The Rise of the Independent Music Industry After Punk
Soul Jazz Records
Do It Yourself charts the rise of the independent music industry after punk – from the hundreds of bands and tiny labels that sprung up with like-minded ideals, to the network of shops, manufacturers, studios, printers etc, all connected via a loose network of record distributors that would help define independent music over the following thirty years. Beginning with The Buzzcocks’ ‘Spiral Scratch’ EP released in early 1977, on the newly formed New Hormones label, in Manchester, it soon seemed that every town in Britain had its own music scene complete with bands, small labels, record shops and studios. Directly influenced by the ideals of Punk - self-determination, freedom of expression, etc –as much as the music meant that these bands were interested in alternatives to the status quo in managing their careers. This meant finding new ways of getting their music heard outside of the mainstream music industry. It also meant new ways of making music away from the traditional guitar, bass, drums and vocals line-up of rock bands. The reasons for these two factors would be sometimes practical (they couldn’t get signed/they couldn’t play) and sometimes ideological. Pivotal to the development of the scene was the Rough Trade Records shop run by music fan Geoff Travis. Geoff Travis: “The first records I remember bands bringing into the shop were The Buzzcocks’ ‘Spiral Scratch’, Scritti Politti ‘Skank Bloc Bologna’ and The Desperate Bicycles.” Rough Trade Records had started as a second-hand record shop. In 1977 customers began to bring their own newly pressed-up records into the shop, Travis soon began distributing the records to a handful of like-minded shops throughout the country. This developed into a network and bands soon found they could sell 1000s of their own records with no marketing, management, agents etc. At first the records were all coming from people bringing in music to Rough Trade in London, but soon new bands would turn up at their local store with their locally-pressed record and this led to the emergence of a music scene in each town. All the bands on this record released their music independently, either themselves or on a small label. Some went on to be incredibly famous and others didn’t. This record celebrates all factions and discusses the social and economic conditions that allowed independent music to thrive in the years to follow up to the present day.