A metalabel is a release club where groups of people who share the same interest drop and support work together. It’s a lightweight structure that creates economic, emotional, and creative alignment between collaborators.
The Creator Economy is creativity in single-player mode: every creator competing against everyone else for followers and attention.
A metalabel is creativity in multiplayer mode: groups of people pooling skills, audiences, and resources in support of a larger creative vision or purpose.
Picture four people who write newsletters about the same subject. They care about the same things and are ultimately advocating for similar ways of seeing the world.
The economics and incentives of the Creator Economy, however, pit these people against each other for subscribers and attention. Instead of collaborators, they’re more likely to be rivals and frenemies chasing the same status goals, producing increasing amounts of content to stay on top.
Imagine one day these writers become burned out by the competition. They decide that rather than fight against each other, they want to collaborate. Right now their options — starting a company, using one person’s bank account — are complicated and require a lot of commitment and trust.
By becoming a metalabel, the group could quickly create a new shared identity, define their partnership, and begin to drop releases and build a shared treasury around their work together.
Metalabels have been a key part of shaping culture throughout history. Here are metalabel-like collectives from the past and present highlighted by our editorial team.
School for Poetic Computation
Metalabels incentivize collaboration between creators on larger cultural goals.
Create a metalabel
A group of people create a metalabel to advocate for a shared point of view using public releases.
Define a purpose
The group agrees to release projects that promote a wider cause or scene and to support each other’s work.
Creators and the metalabel collaborate to promote each release, which can be free or paid; online or IRL; digital, physical, or ephemeral.
Financial proceeds from releases are split between creators and the metalabel treasury according to transparent terms visible to all.
Fund new releases
Treasury funds are put into new projects that share the metalabel’s purpose, expanding the creative, cultural, and economic footprint of the metalabel and its creators and manifesting their vision in the world.
Want to see if the metalabel model works for you?
Try out this exercise that will help you and your group explore your purpose, your releases, your squad, and how you work together. Do this together to get closer to what’s at the core of your group.
Explore elements of a metalabel
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Public Record is an editorial space exploring collaboration, collective culture creation, and the structure of the metalabel. Every week it shares a new slate of learnings straight from the people experiencing them.