by Tim McMahan, Lazy-i.com
You may already have heard about this since it’s been covered in Pitchfork and throughout the music blog-o-sphere, but singer/songwriter/local legend Simon Joyner has launched a new record label called Grapefruit.
The label is a subscription-only vinyl-only venture, sort of like the ol’ Sub Pop Singles Club, but with full-length LPs released every three months. “I started it with my old friend Ben Goldberg, who runs Ba-Da-Bing Records (the label behind Beirut, Sharon Van Etten, and others),” Joyner said in an e-mail. “We’re taking subscriptions until Valentine’s Day. First year roster includes exclusive LPs by Lambchop, Richard Youngs, L.Eugene Methe, and 200 Years (duo comprised of Ben Chasny from Six Organs of Admittance and Elisa Ambrogio from Magik Markers).” Subscribers also get a hard-shell slipcase to hold the entire series.
In the label’s mission statement, Joyner and Goldberg explain why a subscription-based system makes good financial and artistic sense in an era when nobody is making money off music anymore. “By selling subscriptions directly to the public we avoid many of the expenses which make it difficult for traditional labels to make a profit,” the statement says. “There are no promotional expenses, no distributor fees, and no returns. Since the number of subscriptions sold tells us exactly how many records to manufacture for a given year, we are able to pay all the participating artists up-front without ever having to worry about a record ‘breaking even’ first. Additionally, the label’s subscription-only distribution concept allows the established artists to share their audience with the lesser known artists featured on an annual roster. Grapefruit’s mission is to expose fans to exclusive, challenging new music on vinyl while ensuring that the musicians actually get paid for creating their art.”
Musicians actually getting paid? Now there’s a concept we can all get behind.
Price for the 2011 subscription is $90 (plus $15 S&H) — that’s $26.25 per record for what will be an extremely limited-run album. Like the Sub Pop singles, they’re sure to become instant collector’s items. Find out more about the offer and the artists at grapefruitrecordclub.com. Make sure you read the “note from the founders,” to find out about new half-year subscription and easy payment options. It concludes with: “As always, remember our catch phrase, ‘Buy A Grapefruit Records Subscription For Your Boy In The Navy (If He Likes This Kind Of Music, And Owns A Record Player, And Doesn’t Mind Having To Carry LPs Around In A Submarine).'” God bless America…
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Read Tim McMahan’s blog daily at Lazy-i.com — an online music magazine that includes feature interviews, reviews and news. The focus is on the national indie music scene with a special emphasis on the best original bands in the Omaha area. Copyright © 2010 Tim McMahan. All rights reserved.