Starting a record label requires tremendous amounts of dedication and hard work because the music industry is very competitive. It also requires a substantial investment of money to produce music, sign talent and promote your company. However, if you are serious about the business, you can be successful.
Throughout music history, there have been many people who succeeded in starting their own record label. Berry Gordy, Jr. founded Motown Records in 1959 and was integral in creating a vehicle for African-American musicians and artists to display their talents. His record label helped integrate the music business and is still going strong today.
Other record labels helped change music by signing and promoting artists who changed or influenced the music they loved. Sun Records, founded by Sam Phillips in 1952, signed such artists as Jerry Lee Lewis, Johnny Cash and Elvis Presley, all three of whom profoundly impacted country and rock-n-roll music. Sun Records was purchased by Mercury Records in 1969.
Sometimes record labels are started by musicians who want to produce their own work. The Beatles started Apple Records in 1968 and had tremendous success with this venture. This label also was used as a creative outlet by other musicians like James Taylor, Bad finger and Billy Preston.