By Luke Crook


As some of you may know, I work for an Indie Record Label. It’s a blast, but not what everyone thinks it is. So, I thought it would be interesting to do a little blog about what the day to day is like working for an Indie Record Label because as much as I make it sound like gigs galore and nights out in reality, it’s really not!

Paperwork. Data entry. There’s lots of it.

 Before this job I thought getting a record made meant going to the studio, getting the tracks done and then sending them off for mass production. If only.

So, we’ve got the music. Great. Then you need to get it Mastered. Which is fine. So long as you remember to deliver the relevant ISRC codes (Unique, trackable numbers for each track) with it. Oh, and the correct track listing for the Redbook/DDP (final format for delivery to manufacture). Forgot to write “feat. Blah blah blah”? That’ll be an extra £40 to get it amended.

Then, you enter the lovely world of Metadata, or the spreadsheet of doom as I like to call it. You enter ALL the track/album info into a spreadsheet. Title, artist, feature artist, release data, catalogue number, publisher, composer, producer. Everything. 10 track album? Not to bad. 5 formats? Not so easy. CD, LP, Digital, iTunes Exclusive, German Exclusive? Yup, need to write a separate one for each. And make sure you get a new barcode for each. And the right catalogue number. Did you know Scandinavia can’t take iTunes videos? So an exclusive with video means a separate entry all together.

 Oh, and the price. Easy you think? “We’ll sell it for £xx”. But then you have to talk to separate countries about their price, and if you don’t, it wont show up on their system. And they don’t tell you till the last minute. Handy.

And between all that, you’ve got the Label Copy. Label Copy is a document that holds all the information about the release. Contributors, publishers, copyright holders. 9 guest artists? Better get all the separate publishing information for them, ASAP!

Whilst all this is going on, you’ve got artwork. Pricing for artwork. Working out the unit cost of each product. Did you know you can’t release a CD in Europe if it’s not shrink-wrapped?


That’ll do for now I think. For me, its fascinating to see what goes into actually getting a CD released to the public, and how it works. Above is just a teeny part of what goes on. There’s also marketing, sales notes, picking singles and remixes, track ordering and much more. I will be back with more about what it is like working for an indie record label soon.

By Luke Crook

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Introducing A New Creatabot Contributor – Luke Crook

Creative and Art News, Editorials

Luke Crook works for indie music label “Sunday Best” and he will be writing about what it is like to work for an indie label as well as what is going on in the world of indie music. We knew you would like to know some more about Luke so we asked him some questions so that you can get to know him better.

So whats your creative background?

Creatively my background has more or less always been musical. I found my Dads rock vinyl, told my Mum I wanted to play guitar and ended up learning piano for about 3 years! Then I went on to teach myself guitar, and after that a bit of bass and drums. Jack of all trades!

After that I got into sound engineering, mixing and the like. From there I did my A levels in Music Technology then trotted my way up to De Montfort University in Leicester to do a BSc in Audio Recording Technology. Maths, Physics, expensive mixing desks and general madness. Lots of fun!

What made you get involved in the indie music field?

I’ve always been a fan of local music, and Medway has always been a hotbed of musical talent. I spent most of my early teenage years getting down to Bar M and the Rafa Club to watch bands, or trying to get gigs myself. I played in a variety of bands myself, and I had a pretty eclectic musical upbringing, so it varied from heavy metal to pop to bluesy bands. I loved and still love the ethos behind local and indie music. Trying to make it, doing it for the love and fun.

The journey at local level is beautifully organic and frustrating.Out of Uni, I wound up working in my local indie record/guitar shop, Sound & Image, for a year which was an education in genres! From there, I was finding myself looking more into independent record labels and independent artists, and how their popularity can vary. People forget sometimes, I think, that Adele goes out on the label XL, who are an indie, not a major, and just look at her success.

Then, from there, I sent a very innocent e-mail to Sunday Best inquiring about a job, and on a Sunday at about 9pm I got an email asking me if I’d like to start as intern! That was 10 months ago, and now I’m neck-deep in the indie industry!

Who inspires you both locally and universally?

Locally, my biggest influence has to be the wonderful Manny Rossiter. Long standing supporter of local music and also my mentor, what the man doesn’t know isn’t worth knowing! Also, when I was younger local bands like Innersense and Back To The Drawing Board were favourites of mine and they probably helped start my musical bug. There’s also an old boy who regularly comes into the shop called Pat. He’s probably one of the best guitar players I’ve had the privilege of knowing. He played with a lot of great bands back 60-70 years ago and watching him play has been a big game changer for me.

Universally, it’s not limited to music. Musicians like John Martyn, Jeff Buckley, Stevie Ray Vaughan, Nina Simone. Composers like Tim Burton and John Williams. Music that breaks the mold and makes you go “Wow, how did he/she do that?!”. Writers like Terry Pratchett and Douglas Adams who take wacky ideas to the extremes. What’s more inspiring than one man who’s written nearly 40 books about a turtle that flies through space with 4 elephants on its back, or another who wrote about a robot with depression and a restaurant at the end of the universe which recreates the big bang over and over?!

What would you like to achieve in the future?

Good question. I’ve only just started out in the career path, but I’d like to take it as far as I can. I wouldn’t mind heading up an indie label one day, that would be amazing! I’ve got a few musical projects in the pipe line that, personally, I’d like to get done and have some fun with.

I guess I’d like to be known as someone who influenced or helped others. It’s a nice way to be remembered I think. Plenty of people have helped me along the way. Soppy, I know!

Can you recommend a creative website you love?

Tricky! There are so many! is a great website/magazine I found at Uni for Midlands based creatives. is great for music.
Also, check out It’s a great online radio station for unsigned and new music. It should be back on DAB radio soon too.

Thank you Luke for bringing some news and information from the indie music world to Creatabot!

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