I’ve got ’nuff respect for any body out there trying to make a living while running a Ska/Reggae record label. Read: With all due respect… But in this day and age, form is dictating success. What I mean to say is that today’s music consumer demands music in the format that they prefer and are not likely to make a purchase if the medium is not right for them.
I’m still lamenting the passing of A1 Records, which was a donation-based digital distribution method for Gregory Kraj’s massive musical catalog. All digital and no prices found Kraj closing shop.
Of course, I’ve been championing Whatevski.org all year for being such an amazing digital distributor in the Ska/Reggae world, so I won’t keep blowing smoke. They are all digital, but unlike A1, Whatevski requires payment for each album you desire. Plus, they’ve won my heart by finally releasing Da Whole Thing’s Tooth.
On the other end of the spectrum, you’ve got the legendary Jump Up! from a man like Chuck Wren. I think that Jump Up is still the best place to buy Ska and Reggae because of their selection, but I recently caught their mission statement which gave me pause:
We strive to keep an art form alive, let the others try to cash in on digital – the “easy” and soul less “format” of music. Not us!
Needless to say, I hope that this backwards facing policy doesn’t bite Jump Up in the butt, I’d hate to lose them. I just can’t agree with the sentiment that limiting availability will help anyone in the long run- not the label, not the bands and certainly not the customers. I’m glad that there are still selectors that stockpile vinyl (and even CD’s); but vinyl need not die just because the world has moved on.
This is why Stubborn Records, the label and distro side of King Django’s Version City, has found itself the perfect balance. Django works hard to keep the vinyl coming- making trips to Jamaica to press 45′s in that old JA way. But now Stubborn is offering several ways to acquire most of their best offerings, often in a digi-fashion. And I don’t think the vinyl and CDs will suffer for it. Django says:
…most in-print Stubborn Records releases are now available at Amoeba Records, Hollywood (CDs and vinyl) and JoJoSouth Records, Baltimore, MD (vinyl only).
Most titles are also now available in physical and digital formats at Interpunk, Amazon and CD Baby.
That’s right- you can pick your own poison! So out of encouragement for this forward-thinking, anti-luddite behavior, I’m going to show off a few of the great records you can buy from Stubborn in a digi-format.
Roots, Branch and Stem: Living Tradition in Ska – This was my first introduction to Stubborn and Version City way back when, and I still pull tracks from it on the reg.
King Django Quintet – Brooklyn Hangover – Tons of King Dj’s top hits, performed live in ’07 and released earlier this year.
Comments (0) Jul 09 2010