In yet another sign of the trying economic times, our sources report that the venerable and much-respected Touch & Go Records plans to announce the closing of their distribution arm. We've heard no word yet from T&G to verify this (we first reported this today as a rumor, which has now been confirmed by Pitchfork), nor what this will mean for the bands on the label itself, but considering they distribute such high-quality labels as Drag City, Estrus, Kill Rock Stars, Jade Tree and Merge among others, the ripple effect in the indie community would be significant.
AS FIRST REPORTED: Again, we have not confirmed this yet, so we post it with a question mark -- as did Time Out Chicago, who claims both the label and distribution company will cease operations -- but we will be watching Pitchfork this week as they are sure to break the news about their hometown label and distribution company.
UPDATE: The label will exist on a catalog-only basis. The Crystal Antlers' Tentacles, slated for release on April 7, will still come out. They also plan to go through with a series of Jesus Lizard reissues in August, as well as a Jesus Lizard 7" box set release for Record Store Day. Sadly, the entire label staff of 20 has been let go.
Statement from Corey Rusk, Touch & Go Founder:
“It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.
“Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.
“Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings.”
Aside from being a great label, Touch and Go distribution has always been a perfect fit for other labels as they deal directly with retail stores in both the U.S. and Canada. The full list of labels that would be left looking for a new distribution home by this closure include:
5, Rue Christine
In The Fishtank
Kill Rock Stars
Le Tigre Recordings
Post Present Medium
Warm Electronic Recordings