This Pitchfork Article Made A Vinyl-Only Label Go Digital
If you were confused by DJ Sotofett releasing his first-ever digital record this week with the conspicuous title “Philip Sherburne, your word should be worth more than the ignorance of Pitchfork,” then allow us to explain the shady title.
It’s clearly a reference to “The Holdouts: An Exploration Of Vinyl-Only Labels In The Digital Age”, a large feature the stalwart dance music writer (Sherburne) published on Pitchfork last week. The article discusses everything to do with record labels that eschew digital files in favor of wax releases, and it stars Sex Tags Mania’s enigmatic founders Stefan and Peter Mitterer—Stefan is DJ Sotofett—among other industry representatives from distribution companies and beyond. Sherburne’s article paints vinyl devotees as a principled contingent of entrepreneurs who defy basic market imperatives to grow and expand—the same capitalist logics that, ironically, contributed to the dramatic decline of online dance music retailer Beatport.
“The Holdouts” also explores the controversial questions that come up when discussing these elusive and often expensive records: are the label owners anti-democratic by limiting the reach of the music? Are vinyl labels really more detrimental to the environment than digital releases? Do digital retailers rip off labels by reporting that they sold fewer files than they actually did? Do vinyl labels manipulate prices on the secondhand Discogs market via scalping of limited-edition releases? We actually tackled that very topic in our own in-depth investigation of Discogs scalping, which you can read here.