Invada Responds to My Record Store Day Post

My post on what I saw as problems with Record Store Day caught the interest of a lot of people – especially Invada Records, the label I called out specifically in my write-up.

And since Invada is a small label run by a handful of very awesome people, they took the time to respond to my criticisms with the post below. In it, they raise a lot of very good points that I was not aware of, and I think it sheds some light on the problems labels face when planning limited edition releases.

I stand by the gist of what  said, I don’t think Record Store Day is a fan-friendly event anymore. And if it keeps going like it is then it’s going to self-destruct and take out some records stores with it. But I apologize to Invada if I was overly harsh towards them. They are one of my favorite labels, I only focused on them because they were the only label whose releases I was following.

Anyways, its good to get their side of the story, read on:

 

It’s worth stating at this point – I won’t be replying to anymore comments from anyone no matter what the content. The Invada staff consists of only 2 people and we simply don’t have the time to get embroiled in a heavy discussion about what is wrong or right. At the end of the day everything being discussed / brought up is subjective. There is no black and white / wrong or right facts here. Everything is purely opinion and interpretation.

Invada has been running for 10 years – before that all the Invada staff, and I include Geoff Barrow in on this, have been working in the music industry in some capacity since we’ve been teenagers and are now in our 40′s so we do speak with a bit of experience.

First and foremost, music to us is the same as art – meaning there are no rules / no regime that has to be adhered to. If someone wants to bring out a ltd run of 25 copies of a cassette then so be it – if AC/DC ‘Back in Black’ continues to sell another 20 million copies over the next 10 years – then great. If TOOL still refuse to release their music on iTunes at the cost of millions of dollars in revenue for them – then that is their decision and I would respect that, but not necessarily agree. It’s down to the artist in our opinion.

Record Store Day has been running for a few years and we have only been involved in the last two of them (including last weekend). Last year we released two titles – a BEAK> 10″ on white vinyl & a Fauns 12″ on Pink Vinyl – we pressed 1000 copies of each.

It’s worth saying at this point, if you don’t know, BEAK> is Geoff’s band outside of Portishead – so there is some sales history there to say the least. The Fauns – vinyl had a remix by the most in-demand modern contemporary soundtrack composer Clint Mansell (Noah / Requiem For A Dream / Moon etc ) – so again there was a big name attached to the project.

After RSD2013 there were still copies left over for about a month in the stores – and the labels were allowed to sell unsold stock direct. If you look on our on-line store today there are still copies (albeit only a few) available a year later.

This year we decided to up our game and release 4 titles. We wanted one soundtrack (Far Cry 3) / one punk record (Ringo Deathstarr) / one in house artist (Fairhorns) & a College record myself and David had talked about releasing for a while.

Record Store Day rules (especially in the U.S) – clearly state you have to declare your pressing quantity… This is to stop conjecture / guess-work / speculation from the buying public – which in turn is meant to stop ‘flippers’.

We published this link everywhere – http://invd.cc/rsd14/ – it gives full details of all releases – what you get with it / pressing quantity / vinyl colour etc and full artwork packshots.

We also went out of our way to tell people on our facebook & twitter to request their local stores to stock it – we listed every national and international distributor so stores could get on the case well in advance.

The decision was made well in advance back in December what the pressing quantities would be – this was based on last years sales and firm discussions with our distributor and distributors parties all over the world.

The soundtrack that is causing such controversy is Far Car 3 – which had only ever been released digitally previously and we made efforts to license this – luckily Ubisoft (the soundtracks owners) were very obliging as long as we followed through total and utter cohesion with their product and their wishes – which we respect.

At this point the deal was made for a one-off pressing of 1000 units – hand on my heart, I honestly thought this would be enough after speaking to several people I know in the industry. I didn’t calculate there would be so many ‘gamers’ that would be hungry for this soundtrack on vinyl and truthfully the reaction to the soundtrack only really kicked in a couple of weeks before release.. In hindsight, I wish I had pressed a larger quantity. Proof of what I’m saying can be measured by the amount of plays we had on our SoundCloud RSD sampler – the figures are very, very low compared to most other samplers we release on a more conventional release outside of RSD.
I therefore am adamant in my belief that this release broke away from our more mainstay following and a lot of ‘first timers’ stumbled upon this..

When you release a record it’s a gamble on what to press – it’s that simple.. We gambled on 4 releases – and three out of the four we have still got copies of (10 days later) and unfortunately for some people the one that sold out is Far Cry 3 .

