Degree Type

Honors Capstone Project

Date of Submission

Spring 5-1-2011

Capstone Advisor

Dr. Ulf Oesterle

Honors Reader

Prof. William DiCosimo

Capstone Major

Music Industry

Capstone College

Visual and Performing Arts

Audio/Visual Component


Capstone Prize Winner


Won Capstone Funding


Honors Categories


Subject Categories

Business Administration, Management, and Operations


In this thesis, I will investigate the work structures and day-to-day operational analysis of independent record labels (“indies”) from across the United States and UK. These findings will then be applied to my personal experiences running an independent record label in Syracuse, New York as a way to evaluate our own operations.

My research constitutes a combination of scholarly studies and personal interviews with 9 different labels, studying work hierarchies, communication methods, office layout, artist interaction, creative disputes, and customer interaction.

In general, indies embrace flexibility, a pragmatic approach to costs and strategy, and a relatively informal power structure, alongside placing a premium on creative freedom to engender work based on a passion for art. Indies can channel this passion through their relatively fluid organizational structures to achieve profits on a smaller scale than major labels, but can also scale larger as needed. Larger labels, especially label groups, are much closer to the major label approach, but maintain a practical economic stance alongside a less rigid approach to artistic output than the aforementioned majors. With regards to our operations in Syracuse, we failed to establish a strong communication methodology and work schedule to promote consistent output, and so could not keep up with the increased workload of running a label while still at university.

Creative Commons License

Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial-No Derivative Works 3.0 License.



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