What is “Label4”?
Label 4 started as an event management agency founded by Isabella Viertbauer in 2016. By 2020, it’s a full service music management company that represents artists, producers and songwriters. Home to a diverse roster of artists – from emerging acts to renowned musicians from different genres – we work globally, navigating our clients careers through recording and producing process, touring & live performances as well as licensing, record deals, merchandising and brand partnerships.
How would you describe the role of contemporary music management?
It’s definitely not, what it used to be and mean. You have to have a clear understanding, of how the (digital) (music) world works now and how, when and where music is consumed and by whom and how you can reach/target them. Depending on the artist, we like to look at ourselves as a 360 degrees service and career development company. We do everything I mentioned above. Plus we take care of the daily business and to some extend private matters as well, if the artist needs and wants it. We are very close with every single one of our artist, sometimes we do their accounting and sometimes we help with their rental contracts. It’s way more than waiting for requests to come in and do their mails and phone calls. It’s about pro-actively going out there, constantly looking for the next opportunity to develop your artists career.
What strengths or traits do you value in emerging artists?
Young, emerging artists are hungry and so are we. It’s rewarding and humbling to see how they strive for success and are willing to sacrifice everything for their dream – we are here to support them and it is amazing to watch what we can achieve together. We are a young team ourselves, so we are basically in the same boat. The willingness to do everything that needs to be done to make it work is fascinating to see and constantly driving our motivation.
How do you conduct negotiations with industry professionals? Any pointers for DIY musicians, trying to deal with the business on their own?
You have to be aware, that what you have is the rights to your own music. That’s value. That’s your capital. Any newcomer gets treated as one. Don’t let yourself get fooled. If you don’t know what to sign or what to say – don’t be afraid to get some help. Two things are key: lawyer and accountant/tax consultant. They will save you much more than what they’ll cost you
(Label 4 Artist Thorsteinn Einarsson)
Where are we heading? Any thoughts on future trends concerning music distribution and management?
“Distribution” will play a bigger and more important role than it already does. If you have a good set up, especially in partner/network marketing, you may won’t necessarily need a (major) label or publisher in the first place. These structures will follow eventually, as you get more successful and international. Managements will need to focus more on securing their artists rights and their revenue earned, throughout collection societies and other rights-/shareholders.
Any thoughts on streaming playlists and the way they shape artistic careers nowadays?
I know many people complain about the fact that these playlists have a certain power and influence nowadays and some artists actually try to produce and work towards fitting those playlists, the same way they used to try to do this for radio stations.
This never worked and never will. Make sure you create the music that you can stand behind. Music that’s authentically representing you and who you are as an artist. The rest is up to us (the management). We, the labels and managements, need to figure out how and where to market and place it. I personally got used to it. Streaming, playlists and online marketing is my daily business and I don’t look at it as a negative development.
What is the best way for new talent to find and match up with management?
We get a lot of demos/requests via E-Mail and that is probably the most common way to reach out. E-Mail is fine, just put some effort and thoughts in it.
When building a music brand around an artist – are there some rules you live by? Some advice you could offer to musicians?
It’s all about authenticity. Don’t force yourself into collaborations with brands you don’t like or you can’t represent, just for the money. Figure out who you are as an artist and what message(s) you represent. Then, find brands, companies, platforms and content formats, that fit.
(Label 4 Group Pan Kee Bois)
Album release vs. track by track business. Do you have thoughts on that topic, and if so, please share the Label 4 philosophy!
Following the trends and recent activities from labels and artists globally, I don’t believe that there is a right or wrong. The classic way to go, is/was to have an album (more or less) ready, then release track by track and constantly try and trigger several multiplicators, until one of your songs gets momentum and you start morphing into album release phase. Things are so unpredictable now, songs get picked up by a TikTok trend and you are starting to get viral, next thing you know your song – maybe even without getting promoted properly or being a focus track for you – is featured in the “Todays Top Hits” playlist on Spotify and you are one of the 200 most streamed artists on the planet within a matter of one single release. Throughout all those developments, some things have never changed: you’ve got to be consistent (ly putting out new music, new videos, play concerts, engage with your audience), work hard and stay true to yourself.
