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Discogs Staff Mastering & Engineering: Interview with Frederic Stader

While at a record fair in Cologne late last year, we met Frederic Stader, a Mastering and Vinyl Cutting Engineer from Germany who had worked on one of the best selling releases on Discogs in 2017, a reissue of Through The Looking Glass by Midori Takada. After talking to Frederic we were left with a lot of questions about the process of Mastering & Engineering. While in Amsterdam recently, his schedule allowed him to drop by our office to answer questions!

Frederic is working as a freelance Mastering and Vinyl Cutting engineer at Emil Berliner Studios in Berlin for the last 5 years. At EBS, Frederic has worked on their projects by Deutsche Grammophon and the Berliner Philharmoniker, as well as with his own MusicMattersMastering clients. Since mid-2018 he also masters and cuts at Angström Mastering in Brussels.

How did you get into Mastering & Engineering?

In 2000 I did an internship at Dubplates & Mastering which was run by Moritz von Oswald. I became his trainee and he showed me how to cut vinyl and do mastering. After several months and a lot of sessions with the three other engineers, I became FST a mastering and vinyl cutting engineer at Dubplates & Mastering.

at Dubplates & Mastering 2001

You must have been interested before that.

Before that, I was already producing music and had been working in a recording studio for about 3 years in the mid-90s. I did pretty much everything there. Making coffee. Editing audiotapes of speeches by the Dalai Lama. Helping set up a 16×16 matrix for Oskar Sala.

Besides the studio work I was working as a FOH mixing at “Insel der Jugend” in Berlin. After that, I attended the School of Audio Engineering, back when slicing audio reels was still part of their curriculum.

What does your average day look like?

I spend about 30% of my time communicating with clients, writing emails, etc. I spend 20% of my day listening to clients’ music to evaluate what needs to be done, as well as receiving and giving feedback. The other 50% is the actual work of preparing the pieces, mastering the music and cutting the masters.

What do you feel is your responsibility in the process?

As a mastering engineer, I come from a long heritage of craftsmanship which is exactly what I’m offering my clients. It’s my responsibility to optimise the transfer of a piece of music to the lacquer acetate or other medium in the best possible way.

at Ångström Mastering Studio

What do you like best about your job?

Music is a transporter of emotions and when I have finished my work I am full of them. So when I get feedback for my work from clients, that triggers my positive emotions connected to the music.

What is your signature touch?

My sonic signature is to create the optimal balance between dynamics and loudness without doing any harm to the original intent of the music. Clients say: it sounds like my music, but better. Adding the final sprinkles and sonic texture that makes the music sound marvelous.

What recording are you most proud of and why?

Mostly all! Here are a few of them:

album cover of original vinyl pressing of Satoshi Ashikawa - Still Way

Satoshi AshikawaStill Way

Most recently I remastered Satoshi Ashikawa’s undeniable classic of Japanese environmental/ambient/minimalism STILL WAY, originally released in 1982 as part of the Wave Notation series, with Midori Takada on Vibraphone via WRWTFWW.

Claudio Abbado, Berliner Philharmoniker ‎– The Last Concert

The Last Concert by Claudio Abbado as conductor of the Berliner Philharmoniker. I am very proud to have cut it in Halfspeed. (Have a look at the discogs entries of side names.)

Richard Strauss by Christian Thielemann and Wiener Philharmoniker ‎– Eine Alpensinfonie

Richard Strauss: Alpensymphonie op.64 by Christian Thielemann has become a vinyl reference record worldwide.

Midori Takada ‎– Through The Looking Glass

As this have been pieces by old Masters I am very honoured and proud to have remastered the Midori Takada record from the real tape to the lacquer, a true AAA analogue cut. Midori Takada told me recently, “You helped me to bring back the clarity to my music and to bring it to the next level ! I am deeply thankful.” Only her ’83 RCA LP was recorded to analogue tape. All the other LPs were the earliest digital recording generation. I have remastered and cut the lacquers for all her reissued LPs and mastered as well her current LE RENARD BLEU / Kenzo release.

Ghost In The Shell (Original Soundtrack) vinyl reissue album cover

Kenji KawaiGhost In The Shell (Original Soundtrack)

In 2017, I also remastered the vinyl reissue of Kenji Kawai’s Ghost In The Shell Soundtrack. This was the first official release of the 1995 soundtrack on vinyl. I was very thrilled as that is one of my personal favourite soundtracks. Working on something you love so much while trying to transfer it to the medium in the best way possible was very challenging. Also, the feedback from the listeners around the world on this remaster is still overwhelming.

How does that selection process work? How do you get selected, do artists approach you?

I am working with a few labels and artists exclusively as their main mastering and cutting engineer. I also work with a selection choice of mastering engineers that like to work with someone who can provide feedback on their work, so there can be beneficial progress. I also have clients where the label allows the artist or mix engineer to choose his own cutting engineer, which would then be me.

What type of equipment do you use?

I used to cut on Neumann VMS 70 and VMS80. Currently, I am cutting on a heavily modified Neumann AM32b Cutting system with a Stuka pitch controller and Neumann SX74 cutting head with modified SAL74 amplifiers.

Pictured: starting the Midori Takada Reel from a Studer A80 for the transfer to the lacquer on a Neumann VMS80 at Emil Berliner Studios

The main outboard Analogue transfer & processing contains a KNIF Custom Mastering console and a KNIF EKSA solid state equaliser along with the VACUVOX U23m tube mastering compressor.

transfer of through the looking glass during remaster

Most of the time this is sufficient, but if I need more bands or a different color than I use an EAR 825Q tube mastering equalizer and different NEUMANN PEVb vintage mastering equalizer. The classic MASELEC MLA-2 and MASELEC MDS-2 are also in the chain.

The U23 is a German product, while Russian born Rein Narma who immigrated to America after WWII built the first prototype for Les Paul in 1959 using the U23 design. Sherman Fairchild licensed Narma compressor shortly after Les Pauls’ custom build and named it the 660 and the stereo version 670. The design of the Rhode & Schwarz U23 was the foundation for historic compressors / Limiters such as the Fairchild 660/670 and the Telefunken u73 and V76. The VACUVOX are today handcrafted in Amsterdam. We’re super happy to work with it because it was and it is again the best Vari-Mu I have ever listened to.

Pictured: writing cutting notes of the Midori Takada remastering into the Cutting Book, of the record lathe at Emil Berliner Studios, formerly owned by DGG

Some other equipment includes:

  • A Studer A80 1/4 inch tape machine including preview delay for AAA cuts and a Telefunken M15A 1/4 inch tape machine.
  • For cassette, we use the Tascam 122 mk3 deck.
  • For Monitoring, we use ATC 110ASL PRO and in nearfield PSI.
  • For headphones, I am currently testing the Phonon SMB-02 and beta testing the new HEDDphone® by HEDD Audio whose Type30 speakers are in my home Studio.
  • For AD DA it is a Merging Technologies Anubis, a Prism – ADA8XR Dream and – Orpheus.

I use no digital room correction as the room is fully sonically treated.

Something I was just wondering about while talking to you: Do you ever worry about your hearing?

Yes, I do, very much! They are my main tool to work, so when I go to concerts I wear custom made earplugs to avoid too much impact. My hearing, of course, is the most important.

