Taking on Water Since 2010

Most of you who read this already know that my friends Jon and Charlie and I have started a small indie label.  I thought I’d take a moment today to let you know a little bit about Sinking Ship Records since we’re launching our first pre-order today.  If you’d like to read a little more about A Great Big Pile of Leaves, you can check out my blog post about the band here!

Jon and I both work at Sony Music.  He’s a part of RCA/Jive and I work in digital distribution.  Charlie used to work here in Copyright but has since left to pursue an entertainment law degree.  We all grew up playing in punk rock bands and it’s been a little disillusioning to watch the few bands on a major label that we care about get mishandled and inevitably dropped.

See – the problem with major labels is that they are hit machines.  OK, so I guess that’s not a problem if you’re a budding starlet.  I’ve just seen so much turnover from bands that either should never have been signed to a major in the first place – or – are treated unfairly and cast aside for the next project.  The truth is that indie labels do a much better job of building a reliable brand – and gaining support for new artists based on their track record.  Drive Thru, Jade Tree, Vagrant, and newcomers like No Sleep Records all created a strong following because they had that “taste-maker” status.  Seriously, when is the last time you looked to Epic Records for a musical recommendation?

Like many great things, the concept for us to start a label was born from several beers.  Just a couple guys complaining about the business over drinks at rooftop party on the 4th of July.  When we realized that the idea to start a label might not be as far-fetched as we imagined, Charlie did a little research and we discussed at our favorite local bar, The Quays.  A late night drive to Penn State yielded our company name – and after a fair amount of paperwork, we’re finally official!

We decided that our goal would be to work with artists that we love (and that can record their own music!).  Preferably, we want to treat the artists fairly too – these are hard times for artists, after all.  I think that’s easier said than done – since in any case, there’s only so many pieces of the pie to go around.  I think we’ve found an arrangement that works in most cases though.

Our very first project was something we knew we wanted to be involved in from the start.  A Great Big Pile of Leaves is a band that Jon knew personally and that really agreed to work with us on this vinyl pressing almost as a favor.  They took a chance on letting us represent them and their brilliant debut album.  I think we did a solid job – I’m really proud of the product we’ve arranged.

I can’t wait to sign our first band and start building a project from the ground up!  There will be more exciting news soon, but for now – listen to A Great Big Pile of Leaves and check out our webstore if you’re into it.  We rely so much on word of mouth, so tell someone about it if you dig it (and friend us on Facebook or Twitter)!  Thanks for your support.

-Steve (and Jon & Charlie)


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