Label Focus - Cherry Red

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					Label Focus - Cherry Red
                                                 Cherry Red’s Best Sellers 1978 - 2008
                                                1        Dead Kennedys                Fresh Fruit For Rotting Vegetables
                                                2.       Various Artists              Pillows and Prayers
                                                3.       Tracey Thorn                 A Distant Shore
                                                4.       Ben Watt                     North Marine Drive
                                                5.       Various                      Burning Ambitions - A History Of Punk
Renowned UK independent
celebrates 30th anniversary                     6        Marc Bolan                   You Scare Me To Death
                                                7        Various Artists              The Is Anfield - Liverpool's FC’s Greatest Hits
In June of this year, it will be 30 years
                                                8        Felt                         Ignite The Seven Cannons
since Cherry Red Records issued their
first single. The company was founded           9        Alien Sex Fiend              Who’s Been Sleeping In My Brain
by Iain McNay (who is still the majority        10       Various Artists              Celtic FC - Hail! Hail! Celtic
shareholder) during the first wave of
punk and was named after a
Groundhogs track. Today their vast               Singles
catalogue comprises around 3,000                1        Dead Kennedys                Too Drunk To Fuck
albums covering virtually every genre of        2        Dead Kennedys                Holiday In Cambodia
music issued on a variety of specialist
                                                3        Dead Kennedys                Kill The Poor
                                                4        Marc Bolan                   You Scare Me To Death
The Early Days                                  5        A Love Supreme               Niall Quinn's Disco Pants
Cherry Red originally grew out of a             6        Everything But The Girl      Night And Day
promotions company which had been               7        Tracey Thorn                 Plain Sailing
putting on gigs in Worcestershire since         8        Felt                         Primitive Painters
1971. By 1978 the decision had been
                                                9        Alien Sex Fiend              Ignore The Machine
taken to form a label and the first
                                                10       Jane                         It's A Fine Day
release was the debut single by local
band The Tights. Bad Hearts/Cracked It
was named Record of the Week in
Record Mirror and the inital pressing of                                                     take an interest in music publishing and
2,000 copies sold out.                                                                       immediately made several successful
Other early releases included a single                                                       signings including Blancmange, Matt
from Destroy All Monsters, a US act                                                          Johnson (The The), Ben Watt, Tracy
comprising members of The Stooges                                                            Thorn and The Go-Betweens. The
and MC5, which was secured for a $500                                                        company’s publishing arm was known
                     advance      and                                                        as Complete Music, but this was sold
                     went on to sell                                                         two years ago.
                     more than 7,000                                                         The label’s A&R activities had expanded
                     copies.                                                                 since the recruitment of Mike Alway and
                        It    was     the                                                    within 18 months Eyeless In Gaza, Felt,
                                             Initial international licensing deals were      The Monochrome Set, The Marine
                                             struck and new album projects included          Girls, Tracey Thorn and Ben Watt
                        B u s i n e s s
                                             releases by the Runaways and the first          among others had all been signed and
                        Unusual album
                                             Dead Kennedys’ album Fresh Fruit For            the label was enjoying consistent
which moved the company to a much
                                             Rotting Vegetables, the recording of            success in the independent chart.
larger scale though. The album pulled
                                             which was funded by Cherry Red via a
together tracks from the leading UK                                                          In December
                                             deal with Caroline Exports. The album
indie labels of the day including Factory,                                                   1982, the
                                             made the Top 40 and has been the
Mute, Rough Trade and Industrial.                                                            company
                                             company’s best sellling title - 28 years
Within weeks of its release it had sold                                                      released one of
                                             since it’s initial release, the album is an
more than 10,000 copies.                                                                     their most well
                                             established         catalogue seller with
Expanding the Company                        average weekly sales in the UK this             known albums.
                                             year fluctuating between 60-100 copies.         Pillows &
Soon the scale of Cherry Red’s                                                               Prayers was a
operations began to expand seriously.        Around this time, the company began to          compilation

