People are telling me that we are in a dying business. I do not believe that our business is dying, I do think it's changing. The music business is a phoenix and like a chameleon, it wears the colors of what it lives with.
I am 83. I grew up in England and in the '30s I spent Saturdays with my dad in the EMI studios at Abbey Road where we recorded on clockwork driven machines. My job was to "keep my eyes on the ball". The ball was a 70 pound, brass ball bigger than my head. This was wound up into a cavity in the ceiling. The ball came down at a steady rate and the musicians had to complete the song before it touched the floor.
We've come a long way since, 78's on 10 inchers, 45's on 7 inchers, and 33's on 12 inchers. The record business was military bands, classical, dance, stage, and pop. In the 50's Sepia records became R&B, C&W, became Rock n Roll, and Gypsies who extemporized gave us jazz.
I came to America in 1951; permanently in 1953. I was a songwriter in New York City; photography was my hobby. I supported myself taking pictures of desks.
I became A&R for Herald Records. During this time I had 18 gold records all R&B. We used to make some collectables; made 500 seven inch in color. The Five Satins, "In Still of the Nite", sold over 3 million and never was on the charts. The 500 colored are probably worth $1000 each today. I had an email from a collector two years ago telling me he had found a "Lightnin' Hopkins" seven for $500. Lightnin' used to call me on the phone and say "Mr. Herald, please wire me $'s to Western Union", someplace. We never had a permanent location on our artists in those days. Most got royalties via Western Union, or in person when they recorded.
At Herald/Ember, I invented the compilation LP. There was a black deejay, Jack Holmes, in Norfolk, Virginia. He weighed about 300 pounds. Jack had a bathroom problem and frequently had to put on a transcription disc and take a 20 minute break. He complained to me he would lose listeners. In those days radio used 16 speed transcription disks to play an hour long show. On the train to New York after visiting with Jack, I thought about putting all my hits on one LP-"Herald the Beat"-. I made 500 for deejays and got myself a huge amount of air play. It was not uncommon for a deejay to call me and chat for 20 minutes while he played my record. Some deejays played both sides and took long breaks. Many in the industry laughed at me putting more than 2 hits on one LP. But it seemed to me everybody climbed on the bandwagon putting out Golden Oldies, Bucket of Gold, and Blast from the Past.
The music business used to thrive on technology. We thought portability and cassettes would end the sale of records- it did not. Records sold in places not reached before. But, Digital, has caused a hiccup.
Mistakes, have always contributed to collectability. "Mutiny on the Bounty" soundtrack is a most sought after LP. RCA made errors on the reverse LP cover and this is called a recall. Some radio stations still had copies long after the recall and collectors tracked them down. I have heard $1500 for that LP.
Collectability brings me to Mystic Records. I started Mystic after having been involved with 41 gold and platinumrecords. Early Mystic was 300 runs in color to make them collectable. I changed 45 to 33 and called them "SuperSevens" and launched unknown groups. Today these seven inchers are highly collectable, as intended. I am releasing the sevens and LP's in very limited runs to keep the collectability growing. Hence thirty years later, Mystic is a complete collectable label. Originally, all the groups were unknowns and all the "imaginary" areas like "Nardcore" and "Slimey Valley" created by Mystic LP's have become legendry and collectable too.
I used my compilation to put many groups on LP's and launched a dozen groups at a time. I even put 40 bands on one LP and these 40 bands has one minute each to introduce themselves.
Those who have collected Mystic from way back will recall we made shaped records and picture discs. We may not be doing shapes and pictures discs again, but we are carefully re-releasing the "old school" catalog.
In 2010, we made a white vinyl 500 run of Nardcore, Battalion of Saints, Government Issue, and El Duce Mentors. As we work our way through the "old school" catalog, occasionally, we will have a guest. This year it is "Burning Sons" and we welcome these veterans joining us.
Note that we are re-releasing some 25 year old jackets with a repressed LP. Keep an eye on our "Vault" or ask "Info"; www.mysticrecordhq.com
Last LP release with a 25 year old jacket was The Mentors, "Get Up and Die". Formerly a ValuPak... it included a free SuperSeven live from San Francisco. We added the live recording and an interview with EL Duce... when we ran out of jackets... there was still a demand so we made 300 with silk screen jackets.
Latest silk screen jacket was on the Best of RKL... we found 25 red and 25 blue vinyl... these have either a red jacket or blue
jacket... latest finds include an LP from Agression and the comp "Copulation". A couple of boxes without the jackets... these two will have silk screen jackets... limited to under 50 copies of each.
The next limited release on Mystic will be the comp "WE GOT POWER"... we have found a hundred original jackets and we are pressing 300 LP's... these will be pressed in green iridescent vinyl... the very first Commercial LP's to be pressed in this vinyl... 200 will be in silk screen jackets. There will be 25 Test Pressings. Years ago we only made 5 Tests and these have become highly collectable. Today we make 25 for the collectors in keeping with our promise to make all of Mystic collectable.
Even though some Mystic groups have become very well known, we have been preserving their rarity by pressing only 300 copies a year. We are now embarking on preserving every Mystic record ever released via downloading on The Orchard. Due to the fact that Mystic was all recorded analog and on tape, we can preserve a lot of the "Old School" sound.
www.theorchard.comis world wide and linked to major downloading sites. The reason this occurred is the ever increasing emails we receive from different part of the world telling us about records we released over thirty years ago... we cannot re-release every old record... metal parts are still costly, but... we will release collectable vinyl... some early sevens are selling for over $200 and are scheduled for release. Hey Taxi and Aryan Disgrace are in the works.
We are obviously moving more and more to internet connecting and selling. We will always have back in our minds that Mystic is still introducing the world to American young people who want to be heard and wish you to know how they want their world... we recorded 500 bands and have released 300 bands... we still have 200 voices waiting to be heard... we still have unreleased Bad Religion, Americas Hardcore... waiting to be released for collectors.