Can you imagine a business in which most of the investments prove to be bad? That was the record business before the collapse—the few massively successful acts were supporting the many who weren’t exactly failures. So, in effect, Robert Palmer’s sales funded the Pogues, and Madonna’s income funded Randy Newman’s idiosyncratic records. This system of corporate arts funding, however wacky, held up until the foundations began to crumble.
Keep on pressin’ chicago-reader: The making of four local record labels, from jazz/improv experimenters to hardcore punk documenters, garage-scuzz heathens to electro/hip-hop cultivators | Plus: The minds behind Drag City, Thrill Jockey, and more explain, “This is how I’d run a label.”