75orLess Found Music

Thursday, July 26, 2007

The DIY way - 75orLess builds a lean distribution machine


Local rocker Mark MacDougall has come up with his own way of circumventing the freefall of the recording industry. He’s making his own CDs on the cheap. He started 75orLess more than five years ago as an online outlet for reviews; the name refers to the number of words in their critiques. Today, the site’s review army receives upwards of 100 submissions per month and has amassed an archive of more than 1100 reviews. But then the wheels really started turning. “I began hearing local music that I really liked,” said Mark, “and I knew it was never going to get heard.” MacDougall cranked up his record appreciation from that of a fan to producer, designer, and manufacturer.

MacDougall figured he could get discs made cheaply and still come up with numbers that worked financially. “We had talked about it for years,” he admits, “then we finally agreed to just do it.” After designing a logo and setting up a web space, MacDougall and some friends set about getting records made. Their first releases, Staggering Statistics’ Pixelated Ones & Zeros EP and A Passing Feeling’s eponymous EP, came out in January 2006 and they’ve been since issued at least one disc a month. “I try to keep the process as simple as possible,” says MacDougall. “The bands appreciate it. Many have come back to do a second release with me. I’d love to see them move on. But I still love their music and don’t mind putting it out!”

Here’s how it works: Each band provides the label with a finished copy of a CD and accompanying artwork. MacDougall has a burning tower which can duplicate 60 discs an hour. He then takes the images, makes screen prints of them, and produces the jackets. Each cover is hand-printed and no two are exactly alike. Says MacDougall, “You get a CD that looks professionally done; you just can’t do it any cheaper.” He backtracks. “If you don’t screen print it, you can do it cheaper. You can Xerox it. But it would never look as good as the way we do it.”

There are 150 CDs in each initial 75orLess edition, which costs a total of $300. Thirty of those CDs go to press, 60 to the artist, and 60 to the label to sell on the site. The budgeted expenses make it easy for the artists and the label to earn a little cash to defray the upfront cost, plus the artist retains the rights to the project so if a label with real money comes along, there’s nothing holding the band back from seizing the opportunity.

MacDougall, who plays bass for Six Star General and has a real job on the side, is excited about his upcoming to-do list. This summer his production rate is increasing radically, to roughly one platter a week. Here’s the current release schedule:

7.24: THE ’MERICANS - Where All Dead Leaves Go
7.31: KILLING PABLO - A Collection of Songs on Compact Disc
8.3: THE FOLLOWERS - Secret Handshake
8.10: THE COLD WAR - Le Petit Morte
8.18: SIX STAR GENERAL - Already On One
9.1: CHOLO - Unlimited Nights and Weekends
9.7: VARIOUS ARTISTS - You Must Be This Tall Soundtrack (Documentary on Rocky Point Park with Neutral Nation, Johnny Carlevale, the ’Mericans, and the Masons)

And the not so immediate future looks bright as well, with releases by Chris Evil & the Taints, Candy Thong, Von Doom, Fashion Failures, and Torches all on the horizon. The fact that MacDougall can do a stylish job on releases featuring quality indie rock — and not solely by local artists — is nothing short of good old-fashioned Yankee ingenuity. “It’s a style dictated by economics,” he says. “We only have this much money, what kind of design can we come up with?”

The support of friends and enterprising local musicians who want to be hands-on with their products helps the assembly line process move a little quicker. “I’m getting more help, more excitement, and more people wanting to be a part of it to assist,” MacDougall says. “If anything, I’m learning something with each release and we’re getting stronger as we go.”

Watch for the free 75orLess Live Fest happening on August 18 at The Penalty Box in Providence featuring Fred Kendal Abong, Killing Pablo, A Passing Feeling, and Six Star General. This is a triple cd release party.

75orLess @ 5:51 AM

the found music site
in case you are new here....we post irregularly to our favorite links to rare and live music available for download. we do not link to lossless files, as we are half deaf ourselves. we also don't host any files, as we do not comprehend the technology. we simply stumble across this stuff and share the links. please support all the websites and bands that do all the real work getting this music into your ears. all the sites listed below have more great music and content. most of these links will go dead at some point so grab the music while you can.

We are based out of Providence, Rhode Island. We offer no apologies, nor should you hold that against us. More info here on 75orLess at any of these web pages:

75orLess music label

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It's a reasonable question. The idea was born during our daily music chats, while discussing reviews we'd read. There was only one thing we consistently agreed on: they were too long. It seemed the point of how the music sounded and whether or not it was good was lost in an overlong mess of lyric quotes, personal accounts and a seemingly desperate attempt to fulfill a word count. Eventually someone said, "It's gotten to the point where if you can't say it in 75 words or less, you should shut the eff up". Within a week, 75orless.com was born. The best part about our limit is its reversal of typical music reviews. We limit the amount of words we use, and are not required to reach a number.

Welcoming electronic, hip-hop, indie, folk, punk, disco, pop, cock rock, math rock, brit pop, nu gaze, blues, garage, country, new new wave, rockabilly, idm, crust, techno, grindcore and all other music submissions. Where words with 2 letters or fewer do not count.

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