Remember Record Store Day, which celebrated record stores or, as we call them on this side of the pond, shops? Well, now comes the record label equivalent. Berwick Street in Soho, long the mainstay of London's second-hand record shop scene and home to such bastions as Sister Ray, hosts the day-long Independent Label Market from 10am till 5pm on Saturday 21st May.
Independent labels - Angular, Bella Union, Chess Club, Domino, Fortuna POP!, Heavenly, House Anxiety, Merok, Moshi Moshi, Mute, Peacefrog, Play It Again Sam, R&S, Rough Trade, Round Table, Soul Jazz, Transparent, Tri-angle, Wall Of Sound, Weird World and XL - will be selling ultra-rare and one-off items, while artists ranging from Slow Club to These New Puritans skulk about looking indie.
The label heads will be manning their stalls with their artists, selling their wares directly. And fending off assorted demo-wielding hopefuls, most likely.
“I started making mixtapes and selling them," says XL founder Richard Russell, whose artists range from Adele to Friendly Fires, and Radiohead via Beck to The xx. "I had a stall in Camden market. That's really what a record company is, apart from the fact it's not legal. You sort the music, get the artwork done, do the manufacturing and then sell them. That was actually the most fun, visceral way of running a record label that I've ever been involved in, because you talk to every single person who buys something.”
XL are giving away a “Record Label Starter Kit” which includes the master tapes, lifetime copyright and one page contract for an EP called Fresh Touch, an EP that was recorded in Ethiopia by Russell and XL’s in-house engineer Rodaidh McDonald. It features local musicians playing alongside a host of well known special guests. What better way to get a label started?
Check out a compilation of tracks from the various labels involved on Soundcloud: