A group of people using a collective identity to communicate a perspective through a series of distinct releases that contribute to a greater whole

See also: idea machine


  1. A core perspective or mission. That could be advocating for a certain perspective, aesthetic, region, idea, or about solving a problem and changing the world.
  2. A principle (or group of principles) curating the output. Labels are ultimately trying to communicate an idea, incrementally, with each release. That means they need a consistent vision to successfully put an idea in the mind of the public. This means a level of creative leadership is required to curate what releases and artists are invited to be a part of the project.
  3. Discrete releases. A label exists to put culture into the world, whether that’s music, ideas, a way of living, words, or something else. What makes a label unique from a person’s personal creative practice is that different people are invited to release work under the same banner. By constructing an umbrella under which multiple artists can sit, the label can generate more dialogue and “heat” because disparate nodes in the network are reflecting back similar ideals. What makes a label unique from a brand is that all of a brand’s efforts result in the promotion of a single product. In the case of a label, its efforts are always promoting different products that all relate to the same core aesthetics or ideals.
  4. Information architecture. Record labels use catalogue numbers to sequence their releases. A similar sequencing or contextualizing of works is a key element of the label. It helps clue t he audience into the larger context of the work. This is already common in the new worlds of drop commerce and Web3, where concepts like “Seasons” have become used to conceptually organize content and community, bringing the language of fashion and television into broader cultural creation. This mixing is a hallmark of meta labeling.
  5. A scene it participates in. Labels are at their best when they represent or are in dialogue with a thriving, organic scene or community. To truly be valuable, it must create value for the larger scene it’s a member of.
  6. A source of funding. Without funds to put into projects, any label is limited in its output. Previous labels used sales from their products to fund new releases, or someone’s existing personal wealth. In the world of Web3 and meta labels, these sources of funding are evolving