A few days ago, I ran into my college friend Dave, who (amongst other things) is now running a small, independent record label called Kids. Kids release limited-edition, short-run 7″ singles (at the moment); they’ve got a solid lineup (including Paul Hartnoll’s debut single) and, as I bumped into him, Dave was off to a launch party for KIDS009, the latest Wombats single.
We caught up quickly, and he handed me their previous release, the double A-side of It’s Magnetic and Out on 24s (on clear plastic) from Assembly Now. When I got home, I stuck the 7″ on the record player and listened to both sides – really great stuff, and a band I’ll be keeping my eyes on.
What was really interesting, though, was the piece of paper that fell out of the single when I opened it.
On it was written a small note to say that because I’d bought the single, I was entitled to email somebody at Kids who’d send me details of how to obtain the MP3s of that track – for free.
I love this idea. The short runs of 7″ singles that Kids put out are ideal for a small record label trying to find its feet – reasonably cheap to press, I’d imagine, and which can turn a reasonable profit-per-unit. And for their target market, 7″ are still an acceptable distribution format for singles. But their target market also own iPods – and nothing’s more tedious than ripping vinyl to mp3.
So this pattern really works in their favour: people pay money for the music they want to hear on a format convenient for home, and get the mobile format thrown in – because let’s face it, they’re going to find a way to do that anyhow. The convenience of doing things this way around is a huge bonus, though. I hope other small labels do this sort of thing – it’s relatively little effort and cost on top of the pressing, but it’s a smart idea that’s in tune with exactly how people like to listen to music.
And, of course, I hope Kids continues to thrive as a label.