About Cooking Vinyl
Cooking Vinyl is a UK based independent record company, founded in 1986 by former manager and booking agent Martin Goldschmidt, who remains the current owner and managing director, and distribution manager Pete Lawrence. The company is based in Acton, London.
Cooking Vinyl Records operates as part of the Cooking Vinyl Group, which also comprises Essential Music & Marketing, CV America, Cooking Vinyl Australia, and Cooking Vinyl Publishing. Cooking Vinyl is home to artists such as The Prodigy, Billy Bragg, Frank Black, Marilyn Manson, Amanda Palmer and Royksopp.
Cooking Vinyl was set up in 1986 by former manager and booking agent Martin Goldschmidt and distribution manager Pete Lawrence, who initially ran the business as a part-time venture out of a spare room in Goldschmidt’s council house in Stockwell, South London.
In 1986 Cooking Vinyl famously recorded an impromptu live performance around a campfire at a folk festival by the singer Michelle Shocked, on a Sony Walkman with fading batteries. One of its first releases, Cooking Vinyl released the recording as The Campfire Tapes, and it sold 250,000 copies worldwide.
Originally orientated towards contemporary folk music with bands such as Oysterband, Cowboy Junkies and Jackie Leven, Cooking Vinyl Records has grown and diversified into releasing rock, metal, indie, punk and electronica.
1993 Artist Services Deals
As well as its more traditional royalty agreements, Cooking Vinyl is widely regarded as a pioneer of ‘artist services’ deals where the artist retains ownership of the copyrights. The company’s first such deal came in 1993 with a reissue of Billy Bragg’s Back to Basics compilation. Since then, Bragg has re-signed to Cooking Vinyl a total of six times, most recently in 2013 for the release of studio album Tooth & Nail.
Cooking Vinyl has also delivered services deals for Alison Moyet, Black Spiders, Gary Numan, James Skelly & The Intenders, Madness, Pigeon Detectives, Reverend and The Makers, Ron Sexsmith, and The View.
Cooking Vinyl has consistently been in the forefront of the digital revolution. 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. In 2005 Cooking Vinyl set up its own online distribution company, Uploader, which was sold in 2007 to the Independent Online Distribution Alliance (IODA), one of the best online distributors in the world.
Cooking Vinyl has had international success from the start with Michelle Shocked The Texas Campfire Tapes selling 250,000 worldwide. Other notable releases include the Cowboy Junkies Trinity Sessions and Ryan Adams debut solo studio album Heartbreaker in 2000, which sold 100,000 in the UK alone.
In 2009 Cooking Vinyl partnered on the release of The Prodigy’s fifth studio album Invaders Must Die, which went on to sell 1.2 million units worldwide and was the biggest-selling independent record of the year in Europe.
In 2012 Amanda Palmer, an advocate of the DIY approach, announced that she was partnering with Cooking Vinyl in a distribution and label services deal for the European release of her studio album “Theatre Is Evil.” The album was funded through a high-profile Kickstarter campaign that raised over $1.2 million in 30 days.
Another notable campaign from that year was the release of Marilyn Manson’s Born Villain under a joint-venture partnership between Manson’s own label Hell, etc. and Cooking Vinyl.The album was a global success charting at #5 in Germany, #10 in the US, and topping Billboard’s Hard Rock and Independent album chart. Across the rest of Europe the album peaked at #4 in Austria, #6 in France and #2 in Switzerland. In the UK Manson reached #14 in the Official Albums Chart and #1 in the UK Rock Albums Chart.
Cooking Vinyl is noted for its long relationships with many of its artists. The Pixies’ Charles Thompson was signed in 2000 and has had 17 releases to date with the label as Frank Black and Black Francis. Since 1994, former Doll By Doll man Jackie Leven has had 23 releases, five of them in 2009.
Other key artists that have released through the label include, Counting Crows, The Pretty Reckless, Ryan Adams, Suzanne Vega, The Cult, The Charlatans, The Cranberries, The Subways, Echo and the Bunnymen, Embrace, The Enemy, Groove Armada, The Orb, The Proclaimers, James, The Rifles, Seth Lakeman, Suzanne Vega, UB40, The Subways, City and Colour and The Dropkick Murphy’s.
Cooking Vinyl has enjoyed continued success in 2014 with The Pretty Reckless Going To Hell reaching number 8 as well as a number 5 with Embrace’s self-titled album Embrace.
In 2014 Cooking Vinyl was nominated for the AIM Independent Label of the Year Award.
In August 2012, Cooking Vinyl launched its rock imprint, DoubleCross Records. The current roster includes UK ragga metal band Skindred, who signed to DoubleCross in a new worldwide record deal in January 2013.
In 2003, Vital Distribution’s managing director Mike Chadwick teamed up with Cooking Vinyl’s Martin Goldschmidt to launch Essential Music & Marketing, an independent distributor and service provider.
In October 2012, the Cooking Vinyl Group launched CV America, headed up by CEO Erik Gilbert. CV America provides strategic services to the CV Group, including artist/label acquisition, marketing and distribution, and business strategy, and also acts as a stand-alone music publisher, with the ability to sign new writers and exploit Cooking Vinyl Publishing copyrights in the US.
Cooking Vinyl Australia was formed in September 2013. Based in Melbourne and helmed by former Shock Records executives, Leigh Gruppetta and Stu Harvey, the label signs both local and international artists, and represents the wider Cooking Vinyl Records roster in Australia and New Zealand.
Cooking Vinyl Publishing is headed by Paul Kinder, a former director at Chrysalis. The company has an equally diverse roster with current writers including Reverend & The Makers, The Rifles, 65daysofstatic, Tom the Lion, Exit Calm and The Virginmarys, and benefits from an international network of sub-publishers.