Manage for Success: Sustainability, Newsletter #77, September 2007

"Manage for Success" is a free monthly newsletter for record label executives who want to operate their companies efficiently and successfully. It's published by Keith Holzman of Solutions Unlimited, a management consultant, troubleshooter, and trusted advisor, and is based on his many years as a senior executive in the music industry.

Copyright 2007 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.


This newsletter will be short since I'm spending my spare time readying for the printer the revised and updated Second Edition of "The Complete Guide to Starting a Record Company."

Sustainability, this month's topic, is not just about keeping your artists in the studio making records and regularly performing on the road, or even keeping up the sales numbers. It’s about operating your company in a green, or "sustainable," fashion. This is how Wikipedia defines it: "Sustainabiltity focuses on providing the best outcomes for both the human and natural environments now, and into the indefinite future."

When building a house, for example, sustainability means using renewable materials such as quick-growing bamboo for flooring rather than slower growth oak or maple. It means using as little electricity or gas as possible for making hot water or heating a home. For example, you might use solar panels to heat water for pipes installed below the floor that keep them at a steady temperature, and also for making hot water for showering, doing dishes, etc., as well as for heating a swimming pool. It means using photovoltaic panels for generating electricity. Put enough panels on your roof and watch your electric meter run backwards as you supply surplus electricity to your local utility when you don't need it yourself. It means using as little water as possible to keep your garden green by using drought-tolerant plants and greenery instead of water-wasteful grass.

What does this mean to an environmentally friendly record label?

Let's start by discussing the primary thing you manufacture -- the Compact Disk. CDs are far from being green since they're made of plastic with an aluminized coating that is not biodegradable. Unwanted ones will supply landfills for centuries to come! Let's hope someone comes up with an alternative -- other than digital downloads -- as "green" media for containing music.

But you can do something about the packaging. Ask your printer to use paper made principally from post-consumer waste. Not only does it take ink well, it usually looks great. Speaking of ink, ask the printer if they can use soy-based ink rather than ink made primarily from oil byproducts.

How about eliminating those nasty plastic jewel boxes. What a waste of oil, and fodder for landfills! Consider using a package made of bio-degradable paperboard. Not only can they look extremely attractive, but they can be recycled when your buyer no longer wants them. (Of course your label is the exception -- all of your music will appeal to its buyers for generations!)



I love music and want to see record labels and their artists thrive. Accordingly, my clients seek my advice on how they can run their companies efficiently, profitably, and sustainably. I've developed many ways for them to increase income while keeping costs under control, always tailored to their specific operating style and function. Let me help you as I've helped so many other labels "manage for success." Email me at <> so we can discuss how I might improve your business.

Should you be thinking of starting your own label, I recommend my book "The Complete Guide To Starting A Record Company" available as a downloadable eBook in PDF form, or as a printed, spiral-bound volume. Download the Introduction and read the complete Table of Contents at <>.



What else can you do?

Try to reduce your energy usage. Use natural light instead of electric light whenever possible during daylight hours. Replace high-wattage energy-wasting bulbs with fluorescent tubes, low-voltage lamps, the new screw-in fluorescent bulbs, or better still, bulbs made with LEDs. They're more expensive, but outlast conventional bulbs by a factor of ten or more!

Be sure that water-using devices such as toilets and faucets don't leak. Repair them if they do.

Turn your thermostat down in winter to reduce need for heat, and up in summer to use less air conditioning.

Don't be wasteful with paper products, and recycle whatever is no longer needed. Most communities now have some form of recycling depots readily available. Print on both sides of the paper whenever possible, and re-use the reverse side of paper that would otherwise be tossed, for unimportant in-house documents.

Drink tap water and use a thermos (remember them?) rather then spending money for plastic-bottled water. And if you must buy the latter -- be sure to recycle the bottles (but not the caps -- apparently they’re not recyclable and should not be screwed on when tossing the bottle into the recycle bin.)

In general, try to reduce your carbon footprint as much as possible. You'll save money, and most important -- our planet!

Be green by being sustainable.

Until next month,

Keith Holzman -- Solutions Unlimited

Helping Record Labels Manage for Success.



You may use or reprint the above article provided that you include complete copyright and attribution with a link to this web site. Please let me know when and where the material might appear.

Subscribe to "Manage for Success" by clicking here.

Most important, should you have a topic you'd like me to address in future newsletters, please email:

Copyright 2007 by Keith Holzman, Solutions Unlimited. All rights reserved.