How do you feel about digital versus analogue?

Well, we’re in a digital world now and the digital world has a lot of beneficial approaches for handling audio. Analogue had a meaning when adda was not as good, but now conversion makes no difference and cutting from tape is a process that is VERY limited.

Back in the day, records sounded good on tapes because the people behind the scenes knew how to make a great sound out of it. They had a heritage. With today’s trend, it´s going to be people wanting to go to tape not knowing what is the difference is between dbu and dbfs…therefore it would need extra processing. More education is needed. But physically it’s still something else compared to full analogue cutting.

I think we will see specialised vinyl, as there is a further separation between digitally created records and analogue cut records. You can slowly see that already happening.

What is your opinion about the Loudness Wars?

This is a big issue, because of digital technologies. For a lot of people good sounding means loud, and loud means always better, so there has been a lot of damage done to music in the past three decades. I am a fan of very dynamic masters. Of course, there is certain music that needs a type of density, which then can be provided. In general, the problem is that so many people are losing out on the connection to the details and the dynamic in the music. If everything has the same loudness, then it’s difficult for our ears to perceive depth and transience and all the information that helps us perceive and understand what we listen to. And losing all the nuances in the music is like losing all its memory and emotions like tears in rain…

Which record do you think is perfectly mastered?

I recently did a remaster and cut for We Release Whatever The Fuck We Want of the artist EP4. I was lucky to have very good source material which I was able to transfer to the lacquer in absolute amazing quality. And the further process electroplating and pressing the actual record was also really satisfying. So, in the end, we had a record that was mastered right, cut right, pressed right and it sounds so…joyful! To listen to something where all the parameters were in sync and worked out is mind-blowing.

Transferring music to a medium, like vinyl, is a process where many mistakes can occur along the way. For the listener, it is not always easy to distinguish: Where did it happen? Was it bad mastering, a bad cut, what kind of cut DMM or lacquer or a bad pressing? Labels sometimes have to take some hard criticism from an audience which is not always familiar with the process. Pressing plants sometimes handle small labels differently and because the process is analogue it will always have some faultiness. So it is good to get a second quality check! I also offer Quality control to my clients and I work closely with most of the pressing plants in Europe.

Is there an Engineer who you admire?

Yeah of course; Stan Ricker for his fantastic Half-speed cuts and Bob Katz for his knowledge and humor. I also still admire Moritz von Oswald very much because he also created his very own sonic signature touch on his music and his mastering.

What does your own music collection look like?

I have around 4500 records. Part of it is a collection from certain time frames. A small collection is from the ’90s when I was beginning to buy records, to the time when I started cutting records and I got many archive copies. But I also released music by myself on labels like Warp Records, Schematic, Tresor and others in the late ’90s and early 2000s.

What projects are you working on right now?

I’ve just finished mastering the 5th solo album by Matias Aguayo. It’s a shared release on his label Cómeme and Crammed Discs in Brussels. It’s his 5th solo album I am mastering so I am proud of that.

Currently, I am working on live recordings from the Hexadome exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau in Berlin last year. Frank Bretschneider, Ben Frost, Peter Van Hoesen, and other artists created a piece of music for 32 speakers, 360 degrees, like a dome of speakers above you to your feet. They recorded it with a Neumann kunstkopf microphone as a binaural recording. I have finished the mastering and will start on the vinyl cut soon. It will be a box set for the members of the Institute for Sound and Music in Berlin.

Hexadome exhibition at Martin Gropius Bau

That must have been a challenge?

Yes, to have binaural music on speakers of that sound precision, to perceive a sound because it’s like 360 degrees all around you. Normally with speakers, you can just curate the stereo image but not something phantom from behind and out of the stereo field, which you can do with headphones for example. So it will be a challenge for the vinyl cut!

Anything else?

I am also working on more half-speed cutting. There is a wide range from Jazz to Classical music and experimental music that benefits a lot from the process of half-speed cutting and that’s something I will do more of in the future.

Can you tell us a little bit more about your involvement with the Abbey Road Institute?

It is a guest lecturer position in the mastering class by Darcy Proper. Their curriculum on mastering includes a part about vinyl mastering and cutting. As I had the chance to gain some knowledge and skills, I love to share what I have learned in the past 20+ years. I estimated that I have cut around 5000 records in that time, which must be over 20,000 songs.

Anything else you’d like us to know?

I’ve been using Discogs for research since the early years. I think it’s a great platform for research and trading. I have recently started to add part of my private collection of heavy bass music from the early 2000s London days, which is now quite popular again!

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Diognes_The_Fox The Discogs Top 50 Best Selling Records Of June 2019

June was a month. The past few months have been something of a blur for me. I vaguely remember visiting the office for planning meetings and I think I even did something else. Things have been such a blur recently that I missed most of these releases, even though I probably listened to a bunch when they came out. Now’s your chance to pick up on the sounds of the summer of 2019 while it’s still hot out. This month features an amazing list of underground electronic music from many different eras and producers. Personally, I recommend the Evans Pyramid remix and Steven, who took a good percent of the load off my back for this post, noted the Emmanuel Top 12” as standing out. Until next month, let us know what you think in the credits down below!

The Raconteurs - Help Us Stranger album cover

#9 – The Raconteurs – Help Us Stranger

LP, Album, Ltd, Green Marble + 7″, Single, Ltd

Portishead - Dummy album cover

#22 – Portishead – Dummy

LP, Album, RE, 180 Gram

Psychedelic Porn Crumpets - And Now For The Whatchamacallit album cover

#28 – Psychedelic Porn Crumpets – And Now For The Whatchamacallit

LP, Album, Ltd, Yellow / Purple / Blue Splatter

Various - The Crow (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack) album cover

#31 – Various – The Crow (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack)

LP, White + LP, S/Sided, Etch + Album, Ltd…

Britney Spears - Britney album cover

#34 – Britney Spears – Britney

LP, Album, Ltd, Yellow & White Swirl

Siouxsie & The Banshees - Hyaena album cover

#43 – Siouxsie & The Banshees – Hyaena

LP, Album, Ltd, RE, RM, Purple, Black & White Splattered

Dr. John - Gris-gris album cover

#48 – Dr. John – Gris-gris

LP, Mono, Ltd, RE, Green

Robyn - Body Talk album cover

#49 – Robyn – Body Talk

2xLP, Album, Ltd, RE, White

Unknown Artist - Thelma Hous / Leave Me This

#50 – Unknown Artist – Thelma Hous / Leave Me This

Unknown Artist – Thelma Hous / Leave Me This (12″)

The post The Discogs Top 50 Best Selling Records Of June 2019 appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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Jeffrey Lee Puckett Why I Have A Minor Crush On Audio-Technica’s LPW40wn Turntable

If it’s possible to be infatuated with a turntable, then I have a minor crush on the Audio-Technica LPW40wn.

With its clean, simple lines and simulated walnut veneer, the LPW40wn has an easy elegance that’s very appealing. Add the sleek, black carbon-fiber tonearm and you have a turntable that certainly doesn’t look like it costs $299. It also doesn’t look anything like a DJ turntable, which is the ubiquitous design favored by Audio-Technica for its various LP120 models (not to mention similar turntables marketed by Stanton, Numark, Reloop, etc.).

