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Thursday, April 17, 2014

For those interested in the 1990s indie rock scene


For those interested in the 1990s indie rock scene, I've come across a few fun articles:

Pitchfork - the practical lessons of Sonic Youth. Even though it's Precious Pitchfork, the author still asks a very important question: why shouldn't they have "sold out" to Geffen in 1990? After all, the cool indie labels were run by a bunch of crooks and morons who couldn't even pay their bands the royalties they earned.

Magnet - Homestead, the label that plundered indie rock. Here's Ken Katkin making the most of a bad situation:
“Because I already knew the operation was something of a criminal enterprise and was not going to really pay any artists no matter what they sold, that influenced my A&R decisions,” says Katkin. “I started to see my mission as trying to put out records that had a lot of artistic merit and weren’t likely to be huge sellers. I didn’t want to be in a situation where a band sold 50,000 copies and then got ripped off.”

Sales figures of Homestead releases around this time more typically ranged from a few hundred to a few thousand. According to Katkin, Tenenbaum cut no royalty checks to artists during his two years at the label and often neglected to provide bands with biannual accounting statements. MAGNET spoke to more than a dozen former Homestead artists for this article. Some are still seeking financial compensation; some make no claims against Homestead or Tenenbaum. Others, such as My Dad Is Dead’s Mark Edwards, say they naively signed a contract and will probably never know for sure if they’re owed money.


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