Nick Sadler – The Label Machine – Velocity Press

This book is your friend. If you plan to start or are running a record label then the information contained within provides all the necessary advice required, but more than that you actually get to understand the inner workings right down to the accompanying illustrations simplifying all to the point of ease. Likewise your rights and income collection as an artist/ producer are highlighted so obviously another vital resource is captured. I don’t say any of that lightly as someone who gets lost in the sea of information overload this companion piece proves invaluable. Nick Sadler’s helping hand dares to reach out a compassionate grasp across four hundred pages and if even that sounds daunting then the best way to describe using this book is much like a reference book you can dig into as needed. Let’s not make too fine a point of it but comprehending the ins and outs of the label industry can be complex, perhaps even laborious at many times so the help and lived-in experience of the author is not to be overlooked.

Maybe your mind-set seeks to reject the very notion of words such as industry or quite simply the thought of business causes revulsion but it’s worth noting that this read is as much about nurturing independent spirit as it is about achieving the word success in all its capitalist glory. Is failure an option? I guess according to Nick there’s only one way to find out: No matter what stage you are at in your music career, simply reading this book will enable you to become more successful in all the music industry’s essential business elements. Quite the boast, maybe it is that simple after all. Much like life there are also a wealth of quotable instances on offer to enhance personal ambition within the pages, which feels useful if the philosophy of self-help works for you by helping to escort your progress throughout the printed journey. If not, it may start to seem a little aggravating.

Overall, unless you’re prone to a legal mind chances are most artists will be plugged into creation rather than accounting which is precisely where the importance of The Label Machine comes into play. By looking after if’s and maybe’s, what should I be doing about this and that, the course of conversation exposes every conceivable pitfall and possibility so that you can get on with the music itself. Safe in the knowledge that everything you need to concern yourself with afterwards can be referred to and taken care off in the way deemed appropriate to your own individual approach. The website below also contains lots of resources for the adventure, some of which are free, so what’s stopping you?



Harold Heath – Long Relationships: My Incredible Journey From Unknown DJ to Small-time DJ – Velocity Press

To begin with. It took me a while to figure out whether this book was primarily concerned with regret, coloured by being unfulfilled as a DJ’s life in the fast line unfolded, fracturing to the point of almost lost consequence. You could equally add the words bitterness, guilt and envy in amongst the long list of those rather fine, uniquely human frailties we all have to introspectively feast upon. Or is Long Relationships more simply a story of timely reflection about giving your all while having a great time doing so, driven purely by all the right reasons i.e. Love, Art and Music (although not necessarily in that particular order).

I don’t know Harold Heath but after reading this I feel like I do. At least in the sense of what makes him tick in terms produced by the excitement surrounding the culture of music we indulge ourselves in. However, it runs much deeper than that doesn’t it and it’s that very human aspect which shines a light on the highs and lows of musical existence in such rewarding, particularly illuminating ways. If you’ve ever lived and worked in music at least one part of this book’s story will touch memories you have also experienced, recalled here sometimes with an air of mournful disappointment, but then also in absolute genius, hilarious fashion – that description of boat parties alone is priceless. The joyous cynicism on offer similarly does its job by getting aimed squarely at blasting the trivial nature of Dj ego’s where merited, even if names aren’t mentioned you know the type, you’ve already seen the T-Shirt.

The contrast of serious, thought-provoking topics are offset by tales of the more mundane realities of Dj’ing and running nights. In fact a lot of what is written may prove painfully familiar as the tired repetition takes hold, perhaps shaking the foundation of why you may still care so much about it all. Likewise, the earning money aspects of contemporary music production are scrutinised wringing out every cell of financial pleasure that it should come with a health warning. But we still do it because Art is primarily the search for meaning in existence and how that is expressed. Not about cold-hearted, calculated reason.

His understanding and evaluation of Dance Music culture, its current state of play, alongside the way finance plays its role is necessarily spot on. Brutally truthful, yet leaving cause for optimism in some shape or future form. I hope. In fact this has to be some of the most telling writing on the subject there is to date.

Harold Heath’s book is happy, sad, celebratory and fascinating all in one read. I wouldn’t say cautionary because being alive should already tell you that. But its honest, sincere appraisal of what has preceded is both heart-warming and life assuring, even the more crushing aspects as you reach the end.