With its low-key classy design, the LPW40wn seems to be aimed at vinyl lovers who care about both looks and sound — and who may have a significant other who doesn’t want their living room looking like the DJ booth down at the Stumble Inn. It’s a lifestyle product that doesn’t forget its primary job: playing records.

The LPW40wn is the best bang for your buck

The LPW40wn, which is fully manual, does a lot of things right for just $299:

  •  The tonearm is pretty damn nice, although maybe not as nice as the more expensive entry-level Pro-Ject and Music Hall arms. Still, to see a carbon-fiber arm with smooth bearings, anti-skate adjustment and a cueing lever on a $299 turntable is noteworthy.
  • The motor is surprisingly robust. It gets up to speed extremely quickly, as in immediately, and during the review, period remained accurate to within +/-.1, as measured by the Turntabulator app.
  • The built-in phono stage, which can be disabled, is the updated and much-improved version debuted by AT on the LP120x.
  • Instead of captured interconnects, there are RCA output jacks so you can upgrade to better cables (although that might be overkill for a $299 ‘table, but audio overkill is fun).

But what about the set-up?

Set-up is a breeze for anyone with experience and only a moderate pain for the inexperienced.

If this is your first turntable that needs assembling, do yourself a favor and go to AT’s website and download the full manual, which is very detailed. The printed instructions that come with the LPW40wn are wordless IKEA-style pictographs and are OK, but a couple of important things — such as how to balance the tonearm and set the vertical tracking force — are not exactly made clear.

The cartridge and the built-in phono preamp

The LPW40wn comes with an AT-VM95E cartridge ($50) already installed. I disagree with those who consider this cart a giant-killer, but it gets the job done — it’s like that friend who’s too loud and crude but who always shows up to help you move.

Using the built-in phono preamp, the LPW40wn sounded clean and clear. Nothing sounded drop-dead great but everything sounded at least decent while well-recorded albums could sound surprisingly good. The preamp offers plenty of value for those on a budget and should satisfy for a long time.

Experienced stereo geeks, however, will notice that the midrange and treble regions sound dry and a bit brittle while the bass is only adequate, but remember: This is a $299 package deal and shortcomings are to be expected. The kind of powered speakers that might be used with the AT, such as anything from Edifier, are voiced to be warm and bass-heavy, which would make for an ideal combo.

To see how the LPW40wn handled a phono stage upgrade, I used a Lounge Audio LCR MKIII. At $300, it’s easily the best sub-$500 phono stage I’ve heard and the AT and Lounge were a great team. I played records for many days using this combination and frequently forgot to think critically; I just listened to the music, which is the whole point.

There’s no getting around the fact that at this price point you’re giving up a noticeable degree of some important stuff: Voices sound less corporeal, instruments such as saxophones have less texture and color, drums don’t sound as alive and impactful. All of that got wildly and undeniably better when I switched back to my Clearaudio Concept with Satisfy tonearm and Grado Reference Master cartridge, fed into an Eastern Electric tubed phono stage. But that combination also costs 15 times the price of the AT, and I’d be in tears if it didn’t sound significantly better.

Why should you choose the LPW40wn over other turntables?

Realistically, the LPW40wn’s primary competition as far as looks and features is the U-Turn Orbit Basic. I don’t have a ton of experience listening to the Basic so what follows is strictly a features-based comparison.

  • The AT’s tonearm has adjustable anti-skate but the U-Turn’s does not.
  •  The AT’s counterweight is classic 1970s style, with a separate dial that has grams clearly marked, making VTF easy to set (it’s also accurate). The U-Turn requires the use of a VTF scale, which you have to purchase.
  • The AT comes with cueing, which is slow enough on the way down but a rocket on the way up. The U-Turn has cueing, but at an additional $40 cost.
  • Phono preamps are also add-ons at U-Turn and add significantly to the cost.
  • The U-Turn’s platters are more substantial than AT’s lightweight aluminum platters, although AT has electronic speed controls for said platters while you have to manually switch the U-Turn’s belt.

The Orbit Basic starts at $179 but by the time you add a phono preamp, cueing lever and replace the very mediocre standard cartridge option, the cost is $324. I would love to one day do a sonic shoot-out between an upgraded Basic and the LPW40wn because while features make life easier, great sonics make life worth living.

After a few weeks with the LPW40wn, I still dig this little buddy. A lot. If I had an office, this would anchor my office system. If I had one of those old-school garage workshops, where I drank beer and pretended to fix shit, this would be my cheap-and-cheerful turntable of choice. Hell, I might set up a workshop just to keep this guy around. He’s a charmer.

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Anna Bullbrook How Quentin Tarantino Thinks About Music And Film

The day after his Once Upon A Time In Hollywood premiere, I spoke with Quentin Tarantino about his record collection, mixtapes, and his carefully-constructed and extremely fun soundtrack for OUATIH. But guess what? There’s more. A whole lot more.

In part two of this conversation, Tarantino thinks out loud about music, film, and the intersection of the two — a combination that he uses with virtuosic effect in his most memorable film sequences — plus meta-narratives, the transcendent role of the disco version of Under My Thumb in a bad ’80s roller-disco movie, and the one time a bad guy might be the absolute best guy to have on hand.

Spoiler alert: We also break apart a couple of moments from OUATIH.

I’ve heard you talk about how you would watch movies a few times in the theater as a way to understand how music drives one scene in a movie.

Yes. But oftentimes it was just because I’d go see a movie, and the way that song was used in a scene was so magnificent, and there was no video at that time, so your only choice was to watch the movie three times at the movie theater just to see that one scene. Well, I did that many times growing up. [Laughs.]

Yeah! What is one scene that hooked you like that?

Oh, there’s a whole bunch! This isn’t the best one, by far, but for some reason when you asked that question, one of them popped into my mind.

There’s this really bad roller-disco musical called Skatetown U.S.A. Scott Baio is in it, and the bad guy in it was Patrick Swayze — but it was one of his first movies, way before Dirty Dancing. In the movie, they have this little talent show that the different people of this roller disco are trying to enter, and [Swayze] is the leader of the “bad gang.” But now it’s his turn to go out and do his dance number. And actually Patrick Swayze was a dancer, and he does it with a girl who in real life was his dance partner when they were professional dancers. And they do this almost “Apache” routine set to a disco version of Under My Thumb.


And it was great. It was absolutely great! It was one of the coolest dance sequences in any of the disco-themed movies at that time. And to get to that scene was so horrible, with all this horrible comedy, you know. Horrible vignettes and stupid stuff, but that scene was amazing! And I saw the movie at the theaters three times just for that scene alone.

Listen to the disco version of Under My Thumb. It’s pretty good!

[As an aside, I went down a rabbit hole of disco Under My Thumb covers, and also found this one by Fast Radio. May it bring you as much joy as it brings me.]

You’ve said that when you use music correctly in a scene, it’s kind of like you’re flying or skating. I translated that to mean creating a state of flow that brings the audience into the story without effort. What is your method or technique for connecting a song to a scene to bring people with you in this frictionless state?

It all depends on the song and the sequence. You can use a song that’s really cool — that’s, like, nice to listen to in the course of a movie, or maybe drives the scene a little forward a little more — or you can have a song that kinda wraps itself into the scene so it’s a nice soothing thing. Or you can have some nice music playing that helps move the scene along. That’s normally what you’re doing.