How would you describe the perfect form of managerial-artistic relationship?
As I mentioned above: we are very close with every single one of our artists. They trust us 200% and so do we. I don’t think I could ever work with someone on just a “professional business” basis, without being personally involved with him or on the same “wave”. We are friends, but we do respect each other and we know that we always act and decide out of what is best for one another. With that in mind, we can go into “business mode” and strictly separate us from the personal relationship we have and when everything work-related is said and done, we’re still friends and know that we can rely on each other no matter what.
How did you get into this line of work? Passion to profession?
Kind of both. Music always played a big role in my life and every job I had was music related. I had to go through several music industry aspects and companies, from Music TV to Radio, to touring, to a major label, to finally know what my “destiny” was.
I started with this journey during high school, back when I was 14, which is why I already went through all those jobs and co-run my own company and still only am in my mid 20ies yet.
I always had passion for music, especially when it comes to live events. At the age of 16 I started singing and playing various instruments. At home, music meant family business: My parents – both music managers – discussed their daily operations at our dinner table. That’s why I grew up with different insights about the music industry.
I studied communications and marketing in Vienna and wrote my bachelor thesis about “how brand partnerships between artists and brands could affect the brand-value of each other”. By 2016 I started working for a hip hop club in Vienna. I gained experience in booking, live shows/concerts and social media strategies. Later the same year I started my own agency: “Label 4” is not only an anagram of my nickname “Bella”, but also a record label and home for artists, producers and songwriters.
How do you deal with negativity within the process? Any pointers on eliminating doubt and insecurity when releasing new music to the world?
Patience! One of the things I had to learn and accept is, that some things may don’t work out and some things may take longer as planned. You give 110% every day, you can map out strategies and you can prepare only so much, but there will always be things you can’t influence: audiences, market(s), trends, developments, non-music related issues – even if you scheduled everything perfectly, there may will be a global pandemic, that ruins over a year of planning. Stay patient. I love how Tom Segura said: “As long as you accept, that some things may not go 100% as you planned, you will still be fulfilled by the pursuit of your dreams”.
What are the biggest challenges you face as a management professional in the digital age?
Again, consistency is key. With so many new songs, videos, postings, viral clips and platforms (almost) daily, it’s very important to try and stick to a consistent cycle when it comes to output. At the same time, you shouldn’t just “put something out, just for the sake of it”. Therefore, we like to prepare as much as we can. Having a strategy mapped out and several assets already done or in your pipeline ready to-go, will make it easier to shift things around and adapt to local, global or daily developments and events.
(Label 4 Artist Nathan Trent)
What is your experience with working with music media? Any pointers?
As with most things: you need it to some extent, but you don’t always understand certain decisions when it comes to reporting and airplay. With that being said, we try to keep a very close and healthy relationship to our key media partners. One thing I’ve learned is: you are most likely unable to force anything.
How important are data insights for your (strategic) decisions?
Not crucial, but definitely helpful and good indicators. We check our data insights constantly, to understand our audience better and how we can reach and target them, to measure certain goals and targets to some extent, but it’s never the only argument we take into consideration.
What are the most important factors in keeping a music release campaign smooth and effective?
Know and define your expectations! I think a lot of us are disappointed if certain things appear to don’t happen day 1 of our release. Then we start to get nervous and try to cling any branch that might “safe” the release. In my opinion that has a lot to do with expectations: What is the purpose of this particular release? What do you want to achieve with this release? Nail down those questions and then aim at these goals. But don’t “just release” a track and then wonder why it’s not trending on TikTok or featured in New Music Friday.
Could you sum up some personal milestones in the development of Label 4?
Definitely signing our first artist and every new artist after that. It’s always exciting to start a new chapter together. Adding record label and publishing services to our agenda, was another big milestone for us. Together with our artists we lose and we win, we cry and we laugh. We share every achievement or loss along the way, whether it be the first million streams or the first sold out show, the first album release. With every new milestone, there’s a new challenge or goal ahead. That’s the beauty of this industry: you are never really done.
Label 4 on Instagram
Label 4 on Facebook
Label 4 Spotify Playlist
0 be the first one to show some appreciation for this!