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Touch and Go to Cease New Music Releases, Cut Distribution

Touch and Go head Corey Rusk has announced that the legendary Chicago indie label (which released Slint's Spiderland, and a bevy of indie rock from two generations of indie bands) will be cutting off it's distribution services (it distributed albums from Suicide Squeeze, Kill Rock Stars, Merge, Jade Tree, and others) and scaling down significantly to essentially just manage past releases. 


Citing economic downturn, Rusk said that the label won't be releasing any new music that isn't already set up to be released (like Crystal Antlers debut, Tentacles, which is due out on April 7, and their planned Jesus Lizard reissues).


The label, which celebrated its 25 anniversary in 2006, was home to many indie rock bands, who, unfortunately for Touch and Go, jumped to majors soon after joining the label (like Butthole Surfers, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, TV on the Radio, and others). 


In his release, Rusk made clear that the label isn't necessarily kaput, it's just not going to be what it was.


Here's Rusk's full statement:

"It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records.  Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels.  Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records. 

"Unfortunately, as much as we love  all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations.  Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go.  We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

"Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label.  We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure.  It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings."
[Chicago Tribune via Time Out Chicago]

Estelle, Lily Allen - Estelle and Lily Allen Do Not Hate Each Other Times Square Virgin Megastore Begins Closing Down
Butthole Surfers
Crystal Antlers
Ted Leo
TV on the Radio


/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

That's a shame. Wonder who will distribute those other labels, too.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/brandon/216_browser_clut.gif brandon

Yeah, I think that's the bigger concern. All those other labels rely on T&G.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

What bothers me about this is that Pitchfork, Time Out Chicago and others reported that T & G was going out of business entirely beforehand. It's depressing news, but the label disbanding completely would be enough to induce mass suicide. Hate to see the indie press resort to the rumormongering of tabloid journalism.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Ethan/nirvana-corporate-rock-whoresjpg.jpg EStan

PFork and Time Out reported it this morning, and the news happened a few hours later. It's not like they published a report about the label closing 6 months ago on a rumor, and are now reporting the real closure.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/thestorfer/1202393jpeg.jpeg andross

The gun was jumped by publications, but the actual news was pretty close to the speculation. Whether it's right or wrong, this seems to be how things happen in news nowadays.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/daba/me-bermudajpg.jpg Daba

You'd think that Pitchfork would at least get the whole story before writing a full on obituary. Idolator reported it as a rumor before the whole story was published. As for the Time Out Chicago obituary, the post was written by Brent DiCrescenzo, who is responsible for one of the most notorious moments of shoddy journalism in Pitchfork's history:

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Ethan/nirvana-corporate-rock-whoresjpg.jpg EStan

Wasn't Ted Leo on Lookout! when they folded? And now he's on Touch and Go when they shrink operations?

That dude is suspect.

But this is sad news, though thankfully they'll still be around to offer their impressive back catalog.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/mfiander/profile.jpg mfiander

For a change I'll play the optimist--the other labels distributed through Touch & Go will find new distribution and as Rusk says, "Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label." Maybe this means a return to how the label used to be; Slint, Jesus Lizard, Big Black and Dirty Three and away from some of their latest trash, like Coco Rosie.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/conorwalker/keyboard.jpg conorwalker

This is sad news indeed, but others will take its place... I wonder if the whole idea of a "label aesthetic" (which is what makes/made a label like TnG interesting (that is, they have a schtick that people like and then identify with the label)) is probably going by the wayside now that finding and accessing new music is easier for people.

/site_media/uploads/images/users/Johnmel/P1270021.jpg Johnmel

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