About Cooking Vinyl
COOKING VINYL – SHOWING INDEPENDENT LABELS THE WAY FOR THIRTY YEARS
2016 has been another remarkable year for Cooking Vinyl Records, the company Uncut magazine calls “a template for modern independent record companies”. After topping the charts in the previous year with The Prodigy’s “The Day is My Enemy”, this feat was repeated in 2016 with the global success of Passenger’s “Young as the Morning Old as the Sea”. Richard Ashcroft reached the UK top 3 with “These People”, his first album in six years. Both records qualified for a silver disc in the UK. The Fratellis, The View, Reverend & The Makers, Turin Brakes, The Cult, Billy Bragg & Joe Henry, Feeder, Area 11, Rifles, Richard Ashcroft and Seth Lakeman all also reached the UK top 40, thus fulfilling the entry criteria for the BRITS Awards 2017 “Album of the Year” category. Cooking Vinyl Australia also had a good year, notching up a number 1 album with Parkway Drive, and top 5 entries with City and Colour, and Kate Miller-Heidke. Together with a highly creditable # 31 in the Billboard 200 for the newly established Cooking Vinyl America branch in New York with the latest album by Dillinger Escape Plan, it all adds up to a true champagne year for the West London indie.
Established in 1986, Cooking Vinyl has developed a reputation as one of Europe’s most innovative independent labels, inspiring an enviable loyalty among its artist roster in the process. Key to the company’s longevity is its emphasis on artist-driven deals with its pioneering introduction of bespoke services-only contracts that claim no stake in artists’ copyrights. The first such deal drawn up in 1993 with Billy Bragg who has since re-signed to the label a total of seven times. Many other acts return year after year, release after release, including The Pixies’ Charles Thompson (AKA Frank Black) who signed in 2000 and has had 18 releases to date with the label as Frank Black and Black Francis. Starting in 1994, Cooking Vinyl released 23 albums by the former Doll By Doll man, the late (and great) Jackie Leven.
In 1986, the label released The Texas Campfire Tapes, an impromptu live performance by the singer Michelle Shocked recorded at a folk festival on a portable cassette machine with fading batteries. The release went on to sell 250,000 copies worldwide and established the label as a force at the forefront of the burgeoning roots music scene. After a number of difficult years caused by the upheaval of Rough Trade Distribution’s collapse, Cooking Vinyl found its feet again thanks to Martin Goldschmidt’s keen interest in the development of music technology. It was the first European label to do a deal with the MP3 download site eMusic and the first to enter negotiations with the peer-to-peer file-sharing company Kazaa. Later on, Cooking Vinyl set up its own online distribution company, Uploader, which was then sold to the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA).
Happily installed in its own bright and solar-powered headquarters in West London, Cooking Vinyl’s enduring success is testament to its willingness to approach the business of selling music with open ears and open minds, whilst resolutely defending its independence. The company takes full responsibility for the management of a project. Adding more than just marketing muscle, Cooking Vinyl devises and implements worldwide sales and distribution plans for its artists, looking for the perfect licensing partners and management and as well as booking agents for each project. In another exciting new development, Cooking Vinyl in early 2016 sold its successful independent distribution company Essential to Sony Music. Still housed in the same building, the company was renamed Red Essential, with Cooking Vinyl as its most important client. Retaining its own 100% independence, this link-up with a major company guarantees Cooking Vinyl unprecedented access to global markets.
With the decision to intensify A&R efforts and expand the roster to include the harder end of the rock spectrum as well as more pop-oriented artists, recent Cooking Vinyl signings have included Deep Vally and a link-up with Dillinger Escape Plan’s Party Smasher set-up, a re-release of the first Trivium album and a Behemoth side-project, Me & That Man. 2016 also saw a second series of the popular “The Future of…” debates organised by Cooking Vinyl in association with Music Business Worldwide at the Hospital Club in Covent Garden. In another fresh development, Martin Goldschmidt is hugely excited to be involved in setting up a massive concert in Palestine celebrating local music as well as founding a Palestine Music Export Bureau.
2017 looks set to continue the label’s success with new releases from Alison Moyet, Maximo Park, Me & That Man, Goldie, The King Blues, Thea Gilmore, Lewis Watson and Nina Nesbitt. A book telling the story of Cooking Vinyl Records, ‘It’s a Business Doing Pleasure with You – 30 Lessons from The Cooking Vinyl Story’, will be published in 2017.