If Society
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Sorry, we're closed

Written by Tommi on 04.01.2010 13:49:12

Blog image for entry Sorry, we're closed (creative commons image from Flickr by Saucy Salad

As most of you must have already heard, we're giving up the whole retail side of our operations.

I have no idea how long this thing lasted, but like so many others, we also started from trading out our own releases and running a tiny distro with the stuff we traded in. Mostly totally unsellable foreign indie that we frantically tried to push on kiddies that showed up at our shows.

It must've been around 1999 that I whipped up our first online store. The selection consisted of ca. 10 of our own releases and maybe 30-50 other items. Our "logistics" consisted of a pile of boxes in both of our bedrooms.

It's been a long and winding road to where we're at today with almost 2000 different items in our selection, a "real" online store with a pretty well oiled logistics plan and Pitkämies, our brick & mortar extension.

In addition to our selection getting multiplied several times over, also the work we have to put into this thing has shot through the roof. What used to be a nice easy-going hobby that took a few hours monthly was suddenly an extra job that required at least some sort of attention every single day, most often quite a few hours daily, 366 days a year.

It's probably no surprise to anybody that selling indie records is not the hottest thing business-wise in the latter part of the "noughties". We've never gotten an actual salary from running If Society. Every cent we've made with the store has been put back into the putting out new records, expanding our operations and paying off old debts from releases that didn't quite make it on their own. Our reward has been the knowledge that we're having at least a tiny degree of influence on the world and that we get to make our not-too-commercially-viable music and the bills more or less get paid. We're on a mission from the indie gods.

This was all good and fine, up until lately. We never really minded working for no pay, when the direction of things was up. We were going somewhere and we were doing something important. But lately as all indicators have been screaming red on how things go, we've simply lost all interest. Fighting a battle of survival - or delaying the inevitable, even
- is simply not at all interesting to us.

So, we're quitting while we're still "winning". Before we really start hating everything about this. Let's face it, we've got a whole bunch of new and exciting things in our lives. In the end the #1 thing that motivates us is actually making music. Mikko's kid is about to turn 2 and I'm playing in more bands than I ever have, not to mention a whole bunch of other extracurricular activities on top of that. It's just not adding up and spending several night every week shipping / ordering / arranging records, taking care of inventory and making sure numbers add up just isn't how we want to spend our limited days on this planet.

There's also another quite important reason for me personally: records just don't mean that much to me personally anymore and after I noticed this very dramatic change in my consumer behaviour, I have a hard time convincing anyone else to still give a shit. A few years ago opening incoming shipments of records was always a pretty ridiculous case of "one for you, one for me", but as I noticed that I hadn't grabbed a single record from our own inventory in almost a year, I decided it's about time to do draw some conclusions..

So there you have it. Nothing dramatic. We're not bankrupt or anything. We just want to move on to the next chapter. Hopefully now we'll have some time to invest into cool new things this spring. The new Echo Is Your Love album has been more or less finished for over 6 months now, Mikko's got a new album to record with Hero Dishonest and I've got an album coming out with Black Audio and should produce as much material for Bääbs as possible. Not to mention the monthly Viola-tracks.

Like I already mentioned, this is not the absolute end of If Society. But don't expect us to be too active in the future either. We'll continue to put our a few carefully selected release annually and try to find new ways of doing what we've always done: supported true originality and creativity in the left-of-the-dial side of music. One way or the other.

A huge thanks is in order to all the people who helped us through the years. Especially Jelle, who's work with Pitkämies enable the last and biggest step we made with our shop. We hope him all the best with keeping Pitkämies the most amazing beacon of coolness in Helsinki. Also we'd really like to thank Vellu for handling a huge bulk of the work in the last 6 months. Without him we might've given up a good while earlier. Keep supporting Pitkämies!

But most of all, thanks to all of YOU people, who've kept buying records from us through the thick and thin.


ps. Don't forget to abuse our "everything must go" sale!!!
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