News Record Store Day 2012 Perspectives: The Label

We speak to some of the people involved in Record Store Day 2012 to get their perspective on the event. First up was Stockton-on-Tees Record Store, Sound It Out. Next, we’ve record label Bella Union.

Bella Union are one of the labels that no one could accuse of shirking Record Store Day; with a veritable raft of releases from their artists, Andrew Bird, Beach House, Lanterns On The Lake, M Ward, Xiu Xiu, Jonathan Wilson and The Czars. It’s understandable as to why an artist might want to get involved in the event, those restrictions that are often placed for reasons of cash or space (vinyl is both expensive and can create a storage issue), well those limitations are stripped away for their releases. But why would a label disregard their usual qualms for a day and allow free reign when it comes to our Record Store Day purchases? We decided to go right to the horse’s mouth, and had a little chat with the lovely Simon Raymonde, the ex-Cocteau Twins member who masterminds the brilliant Bella Union label, and find out what on earth possesses them to get so involved.

As a label, what does Record Store Day mean to you?
It means a lot. It excites music fans and gets people talking about what they’re going to buy, and in this confusing period for the music business where most people’s interaction with a release is via a stream or a download, the idea that people are discussing getting off their backsides, to make a trip to buy music, is almost unfathomable!

Is it a logistical headache?
It must be for the record shops themselves but for us, no, it’s really good fun!

What’s the impetus, from a label perspective?
Because we’re all nerds here at the end of the day, and most of our bands love the idea of creating something unique, exclusive, to generate an excitement about their music. That happens less and less so, with releases, with shows. So with something like RSD, it has become a success because of the demand from the general public and not because some PR company pushed this idea to us, or it was part of some unsavoury marketing campaign.

I suppose for some, it is a way of re-invigorating a brand/band/catalogue that may hitherto have been forgotten about, revisiting a long lost classic etc ,but for us, it’s a time to think about what would be the right things to release at that particular time of year, for a specific purpose, long or short term, rather than just unleashing a ton of poop on an unsuspecting public just for the sake of it..

Does it actually have any effect real effect on sales?
Well, if you sell out the amount you made then I guess yes!? We certainly wouldn’t be doing it if we expected there to be a surplus, no. We intend every product we release to sell out.

Do you relish the opportunity to get creative with your products in the same way that the artists do?
Absolutely. That is part of the whole excitement around it for labels, artists and public. For the most part, every one is a winner.

Independent record stores have decreased by about a third over the last decade, is it important to you as a label that those that are left are given opportunities like Record Store Day, to help them survive?
Yes very. I can see maybe it is close to getting out of hand with the sheer volume of releases this year, and how shops are meant to know what numbers to order etc, cos it is a risk for sure, it is becoming harder to predict. The space also, for the volume of releases is becoming an issue and I do worry a little about where it will all end, but for the most part, it is a thrilling day for all of us involved and if lots of people and their cash are going into the record shops, that can only be a good thing. Long may it last!

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