Absolutely Kosher Label To Fold


Cites music piracy,
the current state of the economy and a lack of consensus among music lovers.


By Fred Mills


I’ve said it before, and I’ll say it again: the idea is to
have MORE voices, not fewer. While I’ve usually deployed that statement to
refer to the music print media, it also applies to indie record labels. Even
though one might argue in a certain context that there are far too many labels
and not enough quality control – a lot of music gets released prematurely and
indiscriminately – that’s not the case with long-running Berkeley label
Absolutely Kosher, which has been responsible for classic titles from the
Mountain Goats, the Wrens, Xiu Xiu and others over the course of its 13-year


That run comes to an end on Oct. 11, however, when Absolutely
Kosher releases Hard Times from
Canadian band Himalayan Bear. After that, founder/owner Cory Brown will be
shutting the doors of the label.


According to the SF
, the label’s finances have become increasingly shaky, partly due to
the current economic climate and largely due to the internet which has not only
made music piracy commonplace but has also led to a number of record stores and
music magazines to go under. “The decision to stop releasing new records was
made so that [Brown] can focus on repaying debts the label owes.”


“My resolve has been slowly chipped away to the point
where I really am left with no choice here,” Brown told the SFW. “I’d love to continue, but I
can’t…. We’re out of vogue as far as labels go right now. No matter how hard we
try, no matter what publicists we work with, we just seem to be outside of
people’s focus.”


“There’s more variety for more people to find stuff
[with blogs], but that had a really strange effect on consensus. There’s an
incredibly tight consensus on a small group of records, and then very little
consensus on the rest. So it’s great if you’re Neon Indian or somebody like
that … But if you’re not, it becomes exponentially more difficult.”


On the Absolutely Kosher website Brown added, of his
decision, “We should’ve been celebrating the label’s bar mitzvah this
year, but it’s not to be. I wish I could tell you there’s a grand plan, a new
chapter waiting to be written, but the truth is, we’ve been struggling for
years and the only thing on my plate right now is to eliminate our debts and
rejuvenate my spirits.”


Read the entire (depressing) story at the SF Weekly “All Shook Down” blog. Good
luck, Cory – your label will be missed.




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