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Going Indie

Spinning your own record label

This story appears in the April 1999 issue of Business Start-Ups magazine.

Falling off an escalator, Brian Herb says, was the best thing that ever happened to him. "It was a freak accident," explains Herb, 26. At 1:30 a.m., May 31, 1996, Herb, the designated driver, was sober as he and his friends left a club and took the escalator to a third-story parking lot. Herb only dimly recalls leaning over the railing. Falling, he remembers more vividly. He plunged 30 feet, landing on a layer of tile-covered cement. During the 11 months of physical therapy that followed, as his broken knee and arms healed, Herb quit smoking, stopped drinking and started his own record label.

The escalator-plunge-to-near-death was the easy part. Creating your own record label means finding a band, a recording studio, an engineer, a producer and a distributor. It also means investing your money or searching for somebody else crazy--er, insightful--enough to believe in your band's music. It means long hours, sleepless nights and sketchy profits.

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