I haven’t posted here for the past few days, but that’s not because of lack of work… the Double Negative vinyl finally arrived yesterday afternoon, so for the first time in a while I have all of my major releases in stock and no orders are being held. This has made that mythical state of being “caught up” seem within my reach, though things had gotten so far behind waiting on those Double Negative 7″s that it’s going to take a few days of hard work get back to feeling comfortable. I already spent about 3 hours packing up orders this morning, and before I’m caught up I’ll have to assemble about 300 more Double Negative records, add a few records to the webstore (this seems like it would be a straightforward process, but I find things sell much better when I listen to the record closely and write an honest, original description), design a new ad for MRR and a few other zines featuring my new releases, send out promos to a select few lucky zines, and finish the Devour master CD and LP artwork. My wife and I are going out of town this weekend so I doubt I’ll get all that done before Monday. There are also a few overdue tasks that I’d like to accomplish, like updating the visual discography on the website with the latest limited editions and fancying up the label’s myspace page, but realistically those probably won’t happen until late next week at the earliest. Still, I’m feeling better about where I’m at right now.
In better news, I found out that the Logic Problem t-shirts are finally printing tonight! The printing place I used is staffed by 2 people… one of them was on vacation last week and the other had to go out of town for 4 days for a funeral, so my order got heavily delayed. I’m not unsympathetic when things like that happen to small businesses, but their communication and demeanor were terrible during all this. I’m willing to overlook a lot in order to deal local, but these guys fucked up.
The next big event on my horizon is emailing my wholesale list to tell them that the Logic Problem EP is ready. Hopefully I’ll have a slew of orders and trades to fill when that happens, but I’ll probably wait until after this weekend so that I’m not barraged with email while I’m out of town. Once that email goes out there will probably be a few days of hell before I catch back up.
Hours spent on the label in the past 2 days: about 7
I guess it’s debatable whether I worked for the label very much today. I spent almost the entire day ripping about 50 CDs and listing them on Amazon.com, a process which I’ve been slowly doing with my entire CD collection over the past few weeks. While I’m sure every label has a different way of keeping track of expenses and different ways for the owners to pay him or herself, my solution is that I have one bank account for the record label, and I use that bank account to pay for anything music-related. Not only do I pay for the label’s releases, but I also pull from this fund for my band’s tour expenses, music equipment and (occasionally) records for my personal collection. Generally, though, for the past few years my record collection has funneled more money into my label than out of it, since I’ve been thinning down my collection of vinyl via ebay and my webstore and putting the proceeds right back into the label. Because I’ve chosen to put my entire obsession with punk rock, whether it be running the label, playing in bands or collecting records, under the same financial umbrella, all of those various activities are sort of grouped together in my head, and when I sell my own personal records I really feel like I’m doing work for the label. Honestly, I think that’s probably a better motivation than simple profit, as I’ve never been a person who is obsessed with money. However, when I know what that money is going toward–i.e. putting out future records–I can keep myself motivated to trudge through the mundanity of ebay, amazon and the other sites I use to peddle my wares.
This evening I also knocked another thing off my weekend to-do list by updating my list of distro contacts. I’ve attempted to do this about 10 different ways over the years (managing email lists via hosting providers, keeping everything in an Excel file, etc.), but nothing has been simple and intuitive enough that I kept it updated regularly. Thus, whenever I release a new record I find myself going through my last few months’ worth of emails looking for all the new contacts I’ve made since my last email. This time, however, I was pleased to see that Google has redesigned the contacts section of gmail in a very nice and simple manner. If I can inculcate the habit of adding new contacts to my distro group as soon as I email them for the first time then my life should be a whole lot easier and I should be able to do a much better job of getting a record out the door immediately upon its release. I’m sure that as this blog evolves I’ll write about a ton of these kinds of tools that make life as a small-business owner easier and more efficient.
Hours spent on the label today: about 0.5