12 October 2010

Scottish DIY Labels #12 - Ubisano


Would you care to introduce yourself?

Hello! My name is Hubby. I run a small open source inspired label called Ubisano with my good friend John Williamson.

What inspired you to start your own label?

John and I have both been interested in how the Internet has changed the recording industry for a long time. We were both involved in running traditional labels in the 90’s, myself with F&J Records and John with Sano Music so we had an understanding of how the old model worked. Or more precisely, how it didn’t work. We had been talking for some time about how we might go about running a label that was ecologically and morally sound. Past experience taught us that the traditional manufacturing process was both expensive and wasteful so our first step was to purchase our own CD manufacturing equipment and design our own re-purposable sleeves using recycled and unbleached materials. This ensures that we can manufacture only what we need which both lowers cost considerably and removes the waste. This also has the beneficial by product of meaning that there is less pressure on the artists. The other important point for us is that all of the music released is done under an open source license, specifically a Creative Commons Non Commercial Share Alike Attribution license. Traditional copyright has moved far away from its original purpose of encouraging creativity in return for a limited monopoly. It is now primarily about restricting the rights of the customer. We believe that you should be able to format shift, share and remix freely and encourage people to do so. The only restrictions we ask is that a) You maintain a credit to the original author, b) You must license any resulting work that includes the source material under an identical license and c) You cannot charge money for any resulting works or copies that you have made.


Who do you have signed to your label?

We work in a slightly different way in that there are no contracts involved with our artists so strictly speaking no-one is signed to Ubisano! Saying that, we will be releasing music by myself (as RM Hubbert), Sarah Banjo, Make Love, iSSHO & Sycamore over the next 12 months.


Being based in Scotland do you only sign Scottish artists?

Nope, that’s not the plan anyway.

RM Hubbert - TipsyTapsy

Is this something you do as a hobby or can you make a living from it?

We view Ubisano as more of an experiment in alternate methods for releasing music. Our target is to not lose too much money so we definitely won’t be making a living from it anytime soon!


Do you have a certain type of sound that you look for in a band?

Not at all. It is far more important to us that the people involved share a similar ethos to ours. John and I have pretty divergent tastes in music too, as long as it moves us in some way, we will be happy to release it.


How do you go about deciding which artists you want to work with? How do you go about approaching them?

Generally, one of us will hear or see a band we like and pass on links to the other to check out. If we feel that the band shares a DIY ethos and are people that we would be happy spending a lot of time with, we’ll get in touch and see if they are interested.


What has been you personal highlight from running the label so far? What has been your biggest success?

It’s early days for us, the only release so far has been First & Last by RM Hubbert. That one is going well though, there has been steady and hopefully sustainable interest. I have recently been recording Sarah Banjo’s debut album. That has been a lot of fun.


If you could give one piece of advice to someone wanting to start up their own label, what would it be and why?

Figure out what you want from it before you start and manage your expectations realistically. You will lose money and all of your spare time so make sure that you care enough about the project.


What can we expect to see and hear from the label in the future?

This year, we should see the release of Sarah Banjo’s debut album alongside a compilation of some of our favourite new artists. Maybe a new RM Hubbert single too. Next year will see the second RM Hubbert album and releases by Sycamore, Make Love and iSSHO.

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