Netlabel l.llllllll summary


this is a working document. please make suggestions and i will make edits.

l.llllllll is a netlabel curated by the community

monthly releases are posted (on a specific day of the month) from a queue of projects initiated by community members.

a new project can be initiated at any time, when two members with regular status arrange to curate a third artist (who need not be within the community).

this is the fundamental concept for the netlabel, which sets it apart. it is group-curated, by people that have become familiar through their engagement with this community-- an experiment in extending the open-source philosophy into cultural production.

further considerations, up for discussion. to facilitate clarity of purpose i suggest staying concise.


what does it mean to curate?

curating in this case is similar to sponsoring. two members decide to ask an artist to produce something to be released on the netlabel. this can happen at any time.

the level of involvement can be determined between those engaged per project-- but fundamentally the two curators are simply engaged with the artist in discussion about the work. to provide listening feedback.

the curators will submit the release to the queue when the work is finished.


what constitutes a release?

a collection of tracks with a qualitative sense of completion. the curators and artist should agree on completion.

new releases are announced on for further discussion, starting with text from the artist and curators.


quite a few proposals have been made to offer creative constraints to releases, which have not yet been agreed upon:

  • fixed number of tracks
  • no titles
  • no art
  • art confined to a template


no contracts.

as a guideline, the netlabel requests the release will be available exclusively via the netlabel site for a full month (until the next release), before the release is reposted on soundcloud, bandcamp, or other sites.


releases are free. perhaps work out a pay-as-you-will with a patreon link.

the netlabel will not deal with payments directly.


the netlabel microsite will host releases using free services: and

new releases will be managed via a queue of pull requests.

a custom player will be designed for streaming. full .zip downloads will be available. formats to be determined.


focus on content.

visual design will lean towards minimal.

discussion links

A charter for netlabel
A charter for netlabel

my personal preference on the parameters:

track count requirement to me is very restrictive and not terribly constructive. i can see this idea being interesting when stretched to certain extremes-- ie, 66 tracks, or 2 (one track per side of a cassette, as an analogy.) but in this digital realm the constraint to me just doesn’t add enough. making it fit into a stylized player interface is not sufficient motivation for me personally-- as i think the player should not be an integral part of the user’s listening experience. again, content focus.

i am intrigued by no track names, but track names often offer context and narrative that are often extremely meaningful.

similarly, no art is an interesting principle, but for the reason above, may be detrimental.

in both cases there are artists who don’t care about either, and those who care greatly about each.

so i’d personally lean toward yes, titles, and yes, art. but tentatively, could go the other way if the group wishes. may be a poll situation later on.


Not a “regular” and a “member”?


Should something be added about exclusivity? Like:

The released music must not have been available to the general public prior to release. Sharing working cuts to get feedback with individuals or on small forums (such as is fine.

Also, at what point can the music be re-released on other services? Who makes arrangements for distribution on the major services (iTunes, etc…): The artist? the netlabel? What about things like Bandcamp and SoundCloud - I imagine those would want to be excluded (otherwise why release on l.llllllll) - but perhaps in the spirit of OpenSource - not excluded - or only excluded for a month or two? or a year?


fixed the member list link. note that we’re up to 47-- a week ago we had 40.


this is wonderful and exciting


perhaps instead of liner notes, on release a thread here is started, where the artist and curators begin with some amount of text-- so the “notes” are one degree separated from the listening experience.


something along these lines i think would be very good. some sort of period of exclusivity? a month?

i have no idea about the inner-workings of itunes. if we’re going that way, it makes sense to have the netlabel/curators handle it. again, distributed labor with the curators model. but there has to be an easy HOWTO to fulfill any duties such as this.

are you referring to the artist? the artist can be anyone, inside or outside the community. or maybe i’m mistaking your question


I don’t mind if the album art roughly conforms to a layout template.
Sacred Bones has this layout:
Phinery also has a nice layout. Both of them are simple typeface and text position choices that do not interfere with the cover image (and many releases on both don’t have the standard layout, making it seem like the artist has a final choice).

After thinking about it for a while, I do think the fixed track numbers and lack of titling seem more like curation interfering with the creation process. The main question with restrictions like those is “Are you composing for the curator or for yourself?” and those two tilt toward the former.

Very excited for this label, though. This is a community full of excellent artists.


I strongly agree. Been a bit hesitant to say so, but art/titles feel very close to the bone to me.


I thought of ECM from the moment visual identity was opened as a topic.


Yeah, ECM does this exceptionally well. Though it’s not in the same stylistic realm, I really enjoy the 50 WEAPONS designs for their consistency and simplicity. Something in these veins feels appropriate.


release cycle looks good to me, monthly is very digestible. any shorter and i would most likely fall behind and then consider listening to be working towards the next release which would make this un-fun and sad.

for parameters:

i don’t love the idea of a fixed number of tracks.

i also don’t like restricting track titles and art. maybe it could be stated that you are not required to provide track names or art? but if you’d like to it is okay.

i do like the idea of art being confined to a template, though that may be because i don’t often create visual art and this may be way more restrictive than i think. does anyone have an example of what an art template could look like?


[quote=“bookmil, post:14, topic:5096”]
i don’t love the idea of a fixed number of tracks.

i also don’t like restricting track titles and art. maybe it could be stated that you are not required to provide track names or art? but if you’d like to it is okay.
[/quote]seems to be the most reasonable option

[quote=“bookmil, post:14, topic:5096”]
i do like the idea of art being confined to a template, thought that may be because i don’t often create visual art and this may be way more restrictive than i think. does anyone have an example of what an art template could look like?
[/quote]curators can help sort out visuals perhaps? or you may omit them


I think it would be great if our style guide could accommodate “has art” and “does not have art”. Either should be acceptable artistic decisions.


i feel “does not have art” should simply be a blank template, as format conformance is important to continuity.

does anyone have further feelings about the exclusivity period? say a kind request to allow a full month prior to reposting on soundcloud/bandcamp/etc? i don’t think we’d have issues with this being respected, but there should be a guideline.

also, any suggestions/thoughts about patreon donations? because some people (like myself) appreciate the opportunity to monetarily support music projects. my preference is that this step is optional, but available.

also updated top post


Agreed. Perhaps with color differentiation (again in the 50 weapons model).

As for exclusivity: 2 weeks, for me, feels right. Otherwise, people move on to the next thing and that particular artist might lose the wave off the back of the release.

Seconded again. Monetarily supporting work should be an option. Unsure how you’ll manage that every month though - a netlabel patreon with donations marked as “towards artist X” going to that artist? A portion of that month’s recurring funds going to the artists who put out music that month? I don’t have much experience with recurring payments (as opposed to direct, à la Bandcamp), so I’m not sure of the best way to equitably spread funds to releasing artists.


I think a kind request for a month of exclusivity is fine. (I don’t have strong feelings about the length of time)

BUT, does this mean we return the favor and try to help artists promote their work in any available channel after the exclusive period is over? I hear some appetite for full-on A&R behavior, which in today’s world might mean managing a relationship with DistroKid or the like. Which sounds a lot more potentially complicated than Patreon and probably conflicts with “no contracts” and “the netlabel will not deal with payments directly”.

Maybe the better way to return the favor of exclusivity is to write a wiki page encouraging artists to do their own distribution through the various platforms including tips and howtos.


I think the idea was that the release template would include a place for the artist to put their very own Patreon button. So it never goes to the label at all. See “the netlabel will not deal with payments directly” in the original post.


Gotcha. Was confused about that contradiction, thus the long-winded reply! Thank you for clarifying.