Song, by Toad

Posts tagged independent label market

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Song, by Toad Records at the Independent Label Christmas Market Tomorrow in London

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Yep, I am hopping into Bette tonight and tootling on down to London once more, to peddle my wares to the clamouring masses.  This year’s event looks like being absolutely huge, compared to previous ones I’ve attended – it looks like we’ll actually be taking over pretty much the whole market, as opposed to the 50% or so which has been the case previously.

Part of this is down to what looks like a rather dramatic increase in label participation, but also the inclusion of the London Brewers’ Market, whose presence is a clear response to the global success of our Beer vs. Records concept – the last few bottles of which I will have with me tomorrow.

Actually, I am trying to think of a good way to be able to combine manning the stall with drinking copious amounts of beer, but the obligation to drive my stuff away at the end of the night makes that something of a challenge. It’s not like there are that many cheap hotels near Spitalfields with parking, either. Don’t worry though, I’m a resourceful lad, and I’ll come up with something.

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Independent Label Market, Glasgow – Video

This is cute – a wee A to Z of music filmed at the Independent Label Market in Glasgow a few weeks back, featuring (sort of) us, Magic Eye, Zed Penguin and er… Andy’s Mum’s cupcakes.  Wait a minute, I thought he was her cupcake?

Interesting fact about this year’s market: we sold quite a bit of stuff, but one thing we didn’t sell was CDs – in fact, only one of them, and there was no vinyl alternative for that particular album. I don’t know if one market’s worth of sales quite counts as a statistically significant sample, and I know vinyl nerds are more likely to be at this kind of thing than normal people, but nevertheless it sort of feels significant. Maybe I’m just looking for an excuse to do more vinyl though.

In fact, I am definitely looking for an excuse to do more vinyl!

So, for you southerners who couldn’t make it to the Barras, you should hopefully be able to catch us at the London market on the 30th November. It’s not totally confirmed yet, but looking good. And besides, it’s about time I had another wee trip down to London.

Oh, and on the subject of London, we’re looking at maybe organising a Song, by Toad Records Christmas Party in December sometime, so keep an eye out for that. It will be… what’s the word I’m looking for again… oh yes: FUCKING BRILLIANT!

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Independent Label Market in Glasgow on Saturday

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Hello folks, are you coming to this in Glasgow on Saturday? We will have the gorgeous new Trips and Falls vinyl, the whole label back catalogue, and the last of the Song, by Toad beer from the Beer vs. Records project.

Also, I will be manning the stall myself so if you want to come along and tell me how awesome the label is, or perhaps just hassle me for signing all the wrong bands, or pretty much whatever else then it would be nice to see you there. There will be good food stalls there too. Actually, I really like the look of those. So if you can’t find me I will either be stuffing my face or spending all the money we make buying records from other people. I think Lost Map are turning up with the Monoganon record actually. Please buy enough stuff so I can get a copy of that. Come on. Be fair.

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Independent Label Market Glasgow

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For those of you unable to make it down to London for the (sweltering) Independent Label Market in July and still sulking about the absence of the really good one we’ve had in Summerhall in Edinburgh for the last couple of years, fear not, because this fine event is returning to Scotland after all, just in Glasgow this time. And we will of course be there.

The event will take place on Saturday the 12th of October at the Barras Art and Design Centre. Having been the smallest of small fry at the London event I notice with some degree of childish sulking that we still aren’t considered significant enough to merit a mention in the press release even when the event is on our bloody doorstep, but hey ho. We will have the last of the Beer vs. Records 4-packs and the new Trips and Falls album, as well as more recent releases like NAKED and Adam Stafford and the more esoteric gems from our back catalogue.

I have to confess that the concept of the Independent Label Market makes me a little bit wary. I love going, and as a punter I think it’s a brilliant idea, but we do have to be a bit careful not to pull the rug out from under the few remaining independent record shops we have left and this kind of thing does appear to veer dangerously close to that kind of territory.

In London I don’t worry about it at all, because we struggle to get any London shops to take the slightest interest in our releases, so that stall at the market is invaluable to connect with our London fanbase. Up here, where people genuinely do buy our releases from record shops, it seems more questionable, but I don’t think the issue is as serious as it might seem for one main reason: people buy completely different stuff from me at these fairs than they do from our website or from shops.

Where generally our web-shop or physical retail will sell the most recent releases as well as a consistent trickle of stuff by our more prominent artists, at label markets the stuff people buy is much more spread out across the entire back catalogue. I go along with my iPhone and a set of headphones and, with it all laid out there in front of them, people explore all kinds of obscure old stuff in which the general public lost all interest a couple of weeks after release. We never sell a lot of any one release at these things, but what we do get is sales spread across our entire back catalogue, no matter how obscure it is or how little press it got at the time.

So it may seem like a threat to shops, and I am glad that a couple of really good Glasgow record shops are involved in this market, but even without them I don’t think what we would sell ourselves would be a direct replacement for what a shop would sell to its customers. And of course, in London, it’s just about the only retail space we have in the South, so I am just glad we’re invited, honestly.

So, meandering ramble aside, I hope to see you in Glasgow on the 12th.

