For the last few months, the Good Records Recordings website has been an ominous black screen with "11-11-11" displayed in white in the middle. In a way it's served as the answer to the question we've been asking Tim DeLaughter, the label's owner and leader of Tripping Daisy, Polyphonic Spree, and, more recently, Preteen Zenith, ever since we learned back in January this year that the label would be reformatted.
The question was "when?" And it has always been met with a vague "soon" from DeLaughter and Chris Penn, partial owner and manager at the Good Records retail store on Greenville Avenue. What we do know is that it represents a big sea change for the label, and really it's indicative of where the music industry has been headed for some time.
"We are basically creating a collectors community where you can draw a comparison to comic books, but we're releasing singles," DeLaughter said back in January.
This morning, after pulling an all-nighter in preparation for the label's relaunch, DeLaughter and Penn went up to A&R Records to begin manufacturing the label's first batch of vinyl, which includes singles from Pilot Drift, Sweet Lee Morrow, Binary Sunrise, New Fumes, Preteen Zenith and Polyphonic Spree. During a break from pouring color into the vinyl, he got on the phone and echoed his earlier sentiment. Only this time he had more details.
"It's a relaunch of the label as a digital provider along with focusing on vinyl," he says. "We are going to give people the choice of either having the MP3, the FLAC [an MP3-like audio format] or a seven-inch vinyl."
If all goes according to DeLaughter's plan, each month will see a batch of new releases from the label, including one from Grandaddy's Jason Lytle, who is on board to release a single through the label next month, and Tripping Daisy's never before officially released "Tops Off Our Heads," which will be available on 12-inch vinyl tomorrow. But they won't be just your ordinary vinyl releases. Good Records Recordings is trying to appeal to geeky collectors.
"We want to bring back the integrity of the limited edition," says DeLaughter.
As such, in addition to the standard black vinyl format, each single will be available in color with artwork done by the bands in tandem with Nevada Hill, a Denton based art designer and screen printer. These releases will be limited, and when the print is finished, the screen will be destroyed.
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There are plenty of other quirks involved too. When sampling the music on the website, instead of staring at the little blue circle on iTunes, you'll watch a video made by the band. "Each band makes their own videos per single," DeLaughter says. "They have to make one for every single song."
And, should you decide to purchase one of the singles, it will come with a surprise, untitled B-side. "The label will be blank with a line through it and you can name it whatever you want," he says.
All of this is an attempt by Good Records Recordings to survive during a time when making money selling music is nearly impossible. Ironically, as we're fully submerged in the so-called digital age, DeLaughter and company are looking to the way labels sold records in the '50s and '60s for their saving grace. It just might work too. The singles format calls for lower overhead costs and quicker turnaround, and it also causes artists to think on their feet.
And tomorrow, to which their website so menacingly points, they will be fully committed. "We've gone through the ringer to make this happen," says DeLaughter before returning to work. "It's finally come to fruition."