An alternative Branding Strategy example in Music Industry-WARP RECORDS

ImageThis year WARP records proudly celebrating it’s 23years birthday,Generally speaking, this giant independent music labelin UK has representative status in the electronic genre.

While proletariat embrace the delightful and cheerful sounds from the mainstream music labels(eg.SONY,VIRGIN,UNIVERSAL MUSIC),the other non-conformists have their self ego for supporting the independent labels, which segregate the profit in compare with the  major music companies.  In the book of  Blue Ocean Strategy: How To Create Uncontested Market Space And Make The Competition Irrelevant, the author W.Chan King and and Renee Mauborgne highlights an important strategy in business pitch: “The only way to beat the competition is to stop trying to beat the competition.” Correspondingly,this proposition would be the  best description of WARP records. Let’s put it in another way, the reason that WARP could set up its’ reputation and last in a long period in the music industry, some might argue that they have outstanding plan and strategy, whereas others would consider they are just lucky without taking too much effort from rags to riches.

It all begins from a record shop in Sheffield, as known as FON Records, these three young entrepreneurs were working in it, they are by the name of Rob Mitchell, Steve Beckett, and music producer and legend-Robert Gordon, they were plotting to create a new name of their old record shop, thats where the WARP records came from( Because of the pronunciation of  “WARP” is not easily recognized when hearing it in the phone).

warp-forgemastersSpeaking to the sales, when it stroked the major market in music industry, it was surprisingly successful.  The initially copies was from the musician Forgemasters (A forgery named by Robert Gordon), who pressed the pioneer electronic song called “Track With No Name” ,issued the masterpieces due to 500 copies only. During that moment, the supporting of finances were sponsored  by an Enterprise Allowance grant, and it was promoted by a let vehicle. And then the first hit song,which was from LFO’s single “LFO”, taken place at No.12 from the dance chart , eventually, the sales were reached to 13,0000 copies of the single.

Stete Beckett, one of the founders says:”by that time we didn’t want to build a label , It was more about, ‘Let’s do this 12-inch and see if it can have an effect’, like we were seeing in guys like 808 State and Unique 3, It was all ore orientated to the dance floor rather than the label side of things.”

The process of making marketing strategies for those three entrepreneurs was  extremely risky during that age, WARP records sold their tickets of the events from Sheffield University, which earned a large amounts of  profit. and these three guys treat those income as cashflow, but they sometimes didn’t provide the invoice statement or identification for the students, the benefit of this could be like this, these three guys could use these sufficient money to make the product or promote the records, nevertheless, students  still got the money in the end.

Before they success, they obligated the chance of selling money, in the other way, they noticed the needs in the dance industry: Whenever the dopest ( best) sounds comes up in the dance music field, the products will disappear in a day, the whole copies will sold out, there is no second chance to get more copies, not to mention the digital copies since the mp3 hasn’t come up yet at that moment. but from those technical business approaches, they built their indestructible credibility in the dance music field.


Here is the music of LFO single” LFO”

* Some of the contents are quoted from Richard King “How Soon Is Now? The Madmen and Mavericks Who Made Independent Music 1975-2005, a new book by Richard King. Reprinted with the kind permission of Faber and Faber Limited. All rights reserved © Richard King, 2012.


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