top of page

The Ultimate No Money DIY Record Label start-up strategy!

Everybody loves to get started for free, right? Whether you have no money, find things too expensive, or need to skimp on a few things, starting a record label with no budget can be appealing. However, this path can cause major headaches down the road. Many aren’t proud to say how they started, but don’t worry—it’s not going to be that bad, it just won’t be easy.


I do not condone this activity. If your operation falls apart, remember I warned you. I have better solutions available so you don’t fail.

Business Setup

Without money for a sole proprietorship, DBA, or LLC, we’re going to have to wing it. This means losing all protection for our intellectual property and personal protection from business activities. We’ll be flying freely for now.


  1. Phone

  2. Computer with recording and editing software (Cracked or preloaded software)

  3. Camera (DSLR or mirrorless, optional; 2015 models can be traded or bartered for)

  4. Drives (SD cards, SSDs, and a card reader)

Favors, Favors, Favors (The Creative Team)

  1. Video Editor

  2. Engineer

  3. Assistant

  4. Graphics Guy


  1. Make the beats yourself.

  2. Find a producer that fits well with you (this person can double as your engineer).

  3. Rip beats from YouTube. However, this won’t generate money due to Content ID. If your song goes viral, you could face legal trouble without a business to protect you from irresponsible actions.


The best free distributors I’ve found in a quick Google search:

  1. Tunecore (Didn’t specify royalties) [Unlimited releases]

  2. Amuse (100% royalties) [1 single release a month]

  3. Indiefy (85% royalties) [Unlimited releases]

Collecting Royalties

Here’s what you can do to register your records for collection. Register with ASCAP because both accounts (Writers & Publishers) are free when you’re just starting. Next, register for Sound Exchange, The MLC, and Music Reports because they are free too. It’s going to be difficult later to change all these accounts over to a business once you start growing, but we’ve got no money, so difficulty is nothing to us, right?


Oh yeah, we don’t have money, and poor man's copyright does not stand up in federal court because the postal service is a quasi-federal agency. So yeah, we’ll worry about those later.

Music Promotion

If you’ve got all the tools and favored staff in place, then make some content and post consistently. Here’s what the audience wants to know:

  1. How good is your talent and can you entertain me?

  2. Can you make the entertainment quality?

  3. Who are you, by the way?

  4. What are you doing now?

  5. What are your future plans?


  1. Linktree

  2. Gumroad (Fees get expensive, but at least you’ll have a free e-commerce store)

Repercussions of Doing This

You will have a web of accounts that you will have to detangle as you grow, shifting accounts and moving subscribers from here to there. Trust me, it’s not going to be pretty, but at least you can say, “you got it out the mud.”

Will I Look Like an Amateur?

Unfortunately, yes. However, you won’t be spending any money—yet.

Would You Do This?

Absolutely not! I told you in the beginning of the show!

Check This Out!

If you're a music creative or executive looking to build your label or publishing company in 60 days or less, grab the 60-Day Record Label Course and get it done today! You’ll gain the ability to get real funding, avoid contractual pitfalls, and keep the middleman out of your pockets. Click the link below to get started now! If you’re skeptical, grab the free guide, "10 Ways to Increase Your Record Label Profits," which comes with a free split sheet download.

If You Save Up Some Money

You’ll be able to have a more solid foundation to start with. It will save you headaches down the road as you grow in your immediate future. And you won’t have to detangle unnecessary mess that was created by doing everything for free.

If You Decide to Do Things This Way

  1. You’ll have a long road ahead of you.

  2. It will be harder to untangle this mess later.

  3. But at least you’ll be starting, and that’s what counts.


If you were struggling with starting for free in the music biz with no money, you will probably still be struggling to start free, but you will be starting. Embrace the journey, learn from every experience, and remember that starting with nothing can still lead to great things with perseverance and hard work.


bottom of page