PRAXIS: SOME IMPORTANT CHANGES IN OUR RETAIL OPERATION!

Praxis will start selling exclusively on our own online shop for a trial period of six months, suspending our presence on other platforms. Our aim is to improve presentation and service through our own shop where we can sell the whole range of records, books, CDs, magazines, merch, coffee, etc.

Not having to attend to the listing, communication, shipping, etc of the other platforms will free up time to improve the shop and to concentrate more on our own productions and releases.

Praxis is an independent underground record label and datacide is a printed ‘magazine for noise & politics’. Connected to these publishing activities we have built up a distribution and retail operation essentially to distribute and fund our productions. Our aim there was to be able to remain as independent as possible. We sought to develop networks with other like-minded labels and crews, trying to bypass the established distribution and media channels.

In the text “Critical Distribution” in Praxis Newsletter 23 from 2012, I explored various aspects of the developments of “underground” distribution networks and their relative decline, which was analysed as partly self-inflicted.

In the four years since the publication of this newsletter, there has been a certain resurgence in vinyl sales. However this seems to barely affect experimental electronic music, perhaps with the exception of some types of techno. The great beneficiaries of this trend have been major labels and mainstream artists, often in the form of re-releases in luxury gatefold sleeves and 180g vinyl, but also new releases by most current pop and rock stars. While this is a somewhat interesting development, it doesn’t contribute to any kind of counter-cultural direction.

A label like Praxis has not benefitted from this trend. Quite the contrary: vinyl pressing plants are tied up with lucrative deals with big labels. Most distributors and shops will no longer touch anything that exists in and explores areas between the established genres (including “experimental music”) and the small specialists who have done so are going out of business at an alarming rate.

In such an environment it had become more and more necessary to use any possible platform to retail an ever expanding range of titles. Maintaining our own website and physical store in Berlin, on top of our presence on amazon, booklooker, discogs, ebay, etc, has become ever more time-consuming with multi-platform listing and unlisting, keeping stocks up to date and corresponding with potential customers as well as the related social media activities – and finally shipping the orders. A situation has developed where these activities – which were meant to finance the label and publishing – have instead begun to paralyse it.

We are now taking a radical step and will suspend (nearly) all selling on platforms which are not our own for the coming six months. This will include amazon, discogs and ebay. This is an experiment which has a number of advantages and dangers.

We will be able to focus on the presentation of products and better service for orders in the Praxis online store and, crucially, will have more time to dedicate to the label, the magazine and forthcoming books.

The danger is that the economic situation will get worse in the short or mid term. Indeed if after six months the overall situation hasn’t improved, we may be forced to re-activate the sales accounts which we are now putting on hold. This would be regrettable because I, for one, think my time is better spent as a writer, musician and publisher.

The new issue of datacide is very close to publication and several records and books are in the pipeline, others ready for release. We’re excited to focus on these essentials!

Christoph Fringeli

 
 
 

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