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on the subject of digital downloads

On the subject of digital downloads:

For years I've maintained that bands are ultimately the owners of their art and I'm only in charge of doing a vinyl version of it, so it's not really my place to do digital distribution. I feel comfortable using streaming to help promote the records but I feel weird stepping on a band's toes and stepping outside my lane by selling digitally. I've always maintained that bands really ought to handle this on their own, however they please...even if that means not doing anything for it at all.

But in the last year, as I expanded the mailorder side of things, I've put a lot of thought into 'what it is people actually want'. Maybe I am just old and old-fashioned. Maybe my way of viewing things here isn't the best. Maybe, I'm actually doing a disservice to bands by not offering what it is people actually want from them. Can I really tell everyone "I'm doing the best I can for you" if I don't change and adapt to the times, and offer what people actually want?

This is assuming digital downloads are what people actually want. I actually have no clue. I've never downloaded something in that context, and I normally use my own actions as a benchmark for reasonable expectations.

Nonetheless, I decided I'd start offering digital downloads for sale. Which is not punk, to me. So I wondered, how I can make this fit within my vision of punk? And what's the best use of this potential revenue stream? Because I don't necessarily NEED the extra money...the label's been trucking along for 12 years without it.

In my eyes, the most punk thing to do is to donate the money to something that helps make the world a better place. That seems intuitive to me. And I know I want to donate it to something in Baltimore, because that's the city nearest and dearest to my heart. But I don't know anything about the non-profit scene or anything like that.

But thankfully, I have friends that do. And one group that came up from multiple people I talked to, was the Baltimore Transgender Alliance. Actually....I don't know that much about them LOL. But I know my friends have worked closely with them and speak highly of them, and for me, that's enough. So that's where all the revenue will go, in the hopes that this becomes a positive way of utilizing our work.

Maybe it amounts to something, maybe nothing, maybe nobody buys a thing. That's fine. I have no expectations. But if it does result in some money flowing into a project that knows how to use it to make my stupid shitty city I love and hate so much into a better couldn't be better.

I tried to be sensitive to when my friends are selling their own digital downloads, and of course the out-of-print stuff is still available for free. But the currently available titles are now available to be downloaded and slapped into your IPod for maximum convenience in your life. Hope you enjoy it!!