For You I'd Go with Strawberry
It Still Fits Bitch

For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records by Slagel Brian & Eglinton Mark & Ulrich Lars

For The Sake of Heaviness: The History of Metal Blade Records by Slagel Brian & Eglinton Mark & Ulrich Lars

Author:Slagel, Brian & Eglinton, Mark & Ulrich, Lars [Slagel, Brian]
Language: eng
Format: azw3
Publisher: BMG Books
Published: 2017-08-29T04:00:00+00:00

Speaking of making mistakes running a company, I made a continuing one from late 1987 through 1989 that could have resulted in me losing the company. I was always a huge vinyl fan, given that I’d started out in the business importing and buying vinyl. When CDs gradually started appearing, everyone was saying that vinyl was going to go away. I refused to believe that, to the extent that I told anyone who’d listen, “It’s categorically not going to happen. It’s impossible.”

Metal Blade, unlike a lot of other companies, didn’t really stop manufacturing vinyl. If you look at the release schedule, I don’t think we ever put out more records than we did in the late eighties, which was right in the midst of that transitional time in the industry. We kept making vinyl and kept selling it, but one day—I can’t recall exactly when—I got a phone call from our distributor, Greenworld. “By the way,” they told me, “we’ve got a massive return coming back to you.”

I’ll never forget the awful feeling I had when I heard that. The color drained from my face. It turned out all the stores had decided vinyl was over and that compact discs were the new thing. It felt like they all made that decision on the same day. And, with that, the retail outlets were shipping huge quantities of vinyl back to the distributor. Our stock was essentially out on consignment, and so much of it came back that there was literally no more money. It was a landslide of the most immense proportions. We were on the hook for everything! The frustrating thing was that it had nothing to do with the actual music; it was simply because stores had decided the vinyl medium was extinct.

Consequently, there was a time frame of roughly six months where there was absolutely no money coming into Metal Blade. But we still had staff to pay, records to keep making, and bills to settle. The only way I could survive was to fund the company on the fifteen credit cards I went out and applied for. What’s funny is that I used to get annoyed by getting those credit card applications through the door. For years, I didn’t want them. Now I wanted all of them. And that’s the only reason we survived.

We’d hit a brick wall where I owed money to the distributor, but had no money coming in and didn’t know if I ever would again. In retrospect, had I listened to everyone’s warnings about manufacturing too much vinyl, it might have all been different. Instead, my nostalgic side took over. I kept telling myself, “No, no, I love vinyl. Vinyl will never go away—too many people love it!” It was pretty bleak, and all those records coming back was the closest I ever came to just saying, “That’s it. It’s over.” But I ultimately decided that we were absolutely going to keep on going and try to turn the situation around. I just couldn’t quit.


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