Nuts and Bolts

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Nuts and Bolts

The idea is simple: Artists cover the manufacturing and admin/marketing costs (which we subsidize heavily and struggle to keep as low as possible) through an up-front payment. The artists then recoup those costs through sales: The break-even point is equivalent to selling roughly 600 CD copies or 2 million streams. 100% profits go directly to the artists; the highest in the industry. innova takes nothing from sales of your music; we survive on the one-time admin charge alone. The artists also retain ownership of their recordings so there is no danger of the music going out of print, never to be retrieved.

Sound simple? It is. Can anyone apply? Absolutely. But not every project is accepted. Deadlines are open.

If you have a nearly-finished CDR, send it in along with any explanatory notes or marketing ideas. We will let you know in a few weeks if it seems to be a good fit for innova. We know our industry contacts better than anyone else, so don’t be put off if we decline a project; it may have nothing to do with quality. We also get a lot of submissions. Not being a vanity label we can't let everyone on board.

Once accepted we will discuss whether the CD can be improved. Sometimes artists who are so close to their memories of the live sound are not the best judges of what makes for a good recording experience. We have star mastering engineers to fix that. Also the purposes of a graduate recital and of a CD are often at odds; we will help you think about your program in relation to the medium. Artists can be as much or as little involved in the graphic design of their project as they want to be. If you have a competent pet designer with experience, they can download our templates and send the finished files for our final approval. Alternatively, artists can send us texts, photos, and any graphic ideas and we will get to work (at a low flat fee) and send back proofs.

Turnaround can be quick though longer is needed to put it into the distribution system in time for a realistic street release date. Product will be made available through our international distribution network. We will also put it on with a direct link to samples and our shopping cart system. It will be available for paid download on iTunes, Amazon,, and dozens of other sites.

We will work to promote the album to markets including film/TV licensing options. It will be included in the Naxos Streaming Library service so it is readily available to thousands of libraries, students, and other subscribers worldwide. Together we will work on mailing to radio stations and media critics to garner airplay and reviews. Artists with their own contacts are welcome to follow up on those, making sure we do not duplicate efforts. We will send you playlists and reviews whenever they appear. Mailing costs for promotional copies are charged to the artist’s account at cost (a flat rate of $600 assuming up to 200 copies mailed out nationally and internationally). We also are offered good rates on display ads in various magazines and can share some of those costs with artists who wish to participate.

We have a part time in-house publicist to target and push your product to our contacts; you are encouraged to supplement their efforts with your own. Artists will share the joys of storing the CDs, usually 40-60% of the print-run. We can trade boxes if one of us needs more later on. You never have to buy back your own product since it is yours anyway. Account statements will be sent at least bi- annually for the first few years. If innova owes you at least $50, we will pay you a check once a year (providing we have actually received payment from the distributors).

Innova seeks to provide an integrated business solution to help artists reach audiences in multiple, meaningful ways.

The elements are: • Product • Awareness (marketing, visibility, promotion) • Distribution/Fulfillment


Innova takes on recorded music projects that have no home elsewhere, either because the larger labels have been bought out by big commercial interests or because the work itself cuts across typically marketable genres. We also take on projects that have plenty of publication options, for the simple reason that many artists like our structure and business practices. We endeavor to do as a label what you could not otherwise do by putting it out by yourself.

In addition to responding to artist submissions, innova releases important but neglected works by seminal artists such as Harry Partch and Henry Brant, bringing the label to wide respect.

Innova is run by artists for artists; it has no profit motive; it is part business, part service.

It is selective about projects, thus ensuring high quality. Several artists have returned to innova for multiple projects, indicating customer satisfaction.

Innova has no financial stake in projects; they are taken on according to quality, originality, and significance (as well as being a good fit for our resources).

Innova takes artistic risks that other for-profit labels shy away from. It is our commitment, however, to find/create a significant market for all innova products.

Innova has existed since 1982 and has a growing reputation which is bringing more and more artists to our doorstep.

Innova removes many of the barriers to having work published and distributed, offering guidance through the process. Costs for 1000 discs (or indeed 500) are very competitive.

Innova is responsive and flexible enough to take on any kind of project, especially those that bring us into contact with a new demographic.

Not being market-driven allows innova to remain true to the artist's vision which may fall between New Classical, Jazz, Experimental, Electronic, World, and No genres. Originality and quality are prized.


Innova's database-driven web site is easily searchable and also introduces new works to audiences by our Soundcloud playlists.

Innova markets to multiple niches: libraries, ACF members, ads in a variety of publications;

We occasionally produce merchandise (stickers, magnets, temporary tattoos, bumper stickers, and free CD offers) to additional markets.

Innova's connection to the American Composers Forum ensures that it is frequently seen throughout the new music field.

Our partnership with Naxos of America for their distribution services ensures that your work is ubiquitous and is included in their own marketing efforts (such as various blogs and interviews).

Innova maintains an extensive contact database, defined by interest: radio, critic, etc. and sends promotional copies to appropriate contacts.

An in-house publicist leads the promotional efforts and follows up on all targets (more economical than artists' hiring their own freelance publicist).

Innova empowers artists to promote their own work, using their own contacts, selling at concerts, or consigning to local stores as desired.

Innova provides a financial incentive and the tools to market effectively; it takes no copyrights and all net profits are returned to the artist.

Innova titles receive regular print and web reviews which can be used for further promotion.

The variety of styles on innova ensures a wide crossover between artists on the label; innova fans are exposed to a broad range of quality music, by established and unknown artists.


Innova titles are digitally available through dozens of online services through our partnership with Naxos Digital; you will be at the forefront of the digital revolution wherever it takes us.

Innova titles never go out of print; when the physical CD is sold out, the digital files are easily available.

Innova is available from all major web retailers, with sound samples. has a secure shopping cart system, thereby allowing a greater-than-wholesale price to be immediately credited to the artist's account for each sale.

Here's how one artist (Adam Niewood) described it to his fans:

Please CHECK IT OUT - Order your copy today I am extremely fortunate to have been offered the unique opportunity to release my latest project on Innova Recordings - a non-for-profit label. What this means: when people like you purchase a copy of my CD - you are actually supporting the artist (me) 100%. I get all (100%) of the profits from record sales - I own the recording and 100% of my publishing... So if you like what you hear -- and want to show a little support - please go to and order a copy of my record. I'll say it again, Innova Recordings does not have any interest in owning my intellectual property; and have embarked on the righteous path of helping their artists enjoy the benefits of having label distribution - without profiteering in any way shape or form from the sale of the artists recordings... Sounds too good to be true right??? The process of making this recording was an epic journey.