For as long as I can remember I have loved Scottish Music with a bit of a preference for the more DIY approach of Postcard Records and the independent sensibilities of John Peel. I confess that I used to be quite the indie music snob dismissing Wet Wet Wet and hailing the importance of The Jesus and Mary Chain. However working for HMV in the early nineties opened my eyes to some of the amazing dance music that was moving things forward at the time, Technotronic - Pump Up the Jam or Pump Up the Volume by M.A.R.R.s, and I could close my ears to other genres no more. Working with people with completely different tastes has meant that I have opened my ears and been broadening my tastes ever since. When Ray Charles says that there are really only 2 types of music, good music and bad music, I think I know where he is coming from.
In the early nineties the biggest barrier to making it in music was the sheer cost of recording and distributing music. Thankfully modern studio standard equipment is excellent and it is much more affordable to buy the equipment to create music of studio quality and with the plethora of self-help videos on YouTube you can now learn how to use this equipment well. Distribution is less of a problem and less expensive. Aggregators such as EMU Bands, which I use, makes the distribution part of the process significantly easier than it would be otherwise. So if it is possible to do all this on your own and if many could now afford to do it, this doesn't really answer the question, why start a record label?
Looking at the lack of variety of recommendations on Spotify and Apply there is clearly a challenge for local artists to find ways to promote themselves. That is not to say that all successful artists are not worth listening to, but it is going to be hard to be successful and prove the value of your music if no-one ever hears it. Listening to Radio Forth and their main breakfast show, there is an acceptance that the local DJs and producers, etc, won't be choosing the music any time soon. So I see the role of the label that I am starting as more a way of defining a style and a common ethos of music that will help artists alert each other's fans to the other's music, even if they are quite different. I see this at a local level and think when you lose distinct geographical voices this all serves to reduce the variety and value of music. The role of Rough Trade in defining a diverse approach to music which held true to Geoff Travis's view of quality over commercial success is one I would like to emulate, but with a particular emphasis on Scottish Artists.
Finally the success of Gerry Cinammon has shown that it is possible to be heard above the commercialised homogenisation of music. My favourite quote being
"The only reason I'm in this game is because it's full of imposters ruining music and my very existence annoys them and it pleases me. If you're a working class musician hearing this or reading it and you respect the art of song writing more than the art of pretending then you have a responsibility to get involved. There's a war on for real music and if you're sound and can write decent tunes then you're on the front line whether you like it or not."