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The Mire: Tangents, threads and opinions from The Wire HQ

minimal markets

Derek Walmsley

Can't remember which album it was of the many that cross my desk, but it was weird to see a shout-out on a fairly mainstream dance release recently expressing solidarity with those who have been sticking with it through "tough times in the last year" – presumably a reference to the economic climate. It's a strange idea to me that the perceived success or otherwise of a music venture should be predicated on such a fickle factor as economic confidence. This may have been just an aside on an inside sleeve of an album, but it seems to acknowledge that this is first or foremost a business venture, that they are speculating to accumulate.

When I first used to glance at the credits, acknowledgments and copyright info on CD sleeves, I imagined more of a cottage industry model, where the names that were namechecked were simply those responsible for getting those notes in the air and sticking them on a 5" silvery plastic disc. There was no reference to the prevailing economic conditions, any more than a football team would talk about the international markets when buying a star striker. Obviously the economic outlook for a lot of labels is poor at the moment – and it's obviously the small labels we should worry about – but referencing the international electronica market in your album sleeve seems a bit like a great painter blaming poor weather for a rather dour set of canvases.