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What Happened to Side One Dummy Records?

Discussion in 'Article Discussion' started by Melody Bot, Mar 22, 2018.

  1. Melody Bot

    Your friendly little forum bot. Staff Member

    This article has been imported from for discussion. All of the forum rules still apply.

    Dan Ozzi, writing at Noisey, looks at the collapse of Side One Dummy Records:

    Many SideOneDummy artists who spoke to Noisey were reluctant to comment publicly on their situations since their futures with the label are currently being determined. Some have pre-existing contract renewal options under evaluation, others are in the process of obtaining rights to their back catalog from the label, and those with recent or future releases are working with the label on promotional strategies going forward. And since SideOneDummy has largely been home to small to mid-level acts that largely don’t employ lawyers or managers, most have been left to navigate negotiations on their own, and lack the business acumen to do so.

  2. I’ve read this article a few times and I guess I still can’t figure out why this label had to restructure
  3. I’m still trying to understand (I know I’ll never understand) how Side One went from almost signing Against Me to letting go everyone in a blink of an eye
    SamLevi11, ECV, swboyd and 1 other person like this.
  4. Excal101


    The gist I'm getting is that it was financial and no one really wants to say so. I've worked at smaller companies and there's a very fine line between doing well at their size and being in a very unfavorable position because the upside is never that big. One good deal goes south and it changes the financial dynamics drastically. What surprises me is the label has been around a long time so you'd assume they'd have a safety net of funds for the hard times, but it seems like they did not from what I can interpret here. Its good to see they're trying to take care of the people they had to lay off through severance and help getting a new job though. Could easily just have said 'k bye.' if there were no contractual stipulations about severance.
    SuNDaYSTaR, skogsraet and jols like this.
  5. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    this whole thing will probably be the most consequential thing to happen to the scene this year. this was THE label, beloved and critically acclaimed, and they got rid of it all out of nowhere
  6. Oh yeah you’re probably totally right - I mean Jason and I went through it with fucking spin media - not entirely similar to this but I get it and IT STINKS
    spencpants and alkalinexandy like this.
  7. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    i mean, we're already seeing a lot of the fallout from this. mom jeans is down a level, kississippi hasn't even found the right label and they are just self-releasing for now on a record that would have been huge. there's a bunch of other bands that i was sure s1d would sign that now i don't see where they might end up. some label has to fill the gap, i'm just not sure it exists yet
    alkalinexandy and swboyd like this.
  8. swboyd

    are we still lucky to be here? Prestigious

    What baffles me is that, from an outsider's perspective, they had a pretty good year in 2017 - new records by Iron Chic, Rozwell Kid, Smith Street Band, AJJ and some good signings with Kississippi and Mom Jeans. And they had good stuff in the works in the pipeline. There must have been some serious issues behind the scenes for them to take drastic issues that quickly, and it seems like those issues weren't communicated to the rest of the staff by the way this article is written.

    This is probably all just baseless speculation, but it still came out of nowhere like all of y'all are saying.
    KidLightning likes this.
  9. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    there isn't a single person who had any expectations it might happen that day. none of the bands, nobody in the loop. it was entirely out of thin air and one of the biggest shockers i've ever seen in the community
    Drew Beringer likes this.
  10. swboyd

    are we still lucky to be here? Prestigious

    it also seems like sib and/or armstrong just woke up one day and said, "we need to go in a different direction, and we need to do it NOW).

    at least they seem to be helping those people they laid off. three months severance is actually pretty decent compared to a lot of layoff packages i've heard of.
  11. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    oh yeah, i mean, from an actual business standpoint they're being very good at helping, it's not like they screwed the people like other companies might. like, they genuinely cared about these people

    but at the same time, these people thought they were part of something big. a community. the shuttering of this label basically cut off part of the community. it's something that looks past the business side. a few people putting everything in their life to help a bunch of great bands get recognition and making a really great scene? i'd be bummed if i was told one day "whoops, sorry, we're done here"
  12. jorbjorb

    7 rings

    That sucks for the label and all bands involves. Not too sure what happened exactly to cause this though.
  13. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    Apparently I wasn't paying attention and didn't know this had happened to the label in January. Although now that I read it, their facebook profile is completely different - as I used to receive a lot of push notifications of them streaming their artists' life sets, or other information about their tours or new singles/releases.

