.........I have been doing the distro for over 8 years now. and i can
honestly say ive never gotten as little enjoyment out of it, as i do
currently. yeah prices have gone up (4 dollars a 7" wholesale price now?
really?), and the economy has taken a shit (every hardcore distro i know has
taken a big hit, many have folded), but none of that has had as big of an
impact on me as this.......This new crop of record collectors has just
killed it for me.
i started out with a handful of used records i took to local shows in a
beat up cardboard box. i expanded it by picking up records straight from
bands, and it turned into a distro. i started selling rarer stuff on ebay,
and put all the money back into the distro, and it blew up. once i got too
many records to take to shows i put it online, and it grew by leaps and
bounds into what it is currently. ive traveled to a lot of awesome places.
met a ton of awesome people, and had a ton of fun. ive watched while kids
flipped through bins and get stoked when they find some record they have
been looking for for YEARS. i talked to kids at length about vinyl. had
listening partied with bands over new releases.
over the years, the focus has shifted from records and music, to business.
and i need a break. local shows have all but stopped. show spaces in the
area have shut down leaving only more commercial places open, who charge
merch fees to sell at their venues. fests charge upwards of 1000 dollars for
ive always valued the personal touch of working with labels/bands to help
get their music out there. but more and more that ive worked with in the
past, or contact to work with have signed exclusive deals with some large
distributor. so i contact to start a relationship with them and get a
standard "contact lumberjack" email. i can understand that on a business
level as no doubt lumberjack sells more records than i do, i just didnt
start this distro simply to buy from a one stop/large company and resell
records for a profit (unlike a few recent internet distros who sya they
started just to make a few bucks on the side). the personal touch is gone.
hell even i copy/paste replies many times to the tons of newjack labels who
ask the same questions. the kids at fests flip through records taking each
one out waiting to come across some limited splatter, i cant tell you how
many times in the last couple years at shows ive heard Oh if you have this
on orange/blue splatter id buy it, and then put the record back. or hold
their blackberry and check ebay for the going rate of each record they pick
out. "10 bucks for an LP? will you take 7?" they ask while texting away on
their brand new sidekick.
the online experience is worse. the older kids are out, and in are the
internet generation who never had a "life before the net". i get paypal
claims after 5 days from kids who think their records should be there
already. or kids who want a refund because the insert has a bent corner. or
there was a fingerprint on the vinyl. or worse yet, want a refund because
"oh, i already have this on blue, i figured youd have the other pressing".
kids bitch on messageboards because they didnt get any free records with
i could go on for days. obviously im old and jaded. which is just as much my
fault. my email responses to seemingly harmless records have been
increasingly bitchier, my messageboard comments come across as asshole-ish,
my shipping times have increased, my response time has slowed, and at this
point, i really dont care.
a chunk of my records were ruined lately, and i thought "oh man, thats a lot
of money i lost", instead of what i should have thought, which was, thats
some sweet music i lost, i remember picking this record up from this band at
this show, etc...
im taking a break. i need to get back to having fun, and getting back to
what i enjoy. Ive been going through my personal stuff lately, and picking
up items that i need to fill some holes in it. spending more time actually
LISTENING to the records i have. i need to get back to hanging out with
friends doing something other than hanging out with them solely so they can
come over and look through my record rooms for hours. going to shows to
enjoy the music, not spending the whole time conducting business behind a
table. spending my nights off work doing things i love, rather than
packaging up records, and answering the same email about what pressing/color
i have of various records.
what does this mean for the distro? possibly nothing. the distro might
continue on the same as always. just without me. or it might be the end of
the distro. Checks will still go out to labels (if it ends, unsold stuff
will get returned, dont worry, i still have never intentionally ripped
anyone off). orders will still be checked often and shipped out. i have a
friend who is going to take over. maybe temporarily, maybe permanently, i
dont know. i still have tens of thousands of records to get rid of. tons of
used stuff to put on the site, itll take months and months to get it all
listed. im sure the new releases/new stock will slow down considerably, as
there is no point in me continuing to pour money into the distro from my own
pockets while the future is uncertain. in the meantime my friend will handle
everything for me. after that, who knows. maybe the break will do me good
and ill be refreshed to go another 8 years. maybe ill realize i dont wanna
do it anymore, and ill close it down and get out. or what im hoping, ill
pass the torch, and the distro will continue being run by fresh faces. and
what they choose to do with the distro, i dont know. maybe they will slowly
turn it into a black metal distro. or a scarf wearing hipster distro. or
keep it exactly the way it is. it wont be up to me.
thanks to the tons of kids who made this fun over the years, and the ones
who still try even now. im not saying things have gotten worse. im just
saying i am not cut out for the new wave of vinyl collecting.
dont stop checking back. i have a ton of orders i placed with labels coming
in, and labels are still sending in their new stuff, so there will still be
updates. not to mention the tens of thousands of records i still have to
list. ive marked down about 1/4th of the catalog to thin down, and ill be
marking down about 3/4ths of the catalog by the time i am through, so check
the sweet deals and get these records out my house and make moving whats
left to wherever they go(if there is a move) much easier.
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