But every once in a while, you get a magnificent song, and you have a situation to create a sequence around it. So you’re building the sequence for the song, and the song is building the sequence for the film — and that’s when it all just takes over. At that point, it’s almost like the narrative of the movie just passes itself to the song, and the song just takes it. And when those music/movie sequence moments happen, now you’re lost in the movie. You’re riding. And it helps if it’s at a cool part in the movie where you’re ready to double down, too.

So I think I have a few examples of this, but a random one off the top of my head that I think would apply would be the [David Bowie] Cat People song; the way I worked that sequence around it in Inglorious Basterds. I think that’s a thing where the song takes over, and now the movie has wings. And you kind of fly for a while, and then when it’s over, now you’re back on the ground again. But you flew for a while.

And if I was 12 years old, I’d say, “Hey, rewind that! Play that back again! I don’t wanna watch the rest of the movie; I just want to see that scene again!”

So I was thinking about how Stevie Wonder makes music. He carries a song in his head, and it’s different in music, because you really can be a one-man band in a way that you can’t be the lone cowboy hero in making a film…

Ha, yeah.

When he goes to the studio, he lays all the drums down. And then bass down. And he has the whole thing in there. And so much of the creative process is: You aim for the moon, and you’re lucky if you get two-thirds of the way there, and it’s really fucking good. (The proverbial you—not you as in Quentin.) And then sometimes you get past the moon, and you’re like, “Wow, slam dunk!” And you’re lucky if most of the time you get to the moon. Have you ever succeeded more wildly than you imagined, and have you ever had a time you fell short?

I couldn’t be happier with my movies, but I think I would associate that more with the set pieces inside of them. ’Cause I mean, those set pieces would be similar to my “Stevie Wonder has a vision in his mind of how it’s all supposed to work, and he’s gotta do each individual piece before he can get the mosaic.” But he knows how it’s supposed to be, and he knows how it’s supposed to sound, and he knows whether he did it or not. I’m not gonna write which ones I think are better than I thought and which ones I think aren’t quite there [laughs]. All in all, I’m very happy.

But when I go to start [filming] those sequences, it’s me at my most trepidatious. Because I see the sequence in my head, and it’s fucking amazing. It’s mine to screw up. If I don’t pull this off the way I imagine it should be, well then I’m not as good as I thought I was. And so it’s gotta be great; the cinematic stuff has got to be fantastic. But it’s because I just have high expectations for it.

If I don’t do it, it’s all my fault.

When I’m working with the singer of a band who’s essentially the director of a project, I’m trying to apply my creativity to help them realize their vision. And then on the flip side of that, when you’re the director, you have the vision but you can’t play all the instruments, for example, but you’re trying to pull these things out of different people. You don’t have as much control over the jobs that other people have to do…

I imagine that you just have to create the right kind of dialogue with those people. That you can hum it and beat it out in a way that they can really get it. Or you could be crazy frustrated.

So when you’re making a film, are you focused on the meta-narrative, or the thing in front of you?

I’m not really. Normally I’m just trying to tell my story. I try to keep it on the surface, knowing that the roots will go deep. I don’t know what the roots are right now, but I don’t want to know what the roots are. I want to write the tree.

But I’m trusting that the roots of the tree go deep. For the most part, I like to do all the subtextual work after the fact.

There’s that scene in the film where Rick forgets his lines on the Lancer set, and then he uses his shame to goad himself into delivering that transcendent, villainous performance [as a bad guy] with the little girl. We watch Rick go into a state of flow creating this villainous moment, but we also get to watch Leonardo DiCaprio in flow playing Rick.

So when you’re making a film about something like the movies, are you thinking about these meta-narratives? Or are you just thinking about character and story, and how does this film skate along?

Look, if I’m using Sonny Cheeba as my samurai master in Kill Bill, there’s a little bit of a meta-narrative going on. Same thing a little bit with Pam Grier in Jackie Brown. If I’m using a character who’s famous for a certain genre, and I’m doing one of my weird versions of that genre, yes. But when I’m writing on the page, it’s not Sonny Cheeba. It’s just a character. So for the most part, I’m just kinda trying to tell my story, and just deal with it.

I learned this a long time ago. When I was at the Sundance workshop, working on Reservoir Dogs, a bunch of resource directors there said “Have you done your subtext work?” And I said, “Well, what’s that?”

And they go, “Well, you think you know everything because you wrote it, but you don’t know everything! You do your subtext work.” And I actually thought it sounded like a neat idea, so I took a random scene, and I wrote down what this character and that character want from the scene, and what do I want the audience to get out of this scene?

And then even writing something as simple as, “Mr. Orange is shot and he’s bleeding to death, and he wants to be taken to a hospital,” I was surprised how much opened up. … And then I was like, “Oh yeah, this is really a father/son story, and Mr. White’s the father, and Mr. Orange is the son.” And it’s interesting how through the whole thing, Mr. White is telling Mr. Orange, “Don’t worry, when Joe gets here you’ll be fine. Wait for Joe, wait for Joe.” But then Joe gets there, and what does Joe do? Joe has come to the warehouse to kill Orange. And Mr. White has to choose between his surrogate father and his surrogate son. So he chooses his surrogate son. And actually, he’s wrong. But he’s wrong for all the right reasons.

So all that was really interesting. And when I was finished, I was like, wow, that was a really good experiment. That was really interesting! But I never want to do that again! I don’t want to know that I’m telling a father/son story. I want to tell a gangster story!

It’s nice to know that all that’s there, but I don’t need to be conscious of it as I’m doing it, per se.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

Since I’m a professional feminist, I have to ask about the scene where [Brad Pitt’s character] Cliff turns down the blowjob in the car because the girl is underage. It felt kind of good to watch that scene. And I was wondering if it was important. Like why that scene right now, today in time, even though this movie is a time capsule?

I appreciate that. I wasn’t at all trying to deal with the attitudes going on now, per se. But, in doing my research, especially when it comes to the girls in the Manson family, there were a lot of people who were having sex with a whole lot of underage girls [in 1969]. Especially at that time. And it was kind of like, not a thing. If you do the research on the Manson family, all the famous people that were associated with them to one degree or another, whether it be Dennis Willson or Terry Melcher — they all had sex with underage girls in the Manson family. Like numerous, multiple times.

And all those rock stars living in Laurel Canyon, it was just what was going on in 1968 and ’69, and people had a sliding scale about it. And the thing is, Cliff isn’t a sophisticated, Dennis Wilson-like rock star. He’s an older dude who comes from a world of, “No, you go to jail for a year and a half for having sex with a 14-year-old.” So he means it when he says, “I’m not going to jail for poontang!”

So it really was a character-driven decision.

Right. It was a character-driven decision. And rather than being a comment on now, it was a comment on how much that was happening back then. When [Pussycat, the teenage girl] says the line, “Wow, I can’t believe you’re asking me [about my age], are you joking?” she means it.

There’s this moment that I love in OUATIH when Cliff and Rick are having their uncoupling celebration. They each get super hammered in their own way. [Laughs.] And I interpreted this moment as their supreme intoxication being a cocoon for each of them, so when the Manson family comes in [to kill them], they’re protected by this innocence of intoxication, and they just slip into their on-camera roles [of stunt double and hero]. They go, in real-life, into these flow states of self-protection.

