From your experience, has playing live – or organising live events – really, as many have claimed, been a positive factor for your label? How would you describe the relevance of a direct communication with fans and supporters?
Honestly we’d like to do more but it is exhausting and we don’t have the infrastructure but when we can, we do. Meeting fans at conventions or live shows is super important for us as we are still just fans and love to bounce ideas off other folks. MondoCon is our own event in Austin so we focus on that and try and put on a couple of live shows with exclusive records.
Are artists expecting too much from a label, would you say? How important is their own contribution – in terms of promotion, for example - to the success of a release?
It’s imperative for artists to get behind their release and get people excited about their releases. It’s the most important tool small labels and artists have right now of connecting with fans and making new ones
How do you define success for your label?
Making money is cool and you know.... expected! But success can be measured in so many different ways. Signing a film such as RAW for instance. I fell in love with it during the 2016 festival circuit and wanted to release it because the film and the score are incredible. It’s important for me to be chasing and releasing these films. Or it can be getting a note from Angelo Badalamenti saying how amazing Twin Peaks sounds or an e-mail from a customer saying thanks for their record and that they love it.
Music-sharing sites and blogs as well as a flood of releases in general are presenting both listeners and artists with challenging questions. What's your view on the value of music today?
We have fans that value the cost of music; vinyl as an artefact and a piece of art but generally music is being devalued at an alarming rate. To think most people listen to music on Youtube or through their phone is depressing in one way, as I’d love to sit them down in front of a great system and let them listen to that track to see how they react to it booming out. But on the other hand, they have access to music I could never have dreamt about when I was growing up.
How do physical sales and (authorised) digital downloads compare in terms of income for you? Do you see models like Spotify as a problem or a potential solution?
We do not see a lot of income from Spotify but we A) don’t have a deep catalogue & B) have many million-selling artists signed to us. It’s important for us to be on there though, as the right playlist can reach hundreds of thousands of people and if two or three buy a record and discover the label then it’s all good.
In how far do you see artful packaging as a way forward for you as a label? Are the objectification and value of music inherently related to each other, would you say?
I love killer packages so we are constantly looking at pushing packaging, even if that means making super simple and elegant as opposed to out-there and crazy; each package needs to fit the project. I see our releases as a whole; art, record even the card we use for inserts. People buy our releases because they know they are getting something of a certain quality.
From your perspective, what would be a workable model for the future for listeners, artists and labels alike?
The more labels with a niche focus like us the better. You know you are going to love the music, discover something new and that the money is going into producing more like-minded stuff and not just on the next big thing the label needs a top 40 hit on. Sometimes smaller is actually bigger if that makes sense?