Friday, March 27, 2009
The rise of the supermarket labels
Question: I remember reading in a terroizer interview that dig once said that unlike century media and a couple of other labels earache avoided becoming a supermarket label. what would you class as a supermarket label? and also do you honesly think that earache has avoided that classification being as a label you have signed a broad section of bands to cater to different metal fans tastes? From:
Answer: The first time I ever heard the phrase "Supermarket Label" was when talking to Robert Kampf, he described the ethos of the label he founded- Century Media- as a supermarket label, ie not being typecast or pigeonholed into one type or metal.Its not a derogatory term, quite the contrary, it meant that CM could from the very outset feel comfortable getting involved with a wide spectrum of metal and rock bands.From brutal deathcore to power metal, thru re-issues of thrash legends to glitzy female fronted rock, even odd encursions into nu metal and screamo, CM do it with aplomb and are hugely successful at it.
Earache started out with no such broadminded aspirations- we were a purists delight, an extreme music label for the first 5 years at any rate, and I'd bet our first 100 releases were as consistently extreme as any other metal label's output you care to compare us to. This singlemindedness of purpose is what defined the early label in many fans eyes. Earache never succumbed to the temptations to branch out- even Peaceville formed a sub label early on, for female pop artist Kay Field, which sunk without trace.We never succumbed to lite alternative rock like say Metal Blade's massive selling Goo Goo Dolls.
Underground labels which are new mostly specialise in one style or another, to gain the attention of the record buying public, so for CM to widen their outlook so early on, was a radical step actually.
Earache nowadays is way more open minded to all forms of Metal & Rock than it was, and the supermarket label idea is the sensible way forward for labels of our size, we embrace the ethos,because 1) we want to stay in business and 2) we realise Century Media were effectively right all along.