Chairmans year-in-review 2008

Just did the 2008 chairmans year-in-review for Labelkollektiv, Labelkollektiv Distribution and Labelkollektiv Promotion.

If you want to read it in its original environment, go here. For the lazy, here goes:


With the turn of the year, I feel it is a good opportunity to sum up the many events and highly dense activity level that we experienced in 2008.
Most significantly, we launched our new sub-departments, Labelkollektiv Distribution, in January, and later Labelkollektiv Promotion, in June, to reach out to all the other the small labels in Denmark; the labels and people that were (and are) in the same situation as we are ourselves - needing a channel to make our music broadly available to the public.

Our ambition was to unite the grass-root level of the Danish music business - the microlabels, often run from people’s bedrooms - in order to make this diverse and often hardly-accessible landscape of  quality music easy available for music stores throughout the country. This has now been acieved: Our newsletter and phone calls reach more then 80 stores countrywide (which is more or less all the stores that exist), and a low-cost, direct-to-store distribution option is now available for labels without the hassle of doing it yourself or banging on the door of the majors.
As a result, gathering labels in this niche has turned out to be a huge success. We discovered that the distribution and promotion of records put out by this huge segment was a field that no established music organisation really catered to and the music and actors were scattered, to say the least. Connecting these labels, people and records over the last 12 months has felt like finding long-lost family members, and the family stands strong: More than 30 labels are currently enrolled in the distribution roster, and many more are in the pipeline (we are adding 2-3 quality labels a month right now).
Stretched over pretty much any musical genre imaginable, this family constitutes the large part of the growth-layer of Danish music - the up-and-comers, the talent and the original musical nerve: The people who release music because they want it to be available, regardless if profits can be made.

The benefits for everybody are obvious: Presenting your label and new release alongside other similar releases and labels creates synergy and additional sales, and for the store, of course, an ease of having to look only in one place to find the hard-to-find records that are not available through the mainstream online-order system. Needless to say, the direct connection between the labels’ representative (that’s us) and the store ensures quicker deliveries, lower postage, greater shares to the label/artist and - even if it is a tad old-fashioned - the benefit of a personal relationship between the record store clerks (who are perhaps the biggest and most sincere music fans) and the labels. This is, I say, beneficial for music in Denmark in general. It is also - dare I say - a force to be reckoned with.

I have chosen the word ‘family’ with much premeditation. I think, that fact that we ourselves are (grass-) rooted in this particular layer of the music industry is what makes it feel more like a family of like-minded, than it is a business. Funds are short in economical terms for all of us, but rich in terms of enthusiasm. Records are made ready and released constantly, despite the financial crisis in general and the steep decrease in record sales in particular. Moreover, our heartfealt focus on the vinyl seems more and more as a niche that is worth the effort. Both the sales of vinyl and the number of titles being made on vinyl increase rapidly, and the predicament of the cd format seems to be hatched specifically to the silver disc, not the concept of physical music distribution. The core in this development is the fact that vinyl has moved from being a consumption product to becoming a lifestyle product - and the turntable has changed from being only a music player to serving as a piece of living room furniture (this is experience economy at it’s very core) - even for youths, who wasn’t around when vinyl was the only option if you didn’t want the hassle of rewinding and fastforwarding your tapes. It seems that more and more people (myself included) want to enjoy music from iPods and iPhones when on the move - but when at home we like both the ease of the mp3 and the feel-goodness of the analogue phonograph, that serves as a sort of therapy (and for many, also as subtle coolness-amplifier). In a way, I guess, you can say that putting the needle on the record adds more than one additional dimension to the enjoyment of the art that is music.

To comment on our promotion aid activitites that have also increased immensely in 2008, it is clear that more and more microlabels would like to benefit from the experience already made by other labels. Our idea is to help other with the experience we have made over the years and to enable them to refrain from spending hours and days collecting emailadresses and trying to find out who send the promos to. Our huge contact database (more than 350 direct-to-music-journalists-and-their-editors mail and postal addresses) that we use for promoting new labels and releases is widely available to any label at almost no cost - and we also give free advice on everything from printing and production to rights issues (and everything in between). If you are a new label (or band) reading this, give us a shout and we’ll help you.

We have a huge list of new initiatives lined up for 2009. Having just visited the Eurosonic Festival and networking seminars in the Netherlands, we are confident that we’ll soon be able to move into more territories (we’ll announce this later - if it works out, that is) and we’ll also soon launch our webstore, where all our titles in distribution will be made available as retail. We also have big plans for Labelkollektiv Booking and a large array of web 2.0 add-ons to spread our message to even the farthest and most desolate regions of the worldwide web.

2009 - game on!

Christian Villum
Chairman, Labelkollektiv
Manager, Labelkollektiv Distribution & Labelkollektiv Promotion

Tel: (+45) 2087 7153

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