Alternative Distribution Insound

Not that I’m surprised, but it didn’t take long for Insound to rollover, lift their leg, and become Warner/ADA’s exclusive indie retailer-on-a-leash.

Future of the Left – The Lord Hates a Coward

On Insound’s current homepage, each page refresh retains a two-thirds majority of ADA-distributed titles — to the detriment of some refreshes not including, for example, Portishead’s new record, which any retailer would be insane to omit from a permanent position on page one.

Best example? Death Cab for Cutie’s new album Narrow Stairs comes out next week. Until this album, out on Atlantic (also Warner-owned, but ADA and Atlantic shall never meet), Death Cab’s rapid-selling adult-emo-alternative albums belonged to Barsuk. Yeah, you guessed it: also ADA. But now that it’s not ADA? Try finding it on the Insound homepage. Even with a few refreshes.

ADA was always rabid to brand their weak acts with some sort of indie cache. ADA sales flunkies, when retailers rejected their advertising/branding pitches for shitty bands, would often hand over said retailers’ digits to said band’s own management, and have them call and beg. Which was worse.

Now ADA can simply say, hey Insound: two-thirds of your homepage will push crap like Cloudland Canyon, Russian Circles, and Gentlemen’s Auction House. Hooray!

I don’t know why I bother complaining anymore.


2 thoughts on “Alternative Distribution Insound

  1. Gosh, just when I thought they couldn’t suck any more. Thanks for pointing this out — I would have thought it was just crap I’ve never heard of.Lately I purchase in two completely opposite ways: at Target (cheap and lazy) or straight from the label (I like free stickers). PS I was thinking of pitching a TP entry on McLusky, but I think you are the perfect person to do it. (not that you have the time or inclination)


  2. I can’t do the Mclusky entry now, but I’d love to. But I know TP’s designer, and he’s a big fan, and I can’t imagine he hasn’t got something in the works. In fact, he and I saw Mclusky together at one of their last shows…Also –Matt Wishnow of Insound actually just sent me this response:Hi there. A friend forwarded me your blog post about Insound. I’d never seen your blog before but it’s a very good read. My name is Matt Wishnow and I run I started the company and still run it today. For whatever it’s worth to you, I wanted you to know that I have never ever had any implicit of explicit agreement with ADA before or after our deal with them to provide preferential treatment. Further, nobody at ADA has ever asked for it. We actually buy product DIRECT from a lot of ADA distributed labels who we could buy from ADA but choose to continue buying from the label or smaller distro (Matador, Touch and Go, Secretly Canadian, etc.). Anyway, although you may feel otherwise, our entire homepage and new landing pages (which I am thrilled to have J) are managed exactly the same way we always have. I also wanted to mention a couple of things to illustrate this: Of our New Releases featured, only No Age is a product we buy from ADA. Also, Portishead is, in fact, very prominently on our homepage as our number 2 top seller with a large album cover. Further, we have had Death Cab on our homepage for weeks before the re-launch and will have it back there next week (we needed to make some room for other items). Finally, I wanted to acknowledge that just 2 weeks ago we got the rights to distribute ADA content digitally in MP3 form. Yep – we actually negotiated a contract with them and it took a while to finish. So, if you see a lot of ADA titles on our downloads page, its because (1) we JUST got the rights to that content and are thrilled to have Sub Pop, Saddle Creek, etc. and (2) ADA is actually the dominant digital distributor by FAR if you look at market share so it would be impossible to avoid featuring some of that product. Anyway, I mainly wanted to assure you that I have steadfastly maintained our policies and editorial approach and I wanted to provide some color in response to your post. As I said, many of the items that you see on our site that you might assume we purchase from ADA, we don’t. We are currently doing promotions with Red, UMG and other large indie distributors and we do very well with smaller indies like Forced Exposure. The merch business is a whole other beast, as we do not buy any of our shirts or posters from ADA. If you ever want more insight into Insound or if you have any questions of suggestions, don’t hesitate to write. As you can hopefully tell, I am well aware of how important it is for me to work for the best interest of insound. And, having done that for 10 years now, I have a pretty good compass I think. Thanks for listening. Best,Matt Wishnow


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