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Tommy1

Privat Label, What Does It Mean?

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Over the years I've seen loads and loads of different soul labels. Many of these released maybe only one 45 and has been described as a "private label". What does that mean? Did there exist studios where you could record a song and then release it on your own label?

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As John has said, usually refers to a 45 (or LP) pressed up by the artist himself (or his family / group).

Huge numbers of gospel tracks released in this way.

Recording session organised (in hired studio or in church) by actual artist. Record making (pressing process) organised & paid for by artist AND many times records mostly sold at the artist's live concerts (usually with no copies sent to distributors / very few or no promo copies sent out / very few copies sold via actual record shops).  

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As John has said, usually refers to a 45 (or LP) pressed up by the artist himself (or his family / group).

Huge numbers of gospel tracks released in this way.

Recording session organised (in hired studio or in church) by actual artist. Record making (pressing process) organised & paid for by artist AND many times records mostly sold at the artist's live concerts (usually with no copies sent to distributors / very few or no promo copies sent out / very few copies sold via actual record shops).  

 

Thanks a lot Roburt for a informative answer, just what I needed. Follow up: Do you have an idea of how this hired studios worked, was that a kind of business to run a studio for hiring, was it normal, could you find it in a normal sized city?

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Most recording studios were available 'for hire' (& still are).

The Motown studio (and most years) the Stax Studios were too busy to take 'outside bookings' but just about every other studio ran a for hire side to the business.

In house sessions (for the studio's own label) didn't earn cash, they just cost money to run. So to fetch in 'outside income' most studios ran sessions paid for by 3rd parties (for instance I'd say the majority of sessions cut at Detroit's United Sound studios were for such 'outside' parties). You could either hire the studio with it's full compliment of musicians, producer, etc. OR just the room and the sound engineer to 'turn the knobs' & produce the master tape.

Many 'outside artists' would have the song's picked out & learnt in advance, the arrangement organised, the musicians prepared BEFORE actually going into the hired studio. That way about 4 tracks could be cut, mixed & mastered in a 2 hour session. It was generally the small operator's studios that were used by 'private labels' as they were the cheapest and most amenable, I'm sure that not too many 'private label' sessions were booked at places like United Sounds in the studios heyday.  

Today you could hire a (basic) US studio for as little as $70 (for a 2hr duration session). 

Edited by Roburt

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I'm a funk collector and I have or know of plenty private pressed records with the name of the artist or producer for label name, for example:

Tony Bowens & Soul Choppers- Boilin' Water on Tony Bowens,

Reginald Milton & Soul Jets - Clap Your Hands on Milton,

Dayton Sidewinders - Let's Go Down To Funksville on Carlo (name of label owner is Carl Cowen)

etc...

Edited by Weego

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Most recording studios were available 'for hire' (& still are).

The Motown studio (and most years) the Stax Studios were too busy to take 'outside bookings' but just about every other studio ran a for hire side to the business.

In house sessions (for the studio's own label) didn't earn cash, they just cost money to run. So to fetch in 'outside income' most studios ran sessions paid for by 3rd parties (for instance I'd say the majority of sessions cut at Detroit's United Sound studios were for such 'outside' parties). You could either hire the studio with it's full compliment of musicians, producer, etc. OR just the room and the sound engineer to 'turn the knobs' & produce the master tape.

Many 'outside artists' would have the song's picked out & learnt in advance, the arrangement organised, the musicians prepared BEFORE actually going into the hired studio. That way about 4 tracks could be cut, mixed & mastered in a 2 hour session. It was generally the small operator's studios that were used by 'private labels' as they were the cheapest and most amenable, I'm sure that not too many 'private label' sessions were booked at places like United Sounds in the studios heyday.  

Today you could hire a (basic) US studio for as little as $70 (for a 2hr duration session). 

Up through early 1964, Motown's studios were still leasing time to private parties, and providing session musicians and arrangers.  Mike McLean played me a bunch of acetates and studio demo records of outside customer recordings recorded from 1960-1964, ranging from hard Blues through Gospel and transitional R&B/Soul.  I know that they also had MOR and Pop clients, as well.  Most often, the recording studio hooked up the customer to the pressing plant, and often arranged the pressing deal.

Edited by RobbK

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Tommy has messaged me with some further questions & I thought others might also be interested in the info. So I'm going to post it up on this thread and not just forward it to him privately .

  .......    Firstly some Cleveland studios that hired themselves out to outside parties. Cleveland never really had a large well financed home-town label (Way Out being just about the biggest there was but they were never really properly financed).

So the local recording studios all had to hire themselves out to 'outside parties' to keep the work / monies rolling in.

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A Cleveland based company that turned your recordings into records ................

I have no costings for their work but have costings for other facilities that I will also post up .....

 

 

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Even the likes of H-D-H had to hire out their Detroit studio facilities after the guys had spent all the advance payments they had received for signing up with big national distributors (Capitol, Buddah, CBS, etc.).

I don't know what their hire charges were back in around 73, but have some for an LA studio ........

.... they were charging $30 per hour for use of their facility in 1973.

Like airplane seats and hotel rooms that if left empty earn no money, recording studios found themselves in a similar situation.

A studio left empty earned nothing that day, so many would allow outside parties to make use of their facilities with no advance payment. Their hold on such artists making use of the studio was that they would hold onto the master tape until they were paid. So if the singer or their reps hadn't come up with the required fee, the master tapes stayed at the studio till money did change hands.   

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Edited by Roburt

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The other option was using a custom label. Like Style Wootens Designer imprint:

 

post-1660-0-24582900-1427712411_thumb.jp

 

Google books has this extensive list of U.S. studios from 1972. Including equipment, opening hours and rates:

https://books.google.no/books?id=qkUEAAAAMBAJ&pg=RA1-PA50&dq=%22style+wooten%22&hl=no&sa=X&ei=ECYZVYyRM5bmas30gJgD&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22style%20wooten%22&f=false

 

Preview of Detroit studios:

 

post-1660-0-83692600-1427712364_thumb.jp

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This Utica (not too far east of Buffalo & Syracuse) based outfit would press up 500 copies of your 45 in 1972 for $105. That worked out at around 20c per single.

Thanks a lot again, just what I needed.  :thumbsup:

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The other option was using a custom label. Like Style Wootens Designer imprint:

 

attachicon.gifCapture2.JPG

 

Google books has this extensive list of U.S. studios from 1972. Including equipment, opening hours and rates:

https://books.google.no/books?id=qkUEAAAAMBAJ&pg=RA1-PA50&dq=%22style+wooten%22&hl=no&sa=X&ei=ECYZVYyRM5bmas30gJgD&ved=0CE4Q6AEwBw#v=onepage&q=%22style%20wooten%22&f=false

 

Preview of Detroit studios:

 

attachicon.gifCapture.JPG

Thanks Lars. Billboard, of course!

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