Wow. Ok, look, I wasn’t thinking about that, but I buy that. That’s actually a very good reading. That wasn’t a subtextual architecture going on, but that completely works.

Once Upon A Time In Hollywood

So in looking at this line between fiction and reality, we have two guys who in their real lives are actors who have these violent jobs where they kill bad guys, who then click into this moment of real-world self-defense, complete with a flamethrower thing. And in the process, they save their own lives, and they save Sharon Tate’s life, and they change the course of history.


So throughout the whole movie, and this has been a theme in my work, there’s kind of a duality at play. And now here, almost the entire architecture of the movie is about the duality. Because a weird way, Rick and Cliff are very close friends, and they’ve been with each other for a long time — but they’re almost the opposites of each other in almost every way.

Starting with their personalities: Rick is full of high drama and anxiety about what he’s going through, but it’s all anxiety of his own making. He actually has a pretty fucking great life. He just doesn’t appreciate it, because he wants something else. Where Cliff seemingly doesn’t have a great life at all, but he seems to be completely at peace with where he is and who he is, and even his place. “Every day above ground’s a good day!” You know? He has almost a zen quality, where Rick is just tied up in neuroses.

And even their whole relationship: Rick’s job is to pretend to be an action cowboy hero, but it’s Cliff who does the real dangerous stuff.

It’s implied in the movie that Cliff is a real-life war hero. Well, Rick plays a hero. Rick was a hero.

Now [further into the story], Rick’s playing villains. Maybe Cliff killed his wife. So Rick plays bad guys, and maybe Cliff is really a bad guy.

It keeps going down to the very aspect of when Rick is on [the set for Lancer, a fictional show within the movie], he’s standing up to these cowboys and there’s all this stuff that’s going on on this Western set, and this big cowboy drama going on. And then Cliff finds himself on the Western set of Spahn Ranch [where the Manson family lives], and now he’s acting out masculine cowboy fantasies, but with some of the biggest killers of the 20th century.

Right, and Cliff’s doing it in his real life.

And he’s doing it in real life. And to some degree, even Sharon Tate and Margaret Qualley’s Pussycat are almost doppelgangers. They both spend the movie moving around Los Angeles. Pussycat by hitchhiking, Sharon by driving. They just seem to be covering a whole lot of ground, coming up, doing their day. Going wherever the day takes them!

But this is because we brought up the dualities.

Yeah! So in that vein, within the creative world of the film, there’s this line between fiction and reality. Rick and Cliff cross that line successfully.

That even continues that day. The idea that I’m cutting back and forth between Rick and Cliff, and how they spend their night, and Sharon and Jay and their friends spend their night. Even to the point that Sharon and Jay go to El Coyote, which is like the cool vibey Hollywood Mexican bar, and they go to Casa Vega, which is the cool, vibey Valley Mexican bar.

And there’s the line between the movie world where Sharon lives, and history where Sharon doesn’t live.

I think when it came to putting my male characters in that situation, it was coming more from the idea that Cliff is a very interesting, troubled, complicated guy. And there’s a world and a situation where he could really, really be a bad guy.

But in that exact situation, maybe the bad guy is the best guy. [Laughs.]

Last question: Acid has a little cameo in this movie. The Manson family uses it for indoctrination, and Cliff uses it for his uncoupling rager moment. Have you done acid?

I haven’t done acid in a long, long time.

But yeah.

Anna Bulbrook is an interdisciplinary artistic director, creative curator and programmer, and speaker/writer at the intersection of music, pop culture, ideas, and social justice. Bulbrook is the founder and leader of Girlschool, the Los Angeles-based feminist creative-producing organization that uses interdisciplinary emerging culture to imagine paths forward. She is also a professional musician with an RIAA-Certified Gold Record from a decade as the violinist in major-label rock band the Airborne Toxic Event, plus additional credits with Edward Sharpe + The Magnetic Zeros, Sia, Beyoncé, Vampire Weekend, Kanye West, and more.

This article was produced in partnership with Columbia Records.

The post How Quentin Tarantino Thinks About Music And Film appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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kalli Now Playing? The Most Played Music At The Discogs Offices

If you work for Discogs, you have to like music. More accurately, you have to live and breathe music. Even if this sounds like a cult requirement, this is true and we think it makes a lot of sense, given that all employees are exposed to music in the office at all times. Unsurprisingly, the music channel is one of the most active channels in the Discogs company chat. It is the place to play your latest finds, share your passions with your colleagues, show off your exquisite musical knowledge and preferences and (playfully!) mock your coworkers for their terrible taste.

But while the channel is interesting in the day to day, there was no way to get a historical overview of what music was getting played the most at Discogs offices. I thought it would be interesting to dig into this data so I parsed through 49.114 messages from our music channel, starting on March 2014 and ending on May 14th, 2019.

I found 3,306 messages about what people were playing or listening to at that given moment. For each of those messages, I called the Discogs API for the relevant release information and based on this data I compiled some statistics on that music, the results of which you can find below.

There’s a couple of caveats. There’s no standard to whether or how people announce what’s currently hitting their eardrums. Some of my colleagues are very good at telling their colleagues what they are playing in a standardized format, while others are terrible at announcing what they are playing at all. I also only included Discogs release or master links, so there’s no Bandcamp, Spotify, YouTube, SoundCloud or livestreams in there. But with those disclaimers out of the way, let’s dig into the data1.

Artists and labels

All in all 2,498 artists have been mentioned in the channel, with an average of 1,37 plays per artists, a fairly long tail distribution. Coming in at first place, with 96 plays we have the legendary various, but excluding that placeholder, below are the 27 artists that have received more than 5 plays (the number of plays is the number after the artist names):

An eclectic mix for sure, some jazz and rock classics along with newer more electronic fare. You can view the rest of the artists played (and all the other data) in this spreadsheet.

For labels, we’ve played releases on 964 of them, with an average of 1.66 plays per label. I think we get a bit of music nerd cred from the fact that Blue Note and Warp Records have been played more than any of the major labels. Here are the 33 labels that have received more than 5 plays:

Styles and Genres

Electronic and rock are by far the most played genres. Coming in close but with more than 4 times as many plays as Pop, Jazz, Funk/Soul and Hip Hop which are the next genres on the list.

For styles, we seem to like our music Experimental. We’re also into Ambient, Indie Rock, Downtempo and Techno.

Time keeps on slipping

We seem to play mostly new music, music from the 2010s features way more than any golden oldies:

And if we look at when we’ve played the most music, it seems to be ramping up all the time. This makes sense, there are more people working at Discogs and more and more communication on the music channel.

Broken down by month, we play noticeably more music in the months of October and November. I can’t think of why this is, happy to hear your theories about it!


