Monday, January 09, 2012

Sub Pop on a budget

Via LA Times... interesting backgrounder on current state of indie label Sub Pop...

" Although Sub Pop has been around longer than most indie labels there's plenty of other thriving indies all over the country such as Merge, Epitaph and Secretly Canadian ...  In the first half of 2011, according to Billboard, the market share of indies was collectively 31.2%, greater than any single major. ..."

"... Circa 2000, Sub Pop would often sign bands with $100,000 recording budgets, but they had to scale down if they wanted to stay in business. So they financed the 2003 Postal Service record "Give Up" for the cost of a hard drive and some Guitar Center gift certificates. 

"And now that record is at 1,050,000 copies and still selling 600 a week," Kiewel says. "Companywide, our biggest records from that era — the Postal Service, David Cross, the Shins, Iron and Wine, Hot Hot Heat — all cost $10,000 or less. We were being rewarded for being fiscally responsible! Low-risk, high-yield — why would we ever change that?"

Wikipedia tells me Sub Pop have had two platinum records, one by Nirvana (Bleach), and one by Flight of the Conchords. And that Sub Pop has connections to the majors...  "...Sub Pop sold a 49% stake to Warner Bros. for more than $20 million in 1994" (Source: Bloomberg, 2008). No mention of Warners in that LA Times article, as far as I can see.

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