This is a Recording

Local labels are redefining the way to make music

Given the loyalty of his customer base and the obscurity of his roster, which includes non-household names like Black Vial, Double Leopards, and local guitar visionary Michael Yonkers, Simonson pretty much deals in instant collectibles. He has no Web presence, save for blurbs on the Forced Exposure site, and the e-mail updates Fusetron--a tiny but formidable label/mail-order service run by former Minneapolitan Chris Freeman.

Simonson does use other distributors, though. And while he has no interest in releasing CDs himself, he's not averse to letting others do it for him. Right now, he's negotiating with Sub Pop, who want to license Microminature Love, DeStijl's long-lost Michael Yonkers record from 1969, for CD release.

Typically enough for someone who does what he does out of love, he's passing on the profit. "Normally the label and the artist would split the licensing fee," he says. "But Yonkers is a friend, and he's living at the poverty level. So I'm gonna give him all the money."

"People want something they can hold in their hands": Innova Recordings' Chris Strouth with the merchandise
Richard Fleischman
"People want something they can hold in their hands": Innova Recordings' Chris Strouth with the merchandise

Spoken like a true indie.

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