Label Focus - Cherry Red
album featuring 17 tracks from artists
such as The Monochrome Set,
Everything But The Girl, Thomas Leer
and the Passage - it retailed at 99p, at
a time when albums were typically
retailing for £4.49-£4.99. It was to
prove a successful experiment - the
album went on to sell more than
120,000 copies.
A Change of Direction
In the early 1990s Iain McNay decided          Big Audio Dynamite at the Town &
to to take the company in a slightly           Country Club on
different direction - the company
                                             Barry Blue and Mud;
continued to sign artists and make new
recordings, but as there were few            Esoteric Recordings - established as
companies specialising in re-issues of       recently as 2007, Esoteric is a label
albums from the 70s and 80s, Cherry          specialising   in   Psychedlic    and          A video download available from
Red began to acquire as many rights as       Progressive Rock from artists such as          the Cherry Red shop
they could from important independent        Daevid Allen, Man and the Keef Hartley
labels. In 1993 the Punk Collectors          Band.                                      channel featuring some of the many
Series was launched which has                                                           hundreds of hours of unique footage of
                                             Other sectors of the business which
subsequently been joined by a                                                           concerts and interviews that the
                                             have thrived in recent years include
Psychobilly, Goth and a ‘British Steel’                                                 company own or control. Featured
                                             Cherry Red Books which was started
metal series.                                                                           artists include Divine, Nico, Cabaret
                                                                   in 1997 with the
                                                                                        Voltaire and Marc Almond
The company has always had a keen                                  publication     of
interest in football (they are current                             Indie Hits 1980 -    Cherry Red’s download store is a key
sponsors of the Middlesex County                                   1989:         The    component of the website - it offers
                        Football League                            Complete       UK    more than DRM-free downloads in MP3
                        and          the                           Independent          format, video downloads as well as
                        Combined                                   Charts (Singles &    football realtones, podcasts and
                        C o u n t i e s                            Albums). To date     ebooks.
                        League) and in                             this imprint has
                        1995        they                                                Although market conditions are tough
                                                                   covered     music
                        started      the                                                for all independent record companies at
                                                                   subjects including
                        F o o t b a l l                                                 present, Cherry Red continue with their
                                                                   Mott The Hoople,
                       Collectors                                                       ambitious programme of releases and
                                             Syd Barrett, Pink Floyd (left), Johnny
Series which now has over 50 club-                                                      expansion:
                                             Thunders, The Rolling Stones, The
themed releases as well as international     Beatles' Apple Organization and A To Z     •  On average the company currently
collections for England, Scotland,           Guides to various Rock genres              issue 40 titles per month - around 500
Ireland and Jamaica.                         including Black Metal and Thrash Metal.    per year.
Some of the other important labels           There is also a large DVD catalogue        • In 2007 Cherry Red album sales as
within Cherry Red include RPM, a             which contains more than 150 titles        recorded by The Official UK Charts
prolific re-issue label (examples include    covering many styles of music.             Company increased by 8.2% on the
Petula Clark, Billy Preston, Leo Sayer);                                                previous year, a substantial
                                             Current Activities
Anagram - initially formed for bands                                                    achievement in such difficult market
                                             Cherry Red’s current MD is Adam            conditions.
such as Alien Sex Fiend, Vice Squad
                                             Velasco who joined the company in
and The Vibrators who didn’t really fit in
                                             1992 as an office junior. He highlights
                                                                                        •  Their download store now has more
on the Cherry Red label;                                                                than 21,000 tracks available for
                                             the scope of the company’s activities by
Rev-Ola - originally launched as                                                        purchase.
                                             by pointing out that, “we’re a multi-
Creation’s catalogue label, this eclectic    media company involved in selling CDs,     “Cherry Red has grown organically
imprint houses acts as diverse as Gene       DVDs, books, downloads as well as          and we will keep growing like that -
Vincent, BMX Bandits, Solomon Burke,         offering podcasts and digital TV content   altering our methods of distribution
Ivor Cutler and Maya Angelou;                via our channel on our website which is    to keep up with downloading,
                                             updated on a daily basis”.                 streaming and the demands of the
7T’s - launched to re-issue recordings
from many famous names from the                                                         marketplace” Iain McNay April 2008
                                    is an internet TV
1970s including Showaddywaddy, 10cc,                                                     


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