Various Artists ~ Vox Pop

News like this is just so damn sad, and has become sadly common.  After a decade in the industry and over 70 releases, Make Mine Music has closed its doors, another victim of downloading and declining sales.  This makes the fact that Vox Pop began as a stream and ended up as a free download incredibly ironic.  epic45‘s “Field and Stream” is perhaps the most melancholy track on offer here, operating both as a eulogy and as a celebration that the good things in life will still be going on, albeit elsewhere.  July Skies, Library Tapes, Portal and a host of artists from across the roster are joined by friends and pseudonyms for this final farewell gathering.  Looking over the label’s discography provides a poignant rush of memories; for this reviewer, the fondest are of epic45’s May Your Heart Be the Map (MMM031), Plinth/Textile Ranch‘s “The Rest, I Leave to the Poor” (MMM051) and James Brewster‘s As a Hovering Insect Mass Breaks Your Fall (MMM062).  After having made so many contributions to the label, it’s a shame to see that Yellow6 is not found here, but enough attendees are present to cover his absence.  When they signed on, all of these artists were participating in something revolutionary: while they would make and promote the discs themselves, they would also receive all of the profits.  Together, they were able to do more than they would have been able to do alone.  Now, they’re on their own again.  July Skies and epic45’s closing piece, “Requiem for a Village”, is a pure reflection of its title: the family member standing at the door of the funeral home, shaking each hand and thanking everyone for coming.  (Richard Allen)

Make Mine Music’s tearful goodbye

One comment

  1. Many thanks for the article and the kind words. I should add that perhaps the major factor for the label’s closure was simply the lack of time. I’ve overseen the day-to-day running the label over its ten year tenure, but as a parent and with my job as a teacher, I just don’t have the time to commit to either writing music or running the label as it deserves to be run. Many of the artists started their own labels to run alongside MMM – Auetic, Distant Noise, Editions 6, Guidance, Second Language, Wayside & Woodland – and these will pick up where we left off. Other artists, like myself, have pretty much retired from music. The downloads and dwindling sales did have an impact, but this was probably considerably less than with other labels, because of the way that the label was run (no overheads, no staff to pay, short runs of some releases etc). At the same time, it did often feel that the releases and our way of working weren’t valued when people shared new releases online without our consent, thus taking money directly from the artists and genuinely jeopardizing our ability to release future CDs and vinyl. Downloads were something that we consciously steered clear of for a while, but eventually accepted as a fact of life. In time, we released several free download releases ourselves, as a thank you to those who did value our music. This was the spirit with which “Vox Pop” was made available for free alongside the limited edition CD version.

    Very best wishes,
    Scott Sinfield (Make Mine Music, Portal, Ringinglow)

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