BEST LOCAL RECORD LABEL - 2008
Anyone who insists that physical product is dead in the record industry needs to be put in a home. Sure, mere mundane copies are now worthless. But—as Trent Reznor demonstrated so brilliantly in March when the signed, limited edition of Nine Inch Nails' Ghosts I-IV sold out in a day, grossing him $750,000—the minute you turn a copy into an artifact, people are willing to pay for it. Like local kindred spirits James Lindbloom (Roaratorio) and Matthew St.-Germaine (Freedom From), De Stijl founder Clint Simonson has been working the artifact angle for years. Even without a NIN to bolster his roster, the lanky Minneapolitan has yet to lose money on a release...and he has dozens under his belt, mostly vinyl editions of 100 to 250, all beautifully and distinctively packaged, all by people you've probably never heard of unless you're into experimental music or the freakier end of the folk spectrum. One exception—prescient Minneapolis rocker Michael Yonkers—provided a foot in the door for the CD licensing deal Simonson cut with Sub Pop last year. He's even finally got a website now (like he needs one). Take that, Universal!