As correctly stated on the above article – we spent the entire day and the 2 following days and nights (time zones etc) trying to source copies of this record for people – This isn’t something I have ever done in my life or will want to do ever again… I didn’t sleep for the best part of 100 hours – and whilst I empathise with people that queued for hours not to get the vinyl – we also worked very hard to make this happen in the first place – with the best intentions. We didn’t shirk away from our responsibilities after either.

Now – a lot of people say in very simple terms – ‘just release a second edition – that isn’t so ltd – maybe on black vinyl etc’ –
Well two things that are so important to remember:

Firstly, we don’t actually own the copyright or master rights – that is down to the games manufacturer. We have to go back to the table and re-negotiate any new deal… It would be extremely unprofessional of me if I even indicated that I’d already had those discussions – we’re talking about a legally binding contract here – and most importantly I don’t want to divulge information to anyone because i feel pressured by comments on twitter.

Secondly, I have to take into account that we got accepted to participate in RSD on condition that we stuck to their policy of not repressing a record after RSD. If we did this it would jeopardise our involvement in it for next year – although at this point I’m seriously considering having nothing to do with it again as I’m sick to the stomach of dealing with this now.

What I do take personally, and annoys the hell out of me, are accusations of mockery towards those who couldn’t get their hands on one.. The re-tweeting mentioned above is not at all derogatory to customers of ours – Again its down to interpretation of the reader – I do not think anything we re-tweeted was insensitive – and James White’s (who is one of the most down to earth and friendly guys I know) tweet was not in the slightest, meant to cause offence and I struggle to see how it would..

I’ve said enough and spent all my evening writing this when I should be doing other work – so all I will say is yes
Invada gambled on our pressing of 1000 units of FC3, just how we did on our pressing of 1000 College records. – The only difference is we have 35 copies left of College and no copies of FC3 – for that we got it wrong – and I apologise to those who missed out. We will have to see what happens from now on in. I will still continue to aid people where I can in getting hold of a copy of this title.

3 Responses to Invada Responds to My Record Store Day Post

  • Drain says:

    “Record Store Day rules (especially in the U.S) – clearly state you have to declare your pressing quantity… This is to stop conjecture / guess-work / speculation from the buying public – which in turn is meant to stop ‘flippers’.”

    Call me crazy but declaring exactly how many is not going to stop the flippers, but encourage them even more. “Oh there’s a 1000? Need to get on that now!” As opposed to not saying exactly how many there are which leaves it more open to “Eh…maybe I should, maybe I shouldn’t…” I’ve always operated on the principle of “If there is the word ‘limited’ attached to something released by an artist whom I respect, then it’s time to drop everything and get it now.” So if that’s how I’ve done things, then it stands to reason a flipper does this x10 as there is no band loyalty it’s “buy it all now!” So maybe in the future they could say just all releases are limited without specifying exactly the quantity and see if that stops future speculation. Of course, flippers should be aware that just because something is limited doesn’t mean it’s going to worth much in the future any way or if anybody will even be stupid enough to pay those inflated costs.

    Case in point; when Dark Shadows had a complete series release a few years ago; while some fans were lucky enough to actually pre-order it, there were flippers who bought quite a few and the DVD was completely sold out even before the release date. Come the day of release, if you were a fan of the show who didn’t know about it being released until recently or were not able to pre-order it…you couldn’t buy it because no one anywhere had it in stock. What did the flippers do? Turn around and start selling what they had online at ridiculously inflated prices; one I remember being at least $3000. Who in their right mind as a fan is going to spend $3000+? I didn’t because I’ll be damned if I’ll give some greedy bastard the satisfaction of giving them that much for doing nothing. But I agree with you, things have got to change or else there’s going to a burst…but I don’t see things changing.

  • This underlines why RSD is such a gamble for the labels. It is obviously very difficult to quantify demand ahead of time. Print too few copies and you piss off the consumers. Print too many, and you are stuck with overstock, which is not financially feasible for these tiny outfits.

  • Eric Schulz says:

    I completely understand the issues affecting a small label trying to promote a product like Invada released. But the emerald vinyl “Wizard of Oz” soundtrack? If it were just a vinyl release of the original soundtrack, fine; but colored vinyl, at least one previously unreleased track AND the 75th anniversry of one of the most iconic classic American movies? That is creating a demand for the LP not only for the true collectors but for the flippers. I agree with Drain…I don’t find any desire to spend an exorbitant price for something that has an artificially inflated value just because someone is greedy.

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