Emoji reactions to messages feature on 1,378 of 3,306 music messages (around 42%). These are the top 10 most used emojis:

  1. ❤ – 749
  2. 👍 – 327
  3. 👏 – 102
  4. 😍 – 75
  5. 👍🏾 – 66
  6. 👌 – 65
  7. – 62
  8. 💯 – 56
  9. 🔥 – 52
  10. 👍🏼 – 44

Again you can find the full list of most used emoji reactions in the data spreadsheet. I hope you enjoyed these findings and that you know more about the soundtrack to the Discogs office.2

  1. The message matching was simple, I looked for messages that contained links to Discogs releases and phrases like “now playing”, “now spinning”, “currently listening to” and so on (42 phrases in total). It is very likely that I missed some messages and got some false positives, but I think this is probably a representative sample none the less. The code I wrote is a mess that I’m too embarrassed to share, but do reach out if you want to hear about the details, I am happy to discuss further.  ↩
  2. Photo credit Adrian Korte, Unsplash ↩

The post Now Playing? The Most Played Music At The Discogs Offices appeared first on Discogs Blog.

from Discogs Blog

loquearde Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold In Discogs Marketplace For June 2019

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The beginning of August might not be the time when you are thinking: Which expensive records were sold on Discogs? You might be more worried about not getting sunburnt on a nice beach, finishing that incredibly addictive book you started days ago, eating outstanding amounts of seafood… We know what’s up. But if you’re still around and you are curious about some incredibly rare, expensive items sold in our Marketplace. We’re here for you, as always.

Even if June might not seem like the craziest month for record hunting, our numbers speak about a different reality. In June 2019, no item out of this Top 30 moved hands to its new lucky owner for less than $1103. Nothing new for those of you following this blog, we even dedicated a full article to the topic some months ago.

But you know what’s actually new? June’s most expensive record. You’ve probably never seen it before since this is the first time that it has ever been sold on Discogs. There isn’t a whole lot of information available about it. We can tell you that it’s a Free Jazz record released in Sweden on the label Bird Notes. Apparently, there might be less than 10 copies available worldwide. Scroll down to solve the mystery of our latest number 1.

And of course, have a look to all the records in between, including hidden gems such as a Japanese original copy of Down On The Street by The Stooges released in 1970 or a Portuguese copy of Space Oddity by David Bowie. Enjoy!

  1. Galadriel (4) - Galadriel

    Galadriel (4) – Galadriel

    Sold for $1103.00 Label: Polydor
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Australia
    Released: 1971
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Prog Rock

  2. Lust (9) - I Still Love You Girl / I Like Spending My Time With You

    Lust (9) – I Still Love You Girl / I Like Spending My Time With You

    Sold for $1123.00 Label: Cash Records (9)
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1984
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Disco, Boogie, Soul

  3. The Rudies - Brixton Rocket / Rudies Joy

    The Rudies – Brixton Rocket / Rudies Joy

    Sold for $1124.00 Label: Fab
    Format: 7″
    Country: UK
    Released: 1969
    Genres: Reggae
    Styles: Reggae

  4. N'draman Blintch - Cosmic Sounds

    N’draman Blintch – Cosmic Sounds

    Sold for $1179.00 Label: Cosmic Sounds (2)
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Nigeria
    Released: 1980
    Genres: Electronic, Funk / Soul
    Styles: Disco, Funk

  5. The New Blockaders - Changez Les Blockeurs

    The New Blockaders – Changez Les Blockeurs

    Sold for $1200.00 Label: Not On Label (The New Blockaders Self-released)
    Format: LP, Ltd
    Country: UK
    Released: 1982
    Genres: Electronic
    Styles: Abstract, Noise, Experimental

  6. John Heartsman And Circles - Music Of My Heart

    John Heartsman And Circles – Music Of My Heart

    Sold for $1200.00 Label: Not On Label
    Format: 2xLP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1977
    Genres: Jazz, Funk / Soul, Blues
    Styles: Modern Electric Blues, Soul, Soul-Jazz

  7. Bob Dylan - The Cutting Edge 1965 – 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol.12: Collector’s Edition

    Bob Dylan – The Cutting Edge 1965 – 1966: The Bootleg Series Vol.12: Collector’s Edition

    Sold for $1222.00 Label: Columbia
    Format: 18xCD, Album + 9×7″, Mono, Mis + Box + Ltd, Num
    Country: US
    Released: 2015
    Genres: Rock, Blues, Folk, World, & Country
    Styles: Folk Rock, Blues Rock, Rhythm & Blues

  8. Virgin Insanity - Illusions Of The Maintenance Man

    Virgin Insanity – Illusions Of The Maintenance Man

    Sold for $1250.00 Label: Funky Record Co.
    Format: LP
    Country: US
    Released: 1972
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Folk Rock

  9. Laghonia - Etcetera

    Laghonia – Etcetera

    Sold for $1300.00 Label: Mag
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Peru
    Released: 1971
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Psychedelic Rock, Prog Rock

  10. J. P. Robinson - Keep Me Satisfied / Our Day Is Here

    J. P. Robinson – Keep Me Satisfied / Our Day Is Here

    Sold for $1348.00 Label: Blue Candle
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1974
    Genres: Funk / Soul

  11. Gorilla Biscuits - Gorilla Biscuits

    Gorilla Biscuits – Gorilla Biscuits

    Sold for $1348.00 Label: Revelation Records (8)
    Format: 7″, MP, Yel
    Country: US
    Released: 1988
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Hardcore, Punk

  12. Rush - Rush

    Rush – Rush

    Sold for $1389.00 Label: Moon Records (18)
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: Canada
    Released: 1974
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Hard Rock, Prog Rock

  13. The Norman Haines Band - Den Of Iniquity

    The Norman Haines Band – Den Of Iniquity

    Sold for $1438.00 Label: Parlophone, EMI
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: UK
    Released: 1971
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Hard Rock, Prog Rock

  14. Creation Of Sunlight - Creation Of Sunlight

    Creation Of Sunlight – Creation Of Sunlight

    Sold for $1455.00 Label: Windi Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1968
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Psychedelic Rock, Soft Rock

  15. Locke Saints Band - Opus One

    Locke Saints Band – Opus One

    Sold for $1499.00 Label: Saint City Records
    Format: 2xLP, Album, Gat
    Country: US
    Released: 1979
    Genres: Jazz, Funk / Soul
    Styles: Gospel, Soul

  16. Yahowha 13* - I'm Gonna Take You Home

    Yahowha 13* – I’m Gonna Take You Home

    Sold for $1500.00 Label: Higher Key Records
    Format: 2xLP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1974
    Genres: Jazz, Rock, Funk / Soul, Blues, Folk, World, & Country
    Styles: Stoner Rock, Experimental, Folk, Psychedelic

  17. The Tiara's - Loves Made A Connection / You're My Man

    The Tiara’s – Loves Made A Connection / You’re My Man

    Sold for $1500.00 Label: Seton Records
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: N/A

  18. Toby Jug & Washboard Band - Greasy Quiff

    Toby Jug & Washboard Band – Greasy Quiff

    Sold for $1500.00 Label: Not On Label
    Format: LP, Mono
    Country: UK
    Released: 1969
    Genres: Rock, Folk, World, & Country
    Styles: Psychedelic Rock, Folk, Folk Rock

  19. The Constellations - Easy To Be Hard / I Don't Know About You

    The Constellations – Easy To Be Hard / I Don’t Know About You

    Sold for $1624.00 Label: Gemini Star Records
    Format: 7″, Single
    Country: US
    Released: 1968
    Genres: Funk / Soul, Stage & Screen
    Styles: Soul, Musical

