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Sub Pop founders discuss 20 years of the indie label market

Sub Pop founders discuss 20 years of the indie label market

For a fascinating (and exceedingly lengthy) read for your post-July 4th Monday morning, you should check out Pitchfork's nearly 10,000 word long interview with Bruce Pavitt and Jonathan Poneman, founders of the Sub Pop label and current impresarios of Sub Pop's 20th anniversary festivities. While Pavitt is no longer directly involved in label affairs, he brings up some interesting points in the early, such as their dumbfounding struggles just to keep a phone line, their post-Nevermind identity crisis, and why he regrets the decision to sell 49% of the label to Warner Music Group.

 

Poneman gives a much more optimistic perspective, talking about the harmony the band has achieved as its post-Shins status as a "mini-major," despite the regrettable Warner decision. He also talks about how he initially saw the Evergreen State-educated Pavitt as an "elitist motherfucker" and the bidding wars related to the Shins, the latest prominent band to depart from the label for their next release.

 

Other highlights include Pavitt's shock and disgust at the lack of politics in modern indie rock ("I think in times of crisis it's the artists' responsibility to dig a little deeper."), and how the band has shedded its reputation as a mostly hard rock label. It's definitely worth a read despite it's length, though it is weird that Pitchfork wouldn't break it up into multiple pages to drive traffic.

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Yeah, I'd have to agree about the lack of politics, or any form of indignation. Indie's lost it's teeth.

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