Indie Labels Say Major Labels “Constipate” Pressing Plants for Record Store Day


Independent labels Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl are releasing a 7″ split single by bands Spectres and Lorelle Meets The Obsolete next month. The single isn’t being released for Record Store Day. Instead, the labels will release one copy every day for a year.

+Indie Labels Say the Majors Are Releasing “Hundreds of Pieces of Sh!t” on Record Store Day…

Here’s what the two labels have to say about Record Store Day…


…We are releasing one copy a day for a whole year via selected shops and to make some sort of point about how every day should be record store day, and because it seemed like an amusing, foolhardy thing to do. Make no mistake, though, this is not a protest against record shops, because we love record shops (some copies of this record will actually be available in them). It’s not even really a protest against Record Store Day, which is essentially a good idea, or was when it began in 2007, even if it is far too focused on ‘product’ rather than the actual shop spaces and their role in the communities they serve.

If it’s a protest against anything, it’s what Record Store Day has become: just another event in the annual music industry circus that begins with the BBC Sound Of… list and ends with the Mercury Prize, co-opted by major labels and used as another marketing stepping stone, like an appearance on ‘Later… With Jools Holland’ or bagging the sunset slot at Glasto. If you want to queue up from the early hours of April 18 to buy Mumford & Sons’ 7” or an overpriced Noel Gallagher 12” to flip on eBay, then fine, but what the hell has it got to do with us? U2 have already shat their album into our iTunes, why should they constipate the world’s pressing plants with it too? And there’s a picture disc of A-ha’s ‘Take On Me’ as well. Of course it’s a fine pop single, but there’s bound to be a copy in the Oxfam around the corner.

No, because of the rules and regulations (minimum pressing amounts, no direct to customer sales, blah blah blah) Record Store Day really isn’t fun, and it’s certainly not beneficial to small, backs to the wall labels like Sonic Cathedral and Howling Owl. But we are still affected by it. Badly.

There are currently no copies of Spectres’ album ‘Dying’ on vinyl in the shops because the repress is somewhere towards the back of the queue after some Foo Fighters studio scrapings, a host of EPs by The 1975 and about a million heavyweight ‘heritage rock’ reissues that no-one really needs.

Less Cheap Trick, more bloody expensive con.

The final irony was getting a call to say that this very 7” was going to be delayed and might not be shipped until after Record Store Day. We’ve switched plants, and fingers crossed they will appear on time for the first copy to go on sale on April 18. If they don’t, well, there are 364 other days on which to buy and release records…



10 Responses

  1. RickyLopez

    I’ve been a wholesaler / exporter of physical product, since 1988. I constantly pollute this board with my opinions about the lack of profits in the digital / new media market. – RSD has 592 physical releases. Not cheap either. This “business” will never learn. Shame on everyone that has exploited this rare second chance to thrive .
    You are peeing in your pants to keep warm you idiots
    If anyone wants me….I’ll be in my box

  2. Dan

    Whiny & misguided… if you don’t think Record Store Day has helped with the overall resurgence of vinyl, then you are not paying attention. More people buying vinyl = more people buying YOUR vinyl, Record Store Day or not.

    • Nina Ulloa

      “Make no mistake, though, this is not a protest against record shops, because we love record shops (some copies of this record will actually be available in them). It’s not even really a protest against Record Store Day, which is essentially a good idea, or was when it began in 2007, even if it is far too focused on ‘product’ rather than the actual shop spaces and their role in the communities they serve.”

  3. Anonymous

    Vinyl is like that photograph of a guy a girl has a super crush on, but the guy in the photograph is with another woman, hes married with kids and a job and doesn’t even remember the girl with the photograph, but the girl with the photograph has it copied and blown up and posted to the wall and she has a teddy bear with a suit on it and she sits there and strokes the teddy bears hair while talking about how many kids they are going to have and whether the picket fence will be white or white white or egg shell shit, in love with the guy certain they will be together, phoning a number that is disconnected, talking about some dinner and coffee and wine they never had, all while never looking at the reality of the situation long enough to get through those misguided misfiring synapses…

    There are 7+ billion people in the world with more coming, technology advancing, living spaces getting smaller everywhere, square footage costs going up and up, brick and mortar retail getting harder to cover the bills and especially the rent and insurance and utilities, shipping costs rising, i mean, vinyl is like selling toilet seat covers to Eskimos while on Mars…

    Love vinyl by the way, just sayin…

  4. jw

    So is this about “Record Store Day,” or “Sonic Cathedral & Howling Owl” day?

    Every year it’s the same complaints… does anyone bother to ask the actual record shops if they’re more interested in carrying 1 or 2 copies of a split 7″ by two bands no one’s heard of or a handful of Foo Fighters LPs that they can actually sell? That are actually going to bring new music fans into the store?

    Just because something is more niche or more obscure doesn’t make it more “needed.” I hope Sonic Cathedral & Howling Owl are terrifically successful with this marketing stunt, but they should know it’s this type of elitism that lead to the downfall of the record store to begin with.

    The idea that the pressing plants are “constipated” with major label releases, as if indie records are “good business” & major label releases somehow aren’t, is something that’s entirely made up. The plants are just doing business, trying to be as profitable as possible. The problem is not what’s being pressed, it’s that there aren’t enough plants. Clearly.

    • Darren

      Small labels have known for some years that rsd leads to busy pressing plants. About half the releases are indie labels too and sold by indie distributors to spots at fair prices as well. The lead time is about three months prior to rsd. A proper label would be able to work around that and plan the release and campaign months in advance. Just adapt and welcome the vinyl revival. Easy.

  5. Arvid Audio

    I love how they feel they can decide what the public wants to buy, while they are still clearly struggling to reach their own broader market. It’s so much like the audiophile naysayers telling me what I can and can’t hear. Pardon me while I search for my tiny violin….

  6. Dusty Bungalow

    Anyone seen how much leftover stock from RSD 15 is now being flogged online? That says something – A reissued 7″ for £15?! no thanks bro. Decent releases sell out ALL YEAR ROUND so why don’t these? I seriously doubt most record stores could care less about most releases on the RSD list anyway. It may be a decent day in the Store but it would be interesting to know what percentage of stock moved that day was actual RSD stock.

    Also, anyone saying that labels should be aware of the delays to pressing plants and factor this into their release schedule clearly don’t really know anything about running labels. Pressing plants are already notoriously difficult to plan with, with any pressing mistakes already having a huge knock on effect to schedules.

    That said they’re probably the same people queuing outside the record shop at 7am on RSD to pick up a Bowie 7″ before going home to their boring family and eagerly awaiting the RSD ’16 list.


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