While the music industry is struggling, one of the oldest indie rock labels in the game, Seattle’s Sub Pop, is doing well. The label of early grunge rock fame (Nirvana, Soundgarden…) has been putting out critically acclaimed (and decently selling) albums from the likes of The Fleet Foxes and the Shins. The LA Times has an article chronicling the phoenix like return of the label, which somewhat recently resigned Mudhoney. The band left for a time to major label Warner Brothers, ostensibly because they thought Sub Pop was going to go under (spoiler alert: they didn’t!).
I’m crossing my fingers that the future belongs to small labels like Portland’s own Tender Loving Empire, which is balking at old industry standards, trusting fans and music lovers, and introducing a pay what you will pricing scheme in a project they hope to get funded by the crowd sourcing platform IndieGoGo.
They might just pull it off, indie rock fans are a loyal and supportive bunch. As the outpouring of love after the passing of one of Austin’s biggest music fans, the amazing Esme Barrera, attests to. In the wake of her death, benefit concerts have been planned from El Paso to Brooklyn, with legend Ted Leo requesting to headline one in Austin.