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Standard Recording goes non-profit

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Philips (left) and Latta in 2008.
  • Philips (left) and Latta in 2008.
More news from Pecha Kucha 10: Local, vinyl-leaning, indie-rock-ish label Standard Recording Company is going non-profit. Mark Latta, who founded Standard in 2002 with Kevin Philips, made the announcement somewhere near the close of his Pecha Kucha presentation, which made the argument for why labels should be more like non-profit arts institutions.

“In some ways, becoming a non-profit won't change much,” Latta explained to NUVO Monday. “We'll still have to set budgets and it's not as if money will suddenly fall from the sky…We'll still function very much like a ‘traditional’ label and be selective in what's released. But in other ways, it's a fundamental change, to recognize that a label has a role to play as an arts organization, that an artist shouldn't have to worry about if their release will turn a profit or not, that our primary motive should be supporting and exporting music, and that a label should be part of, and belong to, a community.”

“Will this work? Heck if I know. But it would be disingenuous of us to say, ‘the future of a label is to become more like a non-profit arts institution’ and then refuse to do that.”

He notes that, while labels like Folkways and Daemon Records have been non-profit from the beginning, he doesn’t know of any labels that have become a non-profit after beginning life as a for-profit entity.

Latta said the label plans to start 2011 as a non-profit, although, “a lot of paper work, additional research and hand shaking needs to take place this year in order to achieve this goal.”

And once non-profit status is achieved, the label hopes to take advantage of the kind of grant funding that’s long been available to visual artists, classical musicians, writers and the like. Latta: “It's important to stress that we aren't being naive about this: times are tough and grants are scarce, but we think there's room to recognize that a label can perform an essential community function worthy of community support. If we only receive an additional $500 in grant sponsored funding next year, that's still another $500 dollars we can give to an artist to use on the road or to help pay bills while they are taking time off work to tour or record.”

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