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
Another very full day of record label business.
I changed cell phones the other day after buying the new iPhone 3G, and when I checked my old phone I noticed I had a missed call from the Chapel Hill screen-printing place where I’m printing Logic Problem t-shirts. After getting sent to their answering machine twice I finally made it through to them, when I found out that the two people handling my order have gone on vacation for the entire week, so I guess no Logic Problem shirts this week. I mentioned in my last post that I like to deal locally, but this company is really doing their best to fuck that up. When I placed the order 2 weeks ago I asked if I could get the shirts in time for our show with Sex/Vid even though it was 7 days away and their quoted turnaround time is 10 days, but when I asked the guy on the phone he just kept repeating the mantra “turnaround time is 10 to 14 days.” Now I found out that they’re on vacation this entire week, which they clearly avoided telling me on purpose. I thought I’d use the place where (so it seems) Chapel Hill indie bands get their stuff printed, but those people are just royal assholes.
Spent part of the morning packing up orders, mostly from Amazon.com, where I’m selling my CD collection, partly to finance my new iPhone but I guess once that’s paid off I’ll funnel that money into the label. About 5 minutes after I finished packing orders and put all my shipping supplies away another order came in… you’d be surprised how often this happens. I was excited to see that it was from the ebay store, but it was just for a Double Negative 7″. I have a feeling I could trade those 7″s for human limbs and people would gladly rip off their fingers and hand them over to me.
I also spent part of the morning (probably too much) laboring over the description of the Logic Problem 7″. Judging by some of the descriptions out there, it seems like other labels don’t put much time into this aspect of the release, but I always find it very stressful. You’d be surprised how often that description will get replicated in other distros and stores, and even how many reviewers will refer to it when they write about the record. I’m always balancing like 10 things in these descriptions… trying to seem excited without being pushily self-promoting, trying to say what the record sounds like without lumping it in with soon-to-die trends or implying that it’s generic, and trying to give an indication of who will like it without being too verbose or obscure in my references. It’s a fine art for sure and one I have hardly mastered.
Sometime this afternoon I chucked doing any work on my actual job out the window and decided it would be way more fun to put together all 500 Logic Problem 7″s, which I did in a few hours while listening to records and chatting with Kelly. I’ve always liked the mind-wandering time provided by these simple repetitive tasks, but I wish I had a better table on which to assemble records because my back is extremely sore after putting together records all day.
After assembling all of the Logic Problem stuff I decided to pack up some of the orders I had been holding while I waited for more Koro 7″ covers to arrive. However, about 2 orders in I noticed that I was down to less than 10 copies of the Double Negative 7″, which is going to cause at least one of those orders to be held for even longer. I knew that I was low and had already ordered a restock of the Double Negative, but I didn’t think I was that close to running out completely. I emailed the pressing plant and they said they’d shipped 450 copies yesterday so hopefully they’ll be here early next week, but I find the whole situation very frustrating. With my limited cashflow, keeping popular records in print is always a juggling act… you can’t order more records until you’ve sold the ones you got, and one unpopular or heavily delayed record can disrupt that process very easily. Money wasn’t an issue with ordering the Double Negative repress, but it might mean the Devour 12″ will be pushed back a week or two while I build up money from the webstore and try to squeeze checks out of the distributors who owe me money.
To-do list for this weekend: somehow squeeze all of the newly-assembled records into my storage space, make some progress on the Devour artwork and CD master, and update my lists for promo copies (which is pretty out of date) and distributors and other labels with whom I trade (which is absurdly and perhaps hopelessly out of date).
Hours spent on the label today: about 9