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Song, by Toad at Independent Label Market This Saturday

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I am in the middle of driving back from France at the moment, so I don’t have time to say much (my parents are waiting on me so they can serve dinner), but we will be at the Independent Label Market at Spitalfields in London on Saturday and it would be nice to see you there.

We’ll have the new Adam Stafford album, the new NAKED single and the last few Beer vs. Records 4-packs, so swing by and I am sure to regale you with witty banter – or at least, the closest I can manage anyway.  There are some really nice reviews of the Adam Stafford album trickling through actually, so if you want a quick read before committing, try The Line of Best Fit, Drunken Werewolf and The Arts Desk.

And if you want to know why the blog has been quiet for two weeks, read my Tumblr site (in reverse order of course) and you’ll get the picture. ‘Mon the Betty!

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Toad Beer and Cupcakes, Thanks to Fiona Buckle and Barney’s Beer

I am very, very pleased with these!  For those of you in London, come and get some of the cupcakes above and the beer pictured below at the Independent Label Market tomorrow where we will have a stall.  I think we are sort of the Fanny Price of the event however, as the song we were asked for was cut from the promotional compilation and they never published the Q&A with us either, but if you all turn up and buy records tomorrow (which you will, WON’T YOU?) then that won’t matter at all.

So for those even remotely interested in hearing even more of my tedious opinions, I thought I might as well at least publish the Q&A myself seeing as I spent time answering the questions, and you can read the whole thing at the bottom of the page.

And for those of you in Scotland gazing jealously at the cupcakes in the picture at the top of the page, and at the beer in the picture below, fear not: you can help yourself to some of these things by coming to our label Christmas Party on Friday 7th December at Summerhall.

The cupcakes were made by the awesome Miss Fiona Buckle (she stayed up until 5am doing them as well, so you better be appreciative, you greedy beggars), and the beer was brewed by a rather brilliant and rather tiny independent brewer’s called Barney’s, which appropriately enough can be found on the premises at Summerhall. My sincere thanks to both of them for their excellent work.

Q&A With Song, by Toad Records for the Independent Label Market 2012

What is your inspiration for your label?
Mostly I was inspired by other people being Wrong About Music.  I started out as a blogger, and the idea of my own label was mostly fomented by the sheer amount of shit I was sent by proper labels when compared to the quality of a lot of the stuff I was receiving from unsigned bands. It became more and more frustrating the more involved I got with the local underground music community, and eventually my wife and I got very drunk and snapped, telling a band that if no-one else was going to do it, dammit WE would put out their album.

Do you have any influences outside of music in how you run your company?
Yes.  Mostly gin.

Are you a record label or a brand? (you’re not allowed to answer ‘both’)
I hate the term, but I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t a brand. As I said, I started out as just a blogger, and the blog is still going today, I do a weekly podcast, we record video sessions, and we put on regular gigs in Edinburgh. It’s a many-tentacled beast, the Toad Empire!

Is this what you want to do for the rest of your life?
I get bored quickly, so I doubt just running a record label will be enough in the long run. The benefit of no-one knowing how the music industry works anymore, however, is that being a record label can be a pretty flexible thing these days.  And the benefit of being your own boss is that if running the label one way becomes boring, I can always just decide to do things differently.

What kind of deals, and indeed steals, will you have on your stall?
We may have some limited edition Toad Beer, some custom-made Toad Cupcakes, and a couple of yet-to-be-released things which we are making available because we have the finished product already, and the release date is pretty soon so, in the words of Doc Brown, we figured what the heck.

Which of your artists would you most like to see have a Christmas Number One and why?
The Leg, because they would terrify the shit out of everyone.  They make pop music, but it’s pop music in the way that Krampus is a fairytale character.  He is, but not quite in the way you’d think.

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Friday is Attempting the Nudge the Wheels of Commerce into Motion

Yep, we are off to the Independent Label Market in London this weekend, hoping to get the nation’s movers, shakers and insufferable hipsters to part with their hard earned cash in exchange for Song, by Toad trinkets, and in doing so nudge a step or two closer to that yacht in the Bahamas with which the release and sale of records has thus far signally failed to provide me.

It can surely only be a matter of time, however, as we begin to firm up our plans for next year. Things are taking shape nicely, and we have some very fine releases in the pipeline.  Being a record label is a bit like being a greedy child though; your eyes really do get a little bigger than your stomach.  If we were to release everything I want to release, then we’d need staff, heads of department, visitors’ parking and an absolute shitload more cash than we have, so we’ll have to pass on all sorts of things I would love to do. Nevertheless, the things we definitely are doing are fucking belting. You are going to enjoy yourselves.

Anyhow, for those not trotting down to London to spend far too much money on records, the fantastic Sssh! Festival is taking place in Glasgow this weekend.  Toad Records bands Yusuf Azak and Meursault are playing, as well as other Toad favourites like Woodpecker Wooliams, RM Hubbert and Rick Redbeard (whose new album is fucking awesome, incidentally). The details are all here, and I strongly recommend you go along.

