Friday, 19 December 2008

Wham!

My head's spinning. The clock has only just crept past 11 and I've already looked at more spreadsheets of numbers than I would hope to in a whole year. Basic maths and Excel formula's are no problem, but when there are little bits of money flying left, right and centre it sometimes gets a little more confusing than this old head can handle. And this is just for one release. Plenty more where that came from, and then it's on to the daddy of them all: The big, bad, tax return!

The Pinnacle saga is still dragging on. Late last week Shellshock signed a new deal with SRD (Southern Records) which means that our records will be back out and in shops exactly as before (good news, for any of you still buying from the highstreet) and the financial issues are being addressed at the moment, hopefully with a welcome resolution to follow. Its been a cause for constant stress lately and for someone as impatient as me has resulted in more new grey hairs than nights of solid sleep.

During this difficult time I've been following news of labels packing up their belongings and departing the sinking Pinnacle ship, leaving them with very few clients and the chance of a buy-out seeming more and more unlikely with every passing day. How's anyone going to make any money from a distributor with no stock? Since the announcement of administration some two weeks ago we've had a number of rival distro's contact us offering their services, which although flattering does worry me slightly, not for our sake, we're ok where we are, but for the sake of others who are being forced into making a change.

Pinnacle carried over 400 labels. 92 of those left immediately and I'd imagine a lot more have since followed. Lets assume that by the end of this year three quarters of Pinnacle's clientbase has left, and the rest are either undecided or simply giving up. That means 300 labels are moving home. How many options do they have? The big distributors are already packed to the rafters and the small ones are limited by their available resources, yet judging from the emails we've been receiving, are keen to pitch in and help where possible by picking up as many new labels as they can. That's awesome. It's great to see so many people willing to help and you have to applaud the sense of community spirit, however, my worries lie further down the road. In 6 months time, when these small companies have doubled (or even trebled) their roster but cashflow dictates that they can't hire any new staff until some of these new labels begin to sell records, how do they cope? How do they handle the workload without (a) a loss of quality in their service? (b) some labels being kicked off of the roster and once again being left without a means to reach their customers? Or (c) going into administration themselves and taking everyone with them? Maybe there's more to it than I realise. Perhaps there are revenue streams and potential to become profitable in ways I haven't even considered. Or maybe, just maybe, things are going to get worse before they get better.


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