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A record label profile consists of a brief introduction to the label in question followed by a Q&A with a label representative and finally a selected discography. Though we prefer the discography section include capsule reviews, it is optional. The easiest way to conduct the interview is to email a list of questions to the representative. The length of the profile section can vary. It mostly depends on the length of the answers in the Q&A. If they are brief, consider weaving the answers into a narrative article instead.
The contact with the label starts with an email. The labels have contact information on their website. We may also have the contact's email address and will pass it along. Here is an example of a template that can be used when contacting a label:
Hi [Label Rep's Name],
My name is [Your Name] with All About Jazz (insert link to contributor page). I’m interested in writing about [Record Label Name]. If you have an interest, we can approach it this way:
I'll conduct an (email) interview with you to get some background information about the label;
I will also need a selection of music or access to the catalog. If possible, I prefer (digital/physical) copies. The music will be used for the selected discography portion of the article.
I'd also ask that you furnish me with images (up to 10mb in size) that can be used for the lead image in the article.
I look forward to hearing from you.
Michael Ricci, publisher of All About Jazz, is cc’d on this mail.
Regarding the selection of music, it's possible for the writer to choose releases for the selected discography, but also consider allowing the label representative to choose the releases and possibly add short comments to each release.
The easiest way conduct an interview is to email a list of questions to the label representative. Here is a list of standard questions that can be used for inspiration and modified:
AAJ: Growing up, what kind of labels did you admire, and which labels do you consider kindred spirits now?
AAJ: When did you form the label and was there any particular reason why it happened?
AAJ: What's the story behind the name of the label?
AAJ: How would you describe the sound and aesthetic of the label?
AAJ: Could you tell about your sub-label(s)? When did you start them and how do they complement each other?
AAJ: How do you find your artists? What kind of artists are you looking for?
AAJ: Could you talk about some of the key artists and albums that have been important in terms of shaping the development of the label?
AAJ: Looking back, could you share some of the most memorable anecdotes about your life in the record business?
AAJ: Which jazz venues would you recommend in X (the home city of the label)? Are there any particular places where artists from your label often play?
AAJ: What is your take on the use of digital technology? Do you see it as an opportunity or a hindrance? Could you imagine X being a label that only released downloads or is it important to you that there is a physical product?
AAJ: These days, the opinions about streaming services seem to differ a lot. What is your take on this issue?
AAJ: If you think about the development of the music business in general, how would you characterize the changes that you have been through?
AAJ: What is the label's approach to packaging and design? Is there a particular visual style that you aim for?
AAJ: Do you include liner notes and photography in your releases?
AAJ: Could you tell about some of the studios you use? What is the perfect sound to you? Do you prefer the studio or live recordings?
AAJ: What is your role when it comes to the music you release? Do you play an active part as a producer?
AAJ: What are your ambitions for the future? Are you optimistic when it comes to the future of jazz?
AAJ: Finally, could you tell about your release schedule and some of the future releases on your label?
Once the interview is completed and the music for the discography received, the writing can begin. The first part is an introduction. Read some past label profiles for inspiration.
Unless the complete profile is written as an article, the introduction is followed by a Q&A. The format is the following:
All About Jazz: [First Question?]
Full name of label representative: [First Answer.]
AAJ: [Second Question?]
Initials of label representative: [Second Answer.]
...and so on.
The label profile ends with a selected discography with or without capsule reviews.
Here is an example of a label profile with selected discography, cover image and a brief text.
The format for this type of discography looks like this:
ears&eyes: Selected Discography
Tomorrow Music Orchestra
Neon Jesus Garage (2006)
Matthew Golombisky's Tomorrow Music Orchestra is a meeting of different musical worlds. One of the Orchestra's earliest efforts, Neon Jesus Garage, is a fully realized canvas of sound that incorporates elements of jazz, cinematic soundscapes and modern classical composition. The track "Slakeshore" sounds like Steve Reich playing jazz.