  20. Pearl Jam - Oct. 22, 2003 - Benaroya Hall

    Pearl Jam – Oct. 22, 2003 – Benaroya Hall

    Sold for $1685.00 Label: Ten Club
    Format: 4xLP, Album, Red + Box, Ltd
    Country: US
    Released: 2004
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Alternative Rock, Acoustic, Grunge

  21. ストゥージス* - ダウン・オン・ザ・ストリート = Down On The Street

    ストゥージス* – ダウン・オン・ザ・ストリート = Down On The Street

    Sold for $1685.00 Label: Elektra
    Format: 7″, Single
    Country: Japan
    Released: 1970
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Garage Rock

  22. Queen - A Kind Of Magic

    Queen – A Kind Of Magic

    Sold for $1700.00 Label: EMI
    Format: LP, Album, Blu
    Country: Colombia
    Released: 1986
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Pop Rock, Synth-pop

  23. Ya Ho Wha 13 - To The Principles, For The Children

    Ya Ho Wha 13 – To The Principles, For The Children

    Sold for $1900.00 Label: Higher Key Records
    Format: LP, Album
    Country: US
    Released: 1975
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Avantgarde, Psychedelic Rock

  24. Betty Wilson (2) And The 4 Bars - All Over Again / I'm Yours

    Betty Wilson (2) And The 4 Bars – All Over Again / I’m Yours

    Sold for $2000.00 Label: Dayco Records
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1967
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Soul

  25. Pink Floyd = ピンク・フロイド* - Not Now John / Your Possible Pasts = ノット・ナウ・ジョン/ユア・ポッシブル・パスツ

    Pink Floyd = ピンク・フロイド* – Not Now John / Your Possible Pasts = ノット・ナウ・ジョン/ユア・ポッシブル・パスツ

    Sold for $2000.00 Label: CBS/Sony, CBS/Sony
    Format: 7″, Single, Promo
    Country: Japan
    Released: 1983
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Psychedelic Rock, Classic Rock

  26. Arthur Foy - Love Dreams / Get Up And Dance

    Arthur Foy – Love Dreams / Get Up And Dance

    Sold for $2100.00 Label: MCS Records (4)
    Format: 7″
    Country: US
    Released: 1980
    Genres: Funk / Soul
    Styles: Soul

  27. Braen E Raskovich - Drammatico

    Braen E Raskovich – Drammatico

    Sold for $2250.00 Label: Panda Records (2)
    Format: LP
    Country: Italy
    Genres: Electronic, Stage & Screen
    Styles: Score, Experimental

  28. The Misfits* - Bullet

    The Misfits* – Bullet

    Sold for $2499.00 Label: Plan 9
    Format: 7″, EP
    Country: US
    Released: 1978
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Punk

  29. David Bowie - Space Oddity

    David Bowie – Space Oddity

    Sold for $2808.00 Label: Philips, Philips
    Format: 7″, Single, Mono, Lar
    Country: Portugal
    Released: 1969
    Genres: Rock
    Styles: Classic Rock

  30. Bengt Nordström, Allan Wajda, Bernt Rosengren, Fredrik Norén, Bosse Skoglund, Lalle Svensson, Bo Wärmell - BRA 2

    Bengt Nordström, Allan Wajda, Bernt Rosengren, Fredrik Norén, Bosse Skoglund, Lalle Svensson, Bo Wärmell – BRA 2

    Sold for $3451.00 Label: Bird Notes
    Format: LP
    Country: Sweden
    Genres: Jazz
    Styles: Free Jazz

The post Top 30 Most Expensive Items Sold In Discogs Marketplace For June 2019 appeared first on Discogs Blog.

from Discogs Blog

Discogs Staff Discogs Launches NearMint: The Answer To Your Inventory Management Prayers

Today we have a big announcement for professional record sellers. We are launching a new inventory platform: NearMint.

For professional sellers and stores with inventory numbers in the 1000s to the 100,000s, keeping inventory up-to-date can be very challenging and usually involves juggling CSV files instead of shipping orders. NearMint will be providing the tools that allow sellers to manage their inventory smarter, thrive in the marketplace and grow their business without drowning in CSV files.

“For years I ran a small business on Discogs as a side hustle, always looking for better ways to minimize the mundane data processes to focus my time on finding better collections to buy and grow the business,” said NearMint creator and Managing Director Daniel Spijker. “I had been looking for a tech solution for a long time, but never found something and eventually started working on my own, which turned into NearMint.”

At Discogs, our community is at the very core of everything we do. So since embarking on this project we interviewed over a hundred sellers and built many of NearMint’s features in direct response to the challenges of sellers in today’s connected, multi-channel world. We have also invited some sellers to join the beta program and use NearMint to manage their inventories. This is what they are telling us about their experience so far with NearMint:

Using NearMint has significantly increased our listing productivity and allows us to list and sell more stock, making a real impact to our business.

Brian, Philadelphia Music

Sameer from 3345 Records using NearMint to manage his record and CD inventory

Sameer from 3345 Records using Nearmint in his record store

Last Record Store Day we used NearMint to upload and manage all our RSD titles in the right quantity. This allowed us to continue selling our stock all through the night without flooding the marketplace, and more importantly without any manual work. NearMint is an essential development for professional Discogs users!

Sameer, 3345vinylrecords 

A great inventory management tool. Lightning fast way to add new items for sale or to modify large selections of the inventory in bulk. The endless possibilities have ensured that I keep using it throughout the entire working day to process all the mutations of my online record store.

Roy, 430AM Studio

NearMint currently offers direct integration to Discogs for creating new listings one by one in a streamlined listing flow, or in bulk with advanced file upload and auto-matching functionality. Sellers also get more control over their business, with different logins for their employees, change logs per item and a dashboard with reports on their inventory over time.

To better manage their inventory, sellers can add quantity, tags and use comment templates, and always have access to the latest Discogs marketplace stats. Promotional campaigns are easier than ever through the NearMint platform. Sellers can easily change prices per item or in bulk, and add promotional texts to let our users know about it.

NearMint already manages over 1.9M inventory items for a number of sellers who were part of the beta program, and will soon roll out further to sellers worldwide.

Visit for more information and to sign up for the waiting list.

The post Discogs Launches NearMint: The Answer To Your Inventory Management Prayers appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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Discogs Staff Interview With Discogs Seller minty-vinyl

We interviewed Guenter Herke, a prolific seller of Discogs and mastermind behind eccentric label Slowboy Records. His shop in Düsseldorf, also called Slowboy Records, is a treasure trove of rare and in-demand vinyl. We caught up on the inspiration behind his label, that one time Henry Rollins dropped by the shop after closing, and a record he could never possibly sell. A collector for nearly three decades, Guenter has some great stories to share!

What is your role, can you give us a bit of background on yourself?

My name is Guenter Herke. I have been collecting records for about 27 years. Selling records has been my main job for 15 of those years. I am the owner of Slowboy Records in Düsseldorf, Germany, and the Discogs shop minty-vinyl. I also run a small label called Slowboy Records.

Can you tell us a bit about Slowboy Records and its history?

Slowboy started as a label around 2000 with a release by the touch and go band Enon. We soon released all different kinds of genres from free jazz to punk.

