Feature: LDN Recordings
Independent record labels have played a vital role in the past 65 years, providing new, innovative music. From Elvis Presley and Johnny Cash, to the likes of The Smiths, Joy Division, New Order and many other Manchester greats had all signed on to independent record labels. But given the dramatic fall in the music industry’s revenues since its peak in 1999, independent record labels and major ones alike have needed to adapt to this difficult digital age. I spoke to the founder of independent record label LDN Recordings, Iain Gore, in hopes of understanding the role of an independent in the modern day.
Music producer Iain Gore set up LDN Recordings in 2014, after a break from the music scene following a setback whilst working as an engineer for Metropolis Records. During this break, he set up a successful business, but his yearning to get back into music did not die. Self-funded, Gore went about setting up LDN Recordings and stated that he wanted to be involved in creating and marketing music at every level. More importantly, Gore wanted to set up a label which cared more about the art than making money. This is one point that sets apart major record labels from the independent ones—it’s not that major ones don’t care about making good music, but it’s worth remembering that they have shareholders to think about when signing any acts. However, Gore impressively went about signing and producing with very little help.
Gore had connections in the industry from having been able to work with various labels prior to LDN. He used these to help him when starting out, signing his first act Joe Fox, who would go on to teach him a lesson in the legal side of the music industry. After recording a series of tracks, Fox decided to go his own way and work with ASAP Rocky. This subsequently led to a lawyer calling Gore, informing him that since no contract was signed, all of Fox’s tracks with LDN Recording would be pulled off of the internet. A rather irritating bump in the road, Gore saw it as an important lesson and a mistake that he won’t make again!
The second LDN Recordings signing was to be a band known as False Nines. Gore discovered them from simply listening to BBC 6 Music. Liking what he heard, Gore managed to get in contact with them, sign them up to his label and produced their recently released debut single ‘Can’t Afford to Wonder’. As a small label, LDN recordings is limited by a lack of funds and infrastructure, relying on in-house marketing. Testament to them however, was the fact that False Nines’ first headlining gig was sold out. Also recently signed are Sister Wanzala, who Gore had accidentally stumbled upon them when he had listened to SoundCloud on shuffle and loved their sound. Still working with them, Sister Wanzala are yet to release a single.
Iain Gore showed me the struggles and restraints of a small and newly formed independent record label, whether it is the legal issues that come with it, or a shortage of money and infrastructure. However, this clearly hasn’t stopped LDN Recordings, who continue to stay true to themselves. Signing acts based on a liking for their music and wanting to work with them rather than reckoning how much they’ll sell. This process have been a learning curve for Gore who doesn’t know what the future holds but is excited at the prospect of taking LDN Recordings forward and helping small bands achieve their potential.