Incorporating a record label is fairly simple if you, family members or close associates will own all of the stock. Exactly how you incorporate will depend on what state you're in since each state requires different paperwork. Regardless of the state, the application can usually be completed in a few hours if you have the help of an attorney or someone knowledgeable in setting up a business.
Hire an attorney. Although the steps for incorporating a label can be accomplished without the help of an attorney, a lawyer can make the process much easier and headache-free if you can afford one. Although rates vary, attorneys generally charge at least several hundred dollars to handle the incorporation process. If you wish to go the attorney route, incorporation lawyers can be found in a local business directory, such as the Yellow Pages, or online.
Decide which kind of incorporation you need for your label—a sole proprietorship (if you're the only owner), a partnership (if you have general or limited partners), a limited liability company (LLC) or a corporation. These business structures have different aspects and benefits that are specific to each. An attorney and your partners, if you have any, can help you decide which structure would be best for your label.
Make sure the name you want for your label is available. You can check this with federal and state trademark registers or your state's corporate filing office (usually a secretary of state or corporations commissioner). Fill out the forms listing the purpose of your corporation, its place of business and the number of and type of stock shares, if any. The forms are available from your state's corporate filing office and commercial publishers.
File the documents, which are collectively known as a charter or articles of incorporation, with the appropriate state office, along with the required registration fee. Depending on the state, the fee ranges from a few hundred dollars to $1,000. After all of the paperwork is filed and the fee is paid, your label is officially a corporation.
Write your label's corporate bylaws. Bylaws outline a number of details, like when annual shareholder meetings will be held (if your business isn't a sole proprietorship), who can vote and the manner in which shareholders will be notified if a special meeting is needed. The bylaws, which an attorney can draft, don't have to be filed with the incorporation paperwork, but they are a necessary part of the foundation of any corporation.
If you decide to get an attorney, be prepared to spend $1,000 for his services.
- If you decide to get an attorney, be prepared to spend $1,000 for his services.
Mark Nero has been a professional journalist since 1995 and has written for numerous publications within and outside the U.S. His work has appeared in "The Boston Globe," "San Diego Union-Tribune" and "Los Angeles Daily News" among others. Nero studied communications at San Diego State University.