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QRD #71 - Label Owner Follow-Up Interviews
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Label Owner Interviews:
Radical Matters Editions/Label
Cohort Records
I Had An Accident
Unread Records & Tapes
Little Helpers
Three One G
Second Motion Entertainment
Badman Recording Co.
Autumnal Release
Silber Records
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Label Owner Follow-Up Interview with Stephen H Judge of Second Motion Entertainment
March 2015

Name: Stephen H Judge
Label: Second Motion Entertainment, Inc
Websites: www.secondmotionrecords.comwww.schoolkidsrecords.com
Original Label Owner Interview with QRD

QRD – Any major changes to the label or your general outlook on running a label since last time?

Stephen – No changes to my outlook other than the music business is looking up.  Vinyl sales are great & I am very excited to see it coming back so strong. I am not doing the label as much right now because I am focused mostly on my retail store, Schoolkids Records which I bought in 2012. I worked there ten years before I left to go to Yep Roc Records/Redeye Distribution for seven years.  We have been in business 41 years & I just opened a second store in Durham, NC last week.

QRD – How do you feel labels are more & less useful to artists now than they were five years ago?

Stephen – There is always a need for labels, it just depends on the artists’ needs (financial, administrative, distribution, etc).  Distribution is a key piece, if you don’t have distribution you are not really in the game. & that’s not just digital, I mean physical distribution to mom & pop stores & selling vinyl.

QRD – There are a lot less record stores than their used to be.  How has that effected your model for releasing music?

Stephen – That is changing, record stores are the centerpiece of the industry & there are more & more opening every day. My store is one of the few that survived the bad times of 2000-2005.  Things have changed, digital sales & streaming income factors in, but selling physical music at indie record stores is still the best place to build something that will last. I still rely on that digital check every single month to help me get through, but it’s not really my focus, it’s just another format & avenue to sell music.

QRD – Spotify has become an undeniable force that has reduced download sales while (allegedly) fighting piracy.  In the end what is good or bad about it for you as a label & do you embrace it?

Stephen – I think it’s good, at least there is a revenue stream associated with it & from owning a successful record store I see sales every day from people who discover music on Spotify. So the long term effects of it are hard to account for.  I realize some people are upset at the low rates they get paid & it certainly should be challenged, but for me it’s nothing but positive -- the more avenues to music via revenue &/or helping people discovering music, the better.

QRD – Most labels are making a bit less money than they were a few years ago.  What have you done to lower expenses or find new sources of revenue?

Stephen – Nothing really, I’ve been focused on my retail store, but if I had a more aggressive release schedule, the main areas I would cut would be on manufacturing, trying to keep it thin. Especially with vinyl because it’s much more expensive.

QRD – What social networks are you active on & what ones aren’t worth the time & energy to you?

Stephen – Facebook, Twitter, & Instagram.  They are critical.

QRD – With the rise of social networks & trusted download shops, has your own website become less important than it was a few years ago?

Stephen – Possibly, but I think it’s just used for different things. It’s more for information & helping people find you (your catalog, your location if you are a store, etc.).  So more like a listing in the phonebook, where social media is the every day communication.

QRD – Do you think fan funding (e.g. Kickstarter) is the future, a fad, or an awful thing for the music industry?

Stephen – I think it’s great.  It works well for a lot of people.

QRD – What’s something you leave up to bands to do rather than handling as a label?

Stephen – Touring expenses, recording expenses, & the creative aspect of their music.

QRD – Do you see albums, EPs, or singles more relevant than a few years ago or pretty much in the same place?

Stephen – Singles can be relevant on digital platforms or physically with 7” singles if you have a following that can sustain the costs of that.  EPs I guess can have a place within this, but EPs are always a hard sell. They have never been huge sellers even in the times where music sales boomed.

QRD – Do you have separate release dates for different formats (CD, vinyl, digital download, streaming)?

Stephen – No, it’s critical to keep that the same.

QRD – Anything else?

Stephen – I don’t think so!