Dulli Goes Direct to Indie Stores
Former Afghan Whigs frontman Greg Dulli has experienced life on an indie label and life on a major. Now he is finding that an artist may not need a label at all.
Dulli is not the first major-label alumnus to go it alone; it is not uncommon for an artist to take his wares straight to a distributor. But Dulli, with the help of manager Brian McPherson, skipped that step, too, and went straight to independent retailers.
As previously reported, the album “Amber Headlights” was largely recorded in 2001 and harks back to the denser guitar rock of the Afghan Whigs. He shelved it after the death of filmmaker and friend Ted Demme, and turned his attention to the moody soul of the Twilight Singers.
Dulli says he is releasing “Amber Headlights” on his own to keep it separate from the Twilight Singers in the public’s mind. “And it was a good chance for us to learn exactly how putting out a record works,” he tells Billboard. “We wanted it out from behind me so I could move on, and we wanted an education in the music business.”
The three Twilight Singers albums — one on Columbia and two on indie One Little Indian — have sold 58,000 copies combined, according to Nielsen SoundScan. The new disc has an initial run of 5,000 CDs. “If we sell 5,000 of this ourselves,” McPherson says, “it’s equivalent to selling 40,000 on a label.”
The record is available on Dulli’s Web store, which was created by Musictoday, and at indie outlets via Junketboy, the distribution arm of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores.
The album is also available from Amazon.com, and until McPherson finds European distribution or strikes a licensing agreement, he is fulfilling most overseas orders through eBay. “It’s a multifaceted, Rube Goldberg device of do-it-yourself record distribution,” he says.
Dulli says he is sticking with One Little Indian when it comes to the Twilight Singers, who will release a new album next year. “The thing I like about labels is their day-to-day diligence and the fact that they’re putting up front money and betting on you,” Dulli says. “I have a pretty good deal with the Indian, and they’re good people. But this has been an eye-opening experience financially.”