Releases on our label include music from Bonnie Prince Billy, Billy Childish, EA80, Peter Brötzmann, Thee Ohsees, Brian Eno & David Byrne, Fucked Up, and more.

We later we opened a record store. Included was an art-gallery with music-related art and a concert-space in front. After more than 80 exhibitions and concerts in 12 years we closed.

Later, I reopened a new/smaller shop inside the 69m2 concept store, where I also have my working space and my archive.

What made you decide to start your own label, and can you tell us a bit more about the label?

A huge influence was/is Tim Kerr from the Big Boys, an old 1980’s texas punk legend. We re-released their first lp Where is my Towel?. It was originally self-released in 1979 and has a DIY against all odds spirit, a silkscreened and hand-painted cover and very clever punk music. We have tried to mostly follow that path in a straight line.

What do you enjoy most about your work?

Listening to music all day.

What was your most unexpected find in recent years?

Finding a 1950’s Sun Ra record at a small record fair near the end of the day. It wasn’t in the 1€ bin, but it was fairly priced and made my day.

If we were digging through your personal collection, what would we find?

All kind of genres. Mostly underground music or a little aside the mainstream. A lot of early UK DIY, Killed By Death (KBD), US punk, but also jazz, avantgarde, krautrock and new wave records.

Is there a record that you would never sell? Which one and why?

Basil Kirchin - Worlds Within Worlds album cover

Basil Kirchin – Worlds Within Worlds Part I+II

Released in 1971 on Columbia. For me, it has everything: great music, great artwork, a mystical journey, far ahead of its time, and still really unique. Besides that, there are a hundred more records I would never sell…

What is your best memory about record selling?

When Henry Rollins walked in a day after we closed our old store and spent a lot of time and even some money. It was the perfect finish for a nice time we had. He is such a nice guy to meet and I was so impressed with his musical knowledge and sense of humor. I patiently answered all his questions 🙂

What is your favorite record shop to visit and why?

In Germany: Black Plastic in Dortmund. You can find everything here: from cheap to expensive, from jazz to metal. It is always worth a visit when you are around.

In the Netherlands: Vinylspot in Rotterdam. It is the best shop for jazz, but also nearly all other genres.

Lex has always a huge selection of rarities.

How do you see the future for record shops?

I think, if you are able to offer the right records for the right price and combine your record shop with a good internet-presence it can work.

What is your number one tip for buyers and/or sellers on Discogs?

Be respectful, patient and friendly. There is always a solution if there is a problem.

Anything else you would like us to know?

I hope that Discogs will never be sold to a company like Amazon or eBay.

Check out the records available at the minty-vinyl Discogs shop and follow the Slowboy Records label for updates on upcoming releases!
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The post Interview With Discogs Seller minty-vinyl appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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Discogs Staff Genres And Styles On Discogs

It’s in our nature to try and organize the creative output of humanity. Categorizing music is part of this habit. We are driven to make sense of the world’s recordings, in part, by grouping them with other recordings that sound alike. When describing music to others, it’s common to relate a recording to a genre or subgenre to help explain how it sounds. And when you’re record shopping, you have likely noticed shops that organize first by genre and then by artist name. Applying genre labels is a universal way to talk about music.

bins organized by genre and artist name

We understand that there are known flaws to these labels. The definitions of music genres and styles are often fuzzy. They can be applied subjectively even if the style’s definition is well-established. Yet labeling music with a style can help guide a qualitative understanding that is otherwise difficult to communicate. And in grouping music releases together by style, we can extrapolate their collective qualities to show some interesting connections. Which is exactly what we’ve been working on in the last few months. We’re going to dig into some high-level data in this article, so if you’re just interested in exploring all of the genres and styles, skip to the full list here.

The Birds Eye View

Discogs has always been connected to music genres. When Kevin Lewandowski started the website in 2000, it was designated as a database for Electronic music only. Today, Discogs is on a mission to build the biggest and most comprehensive music database and marketplace. To satisfy the most comprehensive part of the mission, the floodgates have been opened and many more genres and styles have been added. There are now 15 genres, with 540 styles acting as sub-genres.

bin with many different styles of music

Interesting Observations about Discogs Genres and Styles

  • The median amount of releases a style tag is connected to is 7,323.
  • The most prevalent style is Pop Rock, with more than 640,000 releases tagged.
  • The least used style tag is the newly added Cobla, a traditional music ensemble native to Catalonia, with just 14 tagged releases in the database. We’ve discussed this before, but non-Western releases are often underrepresented on Discogs. We’ve been translating submission guidelines and reaching out to new audiences to try and fill these gaps.
  • The Electronic genre has the most styles under it at 119. Rock is close behind with 96, followed by Folk, World & Country at 90.
  • The Children’s and Stage & Screen genres each have only 4 styles connected to them.

Here’s a breakdown of the relative distribution of genres on Discogs, based on how many times it has been used as a tag:
Genre distribution of Discogs releases

Nearly 50% of all Discogs releases are tagged as either Rock or Electronic. With just about 40% of all styles falling under the umbrella of these two genres, that is hardly surprising.

We can also gauge the relative popularity of genres by looking at which releases have been added to Discogs Collections and grouping them by tag. Here’s the relative share of genre popularity in 2019:
popularity of collected music by genre on Discogs

We can see that Rock has outsized popularity, with nearly 40% of all Collection additions in 2019 being tagged as a Rock release, despite a relative share of only 26% of releases in the Database. Combined with Electronic music, almost 60% of all releases added to Collections in 2019 are classified as Rock and/or Electronic.

How Styles are Added to Releases on Discogs

Releases are connected to styles and genres through the use of community-added tags. Any contributor is able to edit a release genre or style, hopefully encouraging collaboration and refinement of usage over time.

As acknowledged above, styles are often ambiguous. Music styles, though often rooted in history and fact, can also be applied subjectively since many style definitions are imprecise. I’ll quote Chief Discography / Data Officer u/Nik here in a forum post:

The genres should be thought of as massive generalizations, or convenient bucket names. They are for sure not scientifically precise. They are intended to be as large as possible, not as exact as possible. Having a limited number of top-level genres was important to the manageability of the data and ease of data entry.
Users can edit styles on Discogs, hopefully leading to a more well-rounded designation. In addition, every genre and style page has a description that is editable by contributors. If a style is being improperly attributed, a better description could help limit misuse.

With that in mind, we have not made major changes to how genres and styles are added to releases on Discogs. We have simply looked for ways to connect and show the existing data available. Maybe these pages will help you discover new music. Ideally, they will help refine the use of genre and style tags over time. At the very least, they are a good way to kill some time by looking at Discogs releases in a new way.

If you are interested in suggesting a music style be officially added to Discogs, please submit a request to this forum thread. Discogs has been conservative in adding new styles in the past, so no guarantees here, but we consider everything submitted to the forum.

Connecting the Data

Based on how releases are tagged by contributors to Discogs, we have compiled the following for each style and genre in the Database:

  • Most collected releases
  • The earliest releases
  • Prominent musicians
  • Releases by decade
  • Top contributors
  • Trending releases based on sales in the marketplace
  • Related styles
  • All releases in the database
  • All items in the marketplace
  • A contributor-added description

Now it’s time to get digging. Explore the full list of genre and style pages.

The post Genres And Styles On Discogs appeared first on Discogs Blog.

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