    It's a real shame, as many of my favourite records of the past few years were from them (Astronautalis, Rosenstock, Smith Street Band, PUP). Every few years there seems to be one label that really pushes the right buttons for me, before SideOne it was Run for Cover, and before that No Sleep. I guess going all the way back to Drive Thru. Guess it just highlights the ebbs and flows of indie labels (and my music tastes).
  14. jols

    Trusted Prestigious

    We're not really getting the WHY that was hoped for in reading this. I understand that Dan can't write an article like this based in speculation, so I'm not faulting him.

    I guess they needed to shift all resources into those that produce immediate revenue (merch and represses for established bands who have gone on to be "big") instead of continuing with all these small bands we love that provide benefits to a label like S1D over the long term.

    I don't think the decision could have been quite as instant as people are speculating, as Jamie said nobody was telling her to plan out the calendar.
  15. monokit

    master average

    Very sad. A lot of people really jocked this label over recent years as they transitioned from more straightforward punk rock to silly college rock where the audiences are pretty transient in their tastes. All of the people I know who were really into their current roster also happen to be the same people who loved EZ Core in 2008 but hide their FYS tats at shows cause that's not really their style anymore. Maybe they should have stuck with artists that helped characterize what they were. A lot of those bands still have an audience because they're not just copping some outfit. Good songs are timeless like that. Iron Chic is really good and I think they're going to be around for a long time but most of the bands they currently tout are pretty substanceless. My own armchair analysis aside, I feel bad for the employees and various stakeholders (sans the audiences that don't really care about music beyond its capacity to be a fashion item they're into for a few minutes). Hopefully, if they can restructure they're more careful about what they curate.
    jorbjorb likes this.
  16. Wtf.
    Zilla and KidLightning like this.
  17. abear182


    So what band's are still on the label? The ones listed on the website?
  18. SamLevi11

    Trusted Prestigious

    If this was financial, I can't help but feeling like signing Against Me! would have been high risk yes, but also really high reward.

    Shame, this label were fantastic. As someone said, every few years a label rises to the top. 2013-14 it was No Sleep, 2015-16 was Run For Cover, and 17 was great for Side One. Wonder who will step up next?
  19. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    sounds like you have boring music taste
    honestly, a bunch of those probably still won't be. it's just not official, but most of the bands they've put out records for in the last several years likely won't put out another record on the label
  20. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    topshelf and tiny engines have been consistently better, yet smaller, for the last 5+ years
    Hazelnutsack and Drew Beringer like this.
  21. KyleK

    Let's get these people moving faster! Supporter

    When I mentioned those three in my original post, I wasn't meaning to imply that they were the best three over that period, but that they were ones that for specific periods were releasing music that really resonated with me personally (and I think others too), and then may have lost profile (for varying reasons; finances, roster moving onto bigger labels, etc.). There are plenty of other labels that have consistently been releasing music I really like, Topshelf and Tiny Engines definitely being two of them.
    cwhit likes this.
  22. monokit

    master average

    Sounds like your taste of music changes from one regrettable phase to another....
  23. cwhit

    still emperor emo Prestigious

    idk man, jeff rosenstock of BTMI! seems like the epitome of trend hopping college rock
    Drew Beringer likes this.
  24. swboyd

    are we still lucky to be here? Prestigious

    Easycore has always sucked bro. :)
  25. spencpants

    Can I pet your dog? Prestigious

    Same, I worked at PureVolume years ago. I thought Jason might have been our new intern when I saw him the first time, just 'cause it was new and sort of unannounced (and because he's babyfaced).