- "Under the Radar" 02.13.02
Remember when you put out that 45 of of yer band "The Shitbags" a few years back? MRR said it was "a rockin' good time, limited to 500 copies. Pick it up!"
Remember last summer when some dude from Italy ordered a copy, and you opened the closet where 278 of them collect dust, and you swore at 'em? Kicked the boxes? Started handing 'em out to everyone you know in order to free up some shoe space?
Well, I thought I'd offer up some suggestions for anyone out there just starting out. I mean, this is in no way comprehensive, and my experience is limited -- I welcome any and all feedback, which I'll reprint in future columns. These are just some of the people I enjoy working with.
* http://www.undergroundmedicine.com -- Far and away the best distro for BlankGen-approved music. Not only is it a great and reliable consumer mailorder, Jim and company actually (!!!) pay you promptly (!!!) for the records you send. No trades, BS consignment (i.e. "ferget it pal, you ain't ever getting a dime unless you sell X Amount before the moons of Jupiter are in alignment with Alan Thicke's ass!"). He also sells a good deal if your record get decent reviews and carries a bit of a buzz.
* http://www.aliensnatch.de -- You want to see your stuff in Germany? Contact Daniel. It will probably end up being a trade, but the records he releases are by cool bands (Yum Yums, Teenage Rejects, Jewws) on thick vinyl with eye-gouging artwork -- trade for the whole collection, or sell 'em off to friends & enemies. As with any label distro, the best thing to do is to send a copy of your release as a gift and leave it up to the label as to whether they'd like to do a trade.
* http://www.ifrance.com/yakisakanarecords -- How about Fwance? Another trade here, if they like your stuff, and they can offer back cool-looking singles by bands like the Scat Rag Boosters, Kill-A-Watts, Evolutions, and Dixie Buzzards.
* http://www.goner-records.com -- I never really pictured this site as offering a distro (just some cool here-and-there artifacts), but lately the record section has bulked up to the point where one could easily blow a couple hundred dollars. If you haven't checked it out lately, go there now. I'm waiting OK. Eric's got some individual-eclectic taste, which is what makes the selection unique -- on the other hand; yer project may not be a good fit. If ya' think you'd fit in with the other Goners, send 'em a copy.
* http://www.geocities.com/hideonnr -- Hideo of Minneapolis' Sweet JAP has a cool little label/distro focusing on Japanese bands and Rip Off-style rock 'n roll. If you feel you fall into the aforementioned categories, send him a copy.
Also very helpful is Tom at Deadbeat, who even has a trade page up (http://www.dead-beat-records.com/trade.html). He graciously answered a lot of my start-up questions a few years back, and his taste runs the gamut from screaming hardcore to garage. You may also want to check with Patrick from http://www.peladorecords.com, who also has a really cool label, and would probably welcome a trade for good stuff.
It's funny how many distros have tanked since I put out my first release a few years back. Funny "peculiar," that is Beware the fine-print consignment bullshit -- stores and distros will often stiff you if you don't sell ALL your copies within a certain amount of time, or they'll pay for the sold copies and "own" all unsold copies after a fixed amount of time. You want your shit to be out there, but it isn't worth fucking yrself.
Reviews, reviews, reviews -- love it or hate it, Maximum Rock'n'Roll sells more copies with a good review than anyone else by a longshot. Send them two copies -- one for the library, one for the reviewer. It can't hurt to keep the reviewer happy. Razorcake, Hit List (MIA?) and Punk Planet have volume, and Horizontal Action, Head in a Milk Bottle, etc have small(er), but more cultivated, audiences.
The only places online I really give a fuck about are BlankGen (natch!) and "Rock City" Dale Merrill's http://www.smashintransistors.homestead.com/front.html.
A good rule of thumb for submitting to any distro/review submission is as simple as, "would I order from this fucker?" Or, "would I read this mag?"
© blankgeneration.com 2003