When Zack and I decided to start a record label in March 2013, my only real goal was to own a copy of Acceptance’s first and then-only album, Phantoms. Around this general timeframe, first-time pressings of emo and punk albums that were originally released a decade ago were trendy thanks to outlets like ShopRadioCast (now SRC Vinyl), Hot Topic, etc., but I didn’t want to start a whole reissue label. I just wanted a copy of one album, and I felt like I could make it happen on my own.
In 2013, I had label managed Paper + Plastick Records for a while, and Zack was running PropertyofZack.com (#RIPOZ) along with managing a few bands. We first worked together when I signed a band he managed, Light Years, to P+P for a release of their first album I Won’t Hold This Against You, which is secretly still a classic pop-punk record IMO.
We started the label, got the rights to license Phantoms, sold out 1,000 copies of it in four hours, then spent a terrible weekend fulfilling mail-order in New Jersey. In almost five years since then, Bad Timing Records has released about 50 other things.
The label was not started as an ambitious project, and we still aren’t a very ambitious label, though we have done (and are currently doing) some moderately ambitious projects (Devinyl Splits Vol. 2 is currently ongoing; the first installation is available in our webstore). But after doing this for a few years, we want to sort of catalog the label’s journey — perhaps for our own posterity, but also to hopefully help some people somewhere learn about starting an independent record label. If our story encourages one person to start one new record label, I think that’s a win.
This cataloging will take place via a podcast we’re calling Timing Is Everything, which we’re partnering with Modern Vinyl on. It’ll be hosted by Zack and I, and this seems like a good opportunity to mention that we’re not starting the pod to brag about anything we’ve done to date; it’s very much going to be a “two dudes talking” show about the beginnings of the label, touching on most of the releases in our catalog, outlining things we felt we did well and probably spending a lot more time on things we fucked up, through present day.
We will talk about fulfilling mail-order, sending royalty checks (or PayPal payments, realistically), doing taxes ourselves then immediately hiring a person to do taxes for us instead, and a lot of other stuff ranging from the fun to the monotonous. Our goal is to discuss as realistically as possible the experience we’ve had running a small record label for five years.
The first two episodes of Timing Is Everything are available today. Between them, they outline most of the label’s releases from 2013 and 2014, along with the processes involved in starting the label. We want to keep most of the episodes to 30 minutes, though these two episodes are around the 45- and 50-minute marks.
We hope you’ll give the first couple episodes a chance; we’re still figuring it out, but we’ve got four episodes recorded so far. Hopefully we release an episode every two weeks or so. If you listen to these first two, we’d love to hear from ya — feel free to send us thoughts, complain to us, or ask us questions to answer in the fifth episode via @BadTimingRecs.
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