I wish the music industry was always like this (email from Asthmatic Kitty)

I received this email from Asthmatic Kitty records today. Asthmatic Kitty is an independent record label run by Sufjan Stevens that got hold of my email address because I bought his recent EP All Delighted People.

I am re-posting the entire email because it presents an insight in to the workings of a small record label in an effective way (and as such, is a fantastic eDM).

It will be interesting to see if this generates as much interest and debate about the future of music distribution as Radiohead, Trent Reznor/ Nine Inch Nails and Saul Williams have in recent years….


(A brief foreword: this is the only email you’ll get from us. We have your email because you bought Sufjan Stevens’ EP on Bandcamp. If you do like to hear more from us you can sign up for our email listhere. Which we wish you would.)

Thanks for supporting us and Sufjan with your purchase of his EP All Delighted People. Please keep reading but to cut to the chase, you can preorder Sufjan Stevens’ new full-length, The Age of Adz, from Bandcamp for $8 right here:


We love getting good music into your hands. We think it makes you happy, and that makes us happy. And that’s why we’re writing this email: to make everyone happy. It’s admittedly a long email but we hope you’ll stick with us for at least a little while because we want to explain something.

On October 12th we are proud to release Sufjan Stevens’ first song-based full-length album in 5 years,The Age of Adz. We think it’s one of the best things we’ve heard in a long time and we’re hoping you’ll buy it.

So. We have it on good authority that Amazon will be selling The Age of Adz for a very low price on release date, not unlike they did with Arcade Fire’s recent (and really terrific) The Suburbs. We’re not 100% sure Amazon will do this, but mostly sure.

We have mixed feelings about discounted pricing. Like we said, we love getting good music into the hands of good people, and when a price is low, more people buy. A low price will introduce a lot of people to Sufjan’s music and to this wonderful album. For that, we’re grateful.

But we also feel like the work that our artists produce is worth more than a cost of a latte. We value the skill, love, and time they’ve put into making their records. And we feel that our work too, in promotion and distribution, is also valuable and worthwhile.

That’s why we personally feel that physical products like EPs should sell for around $7 and full-length CDs for around $10-12 We think digital EPs should sell for around $5 and full-length digital albums for something like $8.

So you might wonder why we’d “allow” Amazon to sell it for lower than that.

There are several reasons why, but mostly? It’s because we believe in you. We trust you and in your ability to make your own choice. Here are some you might make if you decide to obtain the album:

  • You can preorder the physical CD and LP. We are currently taking preorders on both, selling them for $12+S&H and $20+S&H respectively. Those who preorder will get a digital download of the album 2 weeks early on September 28th. You can do that here:
  • You can preorder the digital album via Bandcamp, starting right now. The cost of the preorder is $8. As a sign of thanks, those who preorder will also receive their download two weeks early on September 28th. (This offer ends September 27th at 11pm EST.) Do that here:
  • You can mosey on down to your local independent record store and preorder or buy it there.
  • You can wait for whatever pricing may or may not occur on the big broad Internet on release day.
  • Finally, you could just download the album after it leaks without paying a dime from any number of sources on the internet. (We’d rather you not.)

So that’s you.

A bit about us.

We are very much like Bandcamp. We are similarly sized companies (under 10 employees!). Both of us are dwarfed by companies doing the same thing but with seemingly limitless amounts of resources. Our dealings with Bandcamp have been honest and that’s a rare find. And like us, they believe artists and musicians should get what’s due them. Like us, they believe in the shiny ideal that someone can still possibly maybe perhaps surely make a decent living singing and writing and playing their best. We think that they also think that good music is worth something. This all while the internet swirls with bittorrents and rapidshares and full-album-mp3-blogs and heavily discounted pricing. So this is us, both out here on the raggedy edge.

And honestly, we like it here.

In fact, there are lots of us out there, doing what we do because we love to do it and hoping somebody pays us long enough to keep doing it a little while longer.

So we hope you’ll be that somebody that keeps paying us a little while longer, in whatever way you think most appropriate.

Thanks for reading and being such a great bunch of people.

Asthmatic Kitty Records

P.S. The new Half-handed Cloud album comes out next week. It’s very good. You can stream it for free and preorder it on Bandcamp here:

You are on this email list because you purchased a Sufjan Stevens album from Bandcamp.com.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s