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Monday, April 23

Hopefully my last words on RSD pop-up stores

A few thoughts before moving on to much more pressing issues:

First, it was pointed out to me by coworkers that perhaps Numero folk might be upset if I did not summarize and paraphrase their letters to me enough. If that is the case, then I publicly apologize and hereby offer a nice dinner on me as a mea culpa. The impetuous part of me first considered a broadside with only my arguments. I quickly realized that this would likely lead nowhere and only inflame the issue. My thinking in writing it the way that I did, with a back and forth, was to honor their reasons for doing it, even though I disagree with most, and address them.

Second, if you read carefully, I do agree with some of their thinking here, and lord knows, as a small(er) label owner, I understand the pressure from that side. My hope was to offer contrary viewpoints where appropriate but also alternate solutions for some of their concerns. My interest is not in shunning or shaming. My heart is much more old school, punk rock than that, which I guess is why the idea of "one of us" competing with us instead of helping seemed so surprising and, honestly, hurt a little bit. My sincere hope is to address concerns and offer solutions that might float all boats.

Third, let me make this perfectly clear for the Nth time: I love the Numero Group label and what they do. They are good people and should be supported. Heck, they should get a shiny medal for shepherding Syl Johnson alone. As I said in comments, it is I who helped get Jon Langford in touch with them to be on his WXRT radio show back in 2008. Julia is the one who, while walking dogs with old friend Michael Abramson, told him that this Numero Group "Reverand" guy was legit, the label cool, and that he should definitely call them back to discuss a project that came to be the stunning, Grammy-nominated "Lights on the South Side" box set. We get what they are doing, admire their energy and ambition, and are sometimes baffled at their audacity.

My issue is with this one specific action. If it were me, I would boil it all down to saying, "We need cash and running our crazy ass label is expensive. This is a way we have chosen to address that." Personally, I think the anti-RSD rhetoric is a red herring and does more harm than good. Obviously it worked out as good publicity, but it came with an unnecessary downside that could be avoided by just choosing a different day and hyping the hell out of it. If a day were chosen without so much competition, I think a Numero pop-up would garner lots of positive attention, and it is likely to rake in even more cash if people weren't busy spending it on silly $25 Fleetwood Mac remasters and "Pretty in Pink" LP reissues elsewhere. Additionally, setting up full catalog Numero sections in stores for RSD, or any other time for that matter, would help solve the ignored deep catalog dilemma that we labels face. I think the rest is just distracting noise.

Without labels releasing music, stores have nothing to sell. Without stores, labels have fewer and worse places to sell their music. Without either or both, the world is a sadder, grayer place.

And I am serious about the dinner offer, Numero.


  1. Whoa. I'm glad I checked the blog today, I had no idea dinner was being discussed.

  2. Rob, was also sent in email directly to Ken. We can go dark on dinner plans. :-)


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