Kudos Distribution

Record Store Day 2014 Frustration

Kudos’ physical release schedule will be pretty quiet for the next few weeks.

This isn’t a seasonal issue. The early spring sunshine isn’t keeping shoppers away from the high street. In fact, March and April have traditionally been very strong trading months.

The cause of this new release drought might surprise you; Record Store Day.

Right now, we have 20+ manufacturing jobs in production, all of which have come to a grinding halt while the pressing plants make hay by pressing up umpteen thousand Oasis LP re-issues, Abba 7”s and REM Box sets. We have even had one vinyl plant refuse any order of less than 500 units until after Record Store Day.

So, for the next six weeks, we are effectively locked out of the vinyl business.

rsd

Kudos have always been a strong supporter of Record Store Day. We have participated since its inception and have enjoyed some notable successes. However, it now feels like it has been appropriated by major labels and larger indies to the extent that smaller labels who push vinyl sales for the other 364 days of the year are effectively penalised.

This isn’t at all a criticism of the organisers or of the concept. Tom Lane at ERA and Natasha at Resident Records have put a lot of great work into co-ordinating what I’m sure will be a great day for record retail. But for us, at least, it’s at a considerable cost.

Personally I think a re-think is required. One idea would be for RSD vinyl releases to have a maximum press. This would ensure that RSD releases were truly ‘special’ and would take the pressure off limited vinyl manufacturing capacity. It would also help if pressing plants took a fairer approach to how they allocate pressing time. Unfortunately, the few vinyl plants that remain operate in a near monopoly environment, so voting with our feet isn’t an option.

Record Store Day is also no replacement for a more comprehensive appraisal of the plight of the independent record stores. While the oft-mentioned vinyl resurgence is all well and good, what independent retailers could really use is an all round reappraisal of CD pricing and discounts. If we could find a mechanism to globally lower dealer prices, while at the same time cutting the discounts we gave to the supermarkets, larger chains and multinational web retailers, we could make CDs an impulse buy while at the same time levelling the playing field and saving labels a fortune in mechanical royalty payments. (Our inability as an industry to optimise our pricing is a subject I will cover in a later post). For our part, Kudos have long been encouraging labels to reduce CD dealer prices, but, as a small, niche distributor, our influence on consumer behaviour is rather negligible.

Fortunately, as far as Record Store Day releases themselves go, our labels are all ahead of the game and none of our RSD releases are affected by the above bottleneck. We look forward to announcing some great releases from Error Broadcast, Jazzman, Lounge Records, First Word Records, Tramp Records, Omniverse Records and Wah Wah 45s.

18 comments

  1. […] vinyl distributor Kudos have posted a message on their site about Record Store Day, claiming that it “requires a […]

  2. […] vinyl distributor Kudos have posted a message on their site about Record Store Day, claiming that it “requires a […]

  3. […] letter to Record Store Day detailing their frustrations with the event. The full thing can be read here but the main point I want to talk about is this is […]

  4. […] seventh year of existence and although the sheen is rapidly wearing thin – largely because of major label re-issue madness – there will of course be plenty of excellent treats to pick up this […]

  5. […] As you might have read there is also a critical view on this annual day. Starting with 10 special releases in 2008, this year’s RECORD STORE DAY sees 438 records, limited editions and reissues coming out. Many of them hail from major labels. Their orders are processed first by the pressing plants so smaller labels are penalized. The English label Kudos Records has made its misgivings known in an open letter to RECORD STORE DAY. If you want further information, you can read the letter here. […]

  6. […] A growing number of labels are giving out about not being able to get their releases through the pre… because of a huge demand for manufacturing. […]

  7. […] Day 2014 was causing havoc behind the scenes were confirmed when on March 14 distribution company Kudos published a blog detailing their frustrations. “Kudos’ physical release schedule will be pretty quiet […]

  8. […] company Kudos highlighted some of the issues they are facing in 2014 with pressing plants on their blog, […]

  9. […] company Kudos highlighted some of the issues they are facing in 2014 with pressing plants on their blog, […]

  10. […] company Kudos highlighted some of the issues they are facing in 2014 with pressing plants on their blog6, […]

  11. […] company Kudos highlighted some of the issues they are facing in 2014 with pressing plants on their blog, […]

  12. […] record labels. The debate flared in the past month following an open letter from UK distributors Kudos that claimed the event clogs pressing […]

  13. […] our recent Record Store Day post, we commented that if we really want to support music retail, we need an all round re-appraisal of […]

  14. […] 14th March 2014, distribution company Kudos published a blog post explaining their frustrations at the initiative. They explained that vinyl pressing plants were […]

  15. […] issue was spelled out in detail by a record distributor called Kudos in a blog posted on March […]

  16. […] issue was spelled out in detail by a record distributor called Kudos in a blog posted on March […]

  17. […] This comes as a positive sign that the industry sees the obvious vinyl resurgence as long term and will offer potential relief to the labels, distributors and stores who have found that reluctance to invest in new pressing plants has resulted in tremendous manufacturing delays as a handful of plants struggle to meet the demand, particularly at a busy production time like Record Store Day. […]

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