To members of the Community

To members of the Community, The Label, Family and  Friends.

We all stood by John Woodson, the Host, because he created something magical. Something which doesn't exist. We are continuing to stand with John Woodson, and his vision, to make this the crispiest community the world has ever seen. The OTL Team firmly believes that there exists a world where for the community, by the community, greater than the sum of our parts exists.

The last couple of days have been difficult. It is apparent that there are a lot of questions regarding some of the recent events and actions surrounding Only The Label, Only The Host, and the associated community.

When we first started running the Indie Music Hunt back in 2023 it was with one goal in mind: to support independent artists who had no voice and no platform. Through the journey over the last year and a half, almost every step along the way has been aimed at that one goal. Through that journey there have been triumphs, tragedies, Mistakes and learning. 

Through this process, we have made some incredible connections, amazing music, and all of this was made possible through the Altruistic nature of our Leader: John Woodson.

Now that the dust has settled, I have had some time to go through some of the feedback, comments and general uncertainty that has been raised regarding the Label, The Community, and what we stand for. This communication is aimed at providing clarity from the source.


1 - Ethics regarding Music

OTH and OTL do not condone the manipulation and/or gaming of established systems which could result in artificial representation of our communities listener base. We understand that at least one project which found a home in our community may have resulted in both an erosion of trust and the perception that this sort of thing is OK. It is not. Our vision has always been of the community, by the community, supporting the community, and it is clear that without the added layer of experience and sanity checks, this vision can easily be taken advantage of. While there are no projects of this nature currently being run and/or hosted by and in our community, we want to state with the most clear language that any community based projects moving forward will be vetted by a select panel with the aim of understanding in minutia exactly what the project aims to deliver. If there are any instances where this conflicts with our core directives, the project will never leave the ground. If there are any instances where members of the community have been evidenced to have engaged in similar activities, they will be removed from the community.

Aside from this, it is apparent that while the Rules of our community have been aimed at providing a harmonious space for all members to feel safe and accepted, the rules do not adequately address this aspect of Ethics in Music. This will be addressed in the following days.


2 - What is our mission statement? 

It is clear that along the way OTH / OTL and its mission have been a driving force to the core team in the community, but it is also clear that this mission statement may have been  mis-interpreted along the way. Our mission is simple: to provide Independent artists with a platform to gain visibility, have a space to create and collaborate, and to share in our love of music. Some of these aspects of the mission have been well executed, others not as successful - but the overarching goal is and always will be for the community, by the community, to create something better than the sum of it's parts. This is a space for musicians of all genres, all walks of life, irrespective of content. The caveat to this is; all members are in charge of their own music and don't behold to any rules regarding what is and is not acceptable music to create. This would be against the nature of our platform, and against free speech as a whole - which is not our purpose. We understand that this may lead to irreconcilable differences when it comes to association with artists, and we don't have a way around this without remaining inclusive. We do however understand that this may mean some existing members do not wish to continue being a member of the Label, and support anyone who wants to be removed from this platform. Our hope is that we can still engage together in the community to support each other.


3 - The Hunt, it's intention, and it's current state

For a long time the Hunt was governed by the Host. In that state, it evolved into a community of musicians listening to musicians. The hunt has always been open to all artists on a first come first serve basis, with the exception of NSFW / Non Family orientated music. When we first started Hunting, submissions were via a twitter posts. This led to our first mistake: posts were missed, artists felt they were not given priority, and twitter also sometimes deprioritizes visibility for responses. Our answer to this was using the Form. By using the form we were able to ensure first come, first serve, and fair for all. During the recent few weeks, some of our volunteer hosts felt that the form was not the correct way to receive submissions, and unfortunately this met with similar results to the old hunts. Moving forward, the form will continue to be our way of ensuring fairness across the board.

Additionally, at least a handful of people have mentioned that hunt jokes are very "insider", and esoteric  at best. Case in point: the #sexycollins situation. While these are funny for people who are in on the joke, they could be off-putting for external viewers. We understand that, and will have to revisit the frequency and inclusivity of similar jokes.


4 - OTH / OTL and Money

OTH / OTL have received funding in the past from benefactors who wished to support the formation of the label, which costs approximately $600 per year for the Bandcamp Pro / Label accounts. OTH / OTL does receive funding from tracks which have either had agreed upon splits with consent from artists, and music which has been released with the intent of funding the label on Bandcamp. OTH also receives money from Super Chats on Youtube. Any and all money collected from these tracks is going towards a renewal fund of the Label, as well as paying reoccurring costs like; Cover song licensing, monthly licenses for the website platform, content creation tools including but not limited to Canva, hosting and data storage. If you have ever been approached by a person who has acted on behalf of the label asking for money, donations or something similar, please let us know so that we can take the appropriate actions. To this point, individual members who run content on their own platform are absolutely free to do as they see fit for their audience and situation.

5 - Money and Merch Sales

There has been at least one allegation (at this point unsubstantiated) that artists did not receive money from their Merch sales. If this is the case, please reach out to Mario and he will work on addressing it.

6 - Communication

We have tried to keep on top of communication and alignment of the community in general, and understand that we can do more. It is clear that our current day situation is the result of a culmination of miscommunication and/or the lack thereof. We are still working on how to adequately address this aspect, and more will come.

As mentioned, we all stood by John Woodson, the Host, because he created something magical. Something which doesn't exist. We are continuing to stand with John Woodson, and his vision, to make this the crispiest community the world has ever seen. The OTL Team firmly believe that there exists a world where for the community, by the community, greater than the sum of our parts exists. To that end, will be rationalizing what is feasible and not feasible at this stage, and continue to report out progress towards that end. This work is all done by volunteers, in our spare time, outside of our day jobs - because we want to be the change, we want everyone to have a home, and we want everyone to be appreciated.

Our doors are always open.

The OTL Team