Touch & Go Closing Distribution Arm, Laying Off Staff

Feb 18th, 2009 // 11 Comments

An update on the fate of Touch & Go, the Chicago indie that was rumored to be closing up shop earlier today: It’s cutting staff and closing its distribution service (where it worked with labels like Merge and Kill Rock Stars to help get their albums into stores), and will retrench to focus on the business of being a label. The full statement from label head Corey Rusk (via Greg Kot) after the jump.

“It is with great sadness that we are reporting some major changes here at Touch and Go Records. Many of you may not be aware, but for nearly 2 decades, Touch and Go has provided manufacturing and distribution services for a select yet diverse group of other important independent record labels. Titles from these other labels populate the shelves of our warehouse alongside the titles on our own two labels, Touch and Go Records, and Quarterstick Records.

“Unfortunately, as much as we love all of these labels, the current state of the economy has reached the point where we can no longer afford to continue this lesser known, yet important part of Touch and Go’s operations. Over the years, these labels have become part of our family, and it pains us to see them go. We wish them all the very best and we will be doing everything we can to help make the transition as easy as possible.

“Touch and Go will be returning to its roots and focusing solely on being an independent record label. We’ll be busy for a few months working closely with the departing labels and scaling our company to an appropriate smaller size after their departure. It is the end of a grand chapter in Touch and Go’s history, but we also know that good things can come from new beginnings.”

Kot’s blog has a list of labels that worked with Touch & Go.

Chicago indie powerhouse Touch and Go cuts distribution service, staff [Turn It Up]

  1. Anonymous

    So, was Touch & Go the exclusive distributor for any of those labels?

    That is to say, how bad is this bad news?

  2. baconfat

    Sayeth Kot:

    The move could drastically hamper the ability of these labels to get their new releases into retail outlets in a timely manner, and could affect their ability to stay solvent during the current economic downturn.

    Not every indie store can go direct with every label, as it makes for expensive accounting. Using Touch & Go as a one-stop shop for these labels is very convenient for a lot of indie retailers, who might have trouble stocking these labels in the future.

  3. Halfwit

    But hey… everyone will just make the money back by touring, right?


  4. Halfwit

    Oh… by the f’ing way:

    hypebot – silent
    Cory Doctorow – silent


  5. indiefolkforever

    Sad as it is, I wonder what percentage of these records’ overall sales were physical vs. digital these days; and even within physical, how much was mail order/merch table vs. traditional brick and mortar? Moves like this make me think the expense of distribution to the ever-shrinking pool of indie retail is no longer especially viable.

  6. RaptorAvatar

    I’m glad that the label side will survive. I think the worst hit is going to be on a lot of the boutique-ier labels who were distributing through them and staked a lot of their brand on having a unique physical product. I’m optimistic that they’re going to use this as an opportunity to rearrange themselves and figure out the scale on which the indie economy can still work in 2009 as opposed to treating it as a death knell. By all accounts, these are smart committed people; I hope they can pull it off.

  7. Maura Johnston

    @Halfwit: Now there’s a shock.

  8. ens3000

    For what its worth, Hypebot:


  9. marahe

    @indiefolkforever: traditionally, it’s about 25% digital – at the most. touch and go did digital distribution as well.

  10. Dan Gibson

    The insightful commentary on Artists Paid: []

  11. Anonymous

    Somehow I hope this makes Corey Rusk feel free to tell Gibby Haynes to eat it

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