Anyhow, as I drive South with Toad beer and Toad cupcakes (oh, and some records too) why not join Mrs. Toad in talking utter pish on the internet for a bit. She’ll thank you for the entertainment I think, as the other option will be to listen to me talk all the way to London, and frankly no-one wants to have to put up with that, do they.

1. When did you spend the most ill-advised amount of money on music?
2. Silliest merch idea you’ve seen.
3. Favourite band t-shirt.
4. Favourite music you’ve spent way too much money on but don’t regret at all.
5. Next musical purchase you’re eyeing up.

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In Which Song, by Toad Records Try and Sell You Music

As Christmas approaches we at Song, by Toad Records want to give you all the opportunities we can to buy presents for your friends which cause them to produce their very best awkward smile and forced bonhomie, before consigning your gift of fine music to the back of the dustiest shelf in their house and never playing it again.

We are presenting three opportunities for you to be completely fleeced of all disposable cash in the run up to the most expensive time of year, and I would very much hope to see you at at least one. Do say hello if you get the chance as well, as it would be nice to put a face and a name to some of the numbers on my graph of readership stats.

Sunday 2nd December: Independent Label Market, Old Spitalfields Market, London.

Apparently we are highly lucky to have been invited to this one at all, as there are dozens of small independents trying to get stalls at the UK’s original and biggest independent label market.  Apart from possibly fulfilling their Scottish ethnic minority quota I am not sure quite how we came to be invited, but I am delighted nevertheless. I am just a little worried that I will end up spending so much money at other people’s stalls that the whole thing ends up costing me too much money.

Friday 7th December: Song, by Toad Records Christmas Party

Everything at our merch table at the Song, by Toad Christmas Party this year will be sold at a 15% discount, just because we’re generous like that – including a new split 7″ by Lil Daggers and The Underground Youth as well as the new Repulsive Sunsets EP by King Post Kitsch, which is being launched on the night itself. Tickets are £7 in advance and £10 on the door, so I’d get them now if I were you.

Saturday 8th December: Independent Music Fair, Chambre 69, Glasgow

This is a follow-on to the extremely successful Summerhall label market which has happened the last two years in Edinburgh during Festival time. There will be live music throughout the day, stalls from Scotland’s best independent labels, food and drink deals and possibly some of the custom Song, by Toad Beer available, assuming it doesn’t all sell out at our Christmas Party the day before.  I will look like shit and will be sporting a head-splitting hangover, but I will try my very, very best to be as charming and friendly as I can manage. Promise.

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Scottish Independent Label Market Returns

Last year’s Scottish Independent Label Market was, I think it is fair to say, pretty much an unqualified success.

The organisation was relatively last minute, but it enjoyed pretty unequivocal support from the Scottish independent music community, was held in a ridiculously cool venue and was extremely well-attended. Personally, had I organised the damn thing, I’d have been absolutely bloody delighted.

As you can see from the picture above (from The List) the Dissection Room at Summerhall, where this year’s event will also be taking place, is pretty awesome. I think all the ‘big’ independent record labels in Scotland will be there, as well as a lot of the interesting small ones, so for those of you who would rather spend your August money on people who finance and encourage artistic expression, instead of paying £25 to see shit comedy at the Fringe so Magners can get rich, then I suggest y0u come along to this and spend a fortune.

Myself, I think what is likely to happen is that all the money we make from people buying our records will be completely negated by the fact that I will myself end up spending too much money on everyone else’s releases at the same time.

Oh yes, and the date, of course: Saturday 4th August, 12-4pm.  See you there.

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Independent Label Market

Alright, having just written a big long post advising people not to be jealous… I have to confess, this event makes me more than a little envious.  I know I am a hypocrite, but I didn’t think it would be this obvious this soon!  There is an Independent Label Market taking place in London this weekend, where the owners of independent record labels man stalls selling their own releases, and I want to be there to shop and I would very much like to be there to peddle our own wares.

All the major indies – Beggars Group for example – will be there, as well as Angular, Domino, Mute, Bella Union, Chess Club, Fortuna Pop!, Heavenly, House Anxiety, Merok, Moshi Moshi, Peacefrog, R&S, Transparent, Tri-Angle and Wall Of Sound.  Quite a roll call.

Every time I think about the label and our catalogue of releases I find myself thinking ‘well in six months, it’ll be an amaaaazing selection’. At some point I suppose you have to stop saying that and take some pride in your catalogue as it is, but you know, there are always new plans and new ideas, and I suppose I’ve always got my eye on the future in one way or another.  Also, we’re releasing a lot of vinyl in the next few months, and I am really looking forward to that, which is always a nice feeling.

Anyhow, according to this article in The Quietus, which is where I first heard about the event, Joe Daniel from Angular was inspired to initiate the market by a combination of Record Shop Day and doing the merch desk for one of his own bands.  I have done this before myself, and it is a real pleasure.  When you’re the one who was silly enough to invest in something, there is always so much you can tell someone about why you loved it so much, about how the album came into being, and all sorts of other things.

So if you’re in London this week, go along to this, because it looks really interesting.  A little like Record Shop Day there will be exclusives and rarities and so on, so it should also be a great day for professional eBayers.  If you see one, kick them hard in the genitals for me, please.

More about the event can be found on Facebook and their Tumblr site.