January 04, 2003

Various Artists "Tiger Style Records Artist Sampler 2002-2003"

Dear prospective indie-label owner,

Hi there, and thank you for showing interest in starting a record label. Congratulations are in order! You've taken a great risk, and I hope that your decision proves successful for you. There's no set pattern for running your record label. Remember, though, that simply having the resources doesn't mean that your records will prove successful, nor should being poor and struggling preclude your label from having future best-sellers.

Instead of pontificating on business structures and philosphical ideas, I'd like to draw your attention to one label in particular, Tiger Style Records. This tiny label has, over the course of its rather brief history (three years this year--happy birthday!) transformed from vanity project to nationally-renowned music buisness "playa." (Yeah, we know they're funded by the evil mega conglomorate business ogre Insound, but please, pay no attention to the man behind the curtain.) Successful and independent and releasing a hell of a lot of great music-- how has this tiny, three-men-and-a-little-kitty-log operation proved so successful?

It's simple, really.

Along with this letter, you were provided a complimentary copy of Tiger Style Record's Artist Sampler 2002-2003. I hope you have taken a few minutes to listen to this record. In fact, if you haven't, please set this letter aside for seventy-eight minutes and take a listen. You might want to get something to eat or drink beforehand. You might want to get a book to read. Maybe turn on your computer, or "log-on" to the internet. I'll wait for you. Promise. I've got to catch up on email, and then I'm going to cruise by my LiveJournal Friends page, so don't worry about me, I'll be fine.

So, did you enjoy it? Good! I knew you would. If you chart the release pattern for Tiger Style, you'll notice a label that constantly changes. From the early years, the label set itself apart with interesting and quiet music from bands like Her Space Holiday, Ida and American Analog Set, to odd art music with Aspera, Libraness, Tristeza, and The Letter E. A great start, indeed, and all of the records were well-received.

But here's what you should notice about Tiger Style Records--they never stand still, and they haven't been caught up in one style of music. "Pigeonholed" is the popular term for what they're avoiding. While they've stayed true to those kinds of styles, they've also added some sensitive, intelligent indie-rock (764-Hero), soft yet tough folk-rock (K), and loud, rough and tough rock music (Lo-Hi, Rye Coalition). They've even invested in releasing two archival records, a compilation by Speedking and a boxed set for no-wave jazz-skronker James Chance. Their future looks good, too, with the post-hardcore screaming of Dead Low Tide, the moody and dark rock of The Dears (both of whom have tracks on the sampler, my friend).

There's no guarantee that your new record label will be successful, my friend, but take a lesson from Tiger Style, and that is release music you love, don't be afraid of crossing genres in the process, and have fun! And hey, if you've liked the sampler, and aren't familiar with their music, I'd recommend you check out some of those fine releases--and if you are familiar with them, pass it on to a friend!

Joseph Kyle
Some indie-rock music-journo type

No comments: