Seattle Weekly deserves a lot of credit for its 2/25 report on local indie record labels ("Beyond Sub Pop"). Your picks were right on. Most


Electronic music

Seattle Weekly deserves a lot of credit for its 2/25 report on local indie record labels ("Beyond Sub Pop"). Your picks were right on. Most important, you reminded Seattle that much of what's great in the music business comes from passionate, small companies working closely with artists to make music they love.

But "labels" in the traditional sense are no longer the whole story in the music business. As music fans and artists alike turn to the Internet for better, cheaper ways to distribute material, the online world is radically changing the music business. MP3s, interactive Web sites, and electronic commerce matter as much or more than traditional retail does today for many indies. In fact, a number of the labels you profiled use the Web as a critical element in their efforts to reach more fans.

In the future, I urge you to take the next step: Stop thinking about the record "business" as originally defined by the major labels, and start thinking about all the ways that great music can find fans in a wired world.

Richard Mockler

Chair, RockBoss International

Ed.: No grass grows under our feet. Check out "Computing Power to the People," 3/4.

Top of the heap

I would like to congratulate the Weekly on its feature on Seattle's independent record labels ("Beyond Sub Pop," 2/25). It's a good start, but unfortunately many key players in this community were overlooked. A follow-up story needs to be done on the truly independent labels that have stood the test of time and survived. They have done so by putting out innovative original releases by artists who normally would be overlooked by even the midlevel indie labels. For the last 10 years, Vagrant Records has put out many good records by bands that never quite fit the Seattle Sound niche, bands like the Boss Martians, Sick & Wrong, the Queen Annes, and the Blue Faces.

If holding the credo of the DIY (Do It Yourself) is part of being a successful independent label then your selections have truly made it to the top of the heap (but what heap, I am not sure). There are many more labels in this town that do what I do with Vagrant Records. I would hope that in the future, labels like Unit Circle Rekkids, Unlabeled Records, 206 Records, IRregular Records, RockBoss International, Good-Ink, the Hypsync Group, Right Up Front Recordings, and Ivy Records get the attention they deserve along with your list of the soon-to-be-successful.

Erik 4-A

Owner, Vagrant Records


I am writing this letter in response to the article of local record labels in Seattle ("Beyond Sub Pop," 3/4). First, let me say that I, as well as many others, appreciate the much deserved recognition that these local indie labels need. However, I must also say that your fact-finding mission was a little off, if not extremely far-reaching. Sub Pop is a definite force in our scene, but by no means the end all and be all of the indie market. All these labels would still be in existence if Sub Pop never broke into the mainstream.

And as far as the big 12 labels that you decided to focus on, your staff fell way short of focusing on the real influences in our scene. For example, they gave very little mention of the hip-hop label Jasiri Media Group. These guys have done, and are currently doing, more for the local urban scene than anyone. With the upcoming release of Maktub's first project and later the release of former Strange Voices singer Nikol Kollars, JMG is poised to create a huge buzz for Seattle.

Chris Gere

via e-mail

A Chief priority

As chief of police and co-chair of the city of Seattle's Domestic Violence Council, I wanted to extend my thanks to the Weekly and Geov Parrish for his 2/11 Impolitics column ("A Guy Thing"), which pointed out the need for men to take more responsibility for ending domestic violence. I know all too well that violent behavior of men in the home causes a legacy of social problems with enormous human and financial costs. The sad truth is that too many of America's families are a breeding ground of violence—what happens day and night in a large number of homes is literally a crime.

I have made the improved police response to domestic violence a very high priority and am very proud of the fact that the Seattle Police Department response to domestic violence is swift, sure, and complete. The number of domestic violence incident reports have increased from previous years, and officers are investigating more thoroughly, which enables batterers to be held accountable and links the victim and family with support services.

The improvements we have made are good, but much more needs to be done. As Mr. Parrish points out, most important is for all men to express outrage that this behavior has for too long has been deemed a "family matter." Men must challenge threatening, abusive, and violent behavior toward women wherever it occurs.

norm stamper

chief of police, SPD

A caring Campagne

As an employee of Campagne restaurant I was disgusted with the tone of your article "Tip Dancing" (2/25). Catherine Tarpley paints a picture of owner Peter Lewis as some sort of evil schemer, which, in my experience couldn't be further from the truth. First of all, as the article mentions, other restaurants in Seattle have adopted the practice of charging servers credit-card fees, some for many years. I worked in another establishment in the Pike Place Market for almost a decade and we always paid the house a percentage on our credit-card tips. That house charged different percentages for different card companies, which, in fact, added up to more than 2.5 percent. However, Mr. Lewis now charges his servers only 2.5 percent even though some of the fees are more than that. And the fact is, he has absorbed those fees for years.

As to whether this is a retaliation to Initiative 688, I don't know. Peter Lewis is an extremely generous employer. The yearly trip to Orcas Island is but one event and benefit of working at Campagne. How many noncorporate restaurants offer their employees medical and dental health insurance? Campagne does.

Most offensive was the caption under the photo of the Campagne sign: "Owner to wait staff: Your tips are mine!" Please. This typifies the kind of cheap journalism that infects the media today.

Kirsten A. Blackburn


Tea-ed off

Sigh, we were never warned how ephemeral fame could really be, even when our 15 minutes come up. I was delighted with your fine article on mat頨"Mat魩ng Ritual," 2/18), and so pleased at a nice quarter-page photo of myself and our fine tea shop/bookstore. Alas, what a letdown to be identified as another sweet twentysomething who was being interviewed rather than the crusty literary curmudgeon of my own self. Now that is an understandable error. But to have a whole article on mat頡t Wit's End and then have it not even listed in your box of mat頳ources. Come, come, even a dense Weekly writer could avoid that blooper.

Steve Herold

Wit's End Bookstore & Tea shop

Ed.: We regret botching Mr. Herold's 15 minutes, as we do the omission of Wit's End in the mat頲esource sidebar. To make amends, we offer the address here: Wit's End Bookstore and Tea Shop, 770 N 34th, Seattle, 547-2330.

Radio Free America

Thanks for the story on the recent FCC micro radio developments ("Radio Revolution or Airwave Anarchy?" 2/25), a long-sought victory for many activists who would like to see public airwaves serve public interests, not corporate profits. The fight isn't over; Ben Bagdikian's latest edition of The Media Monopoly identifies 10 corporations that currently dominate all print, broadcast, and entertainment media (down from 50 when the book was first published, before the Telecom Act of 1996). Like Studs Terkel says in the film Fear and Favor in the Newsroom, only if we are informed about what the powerful are up to can we use our power as citizens to stop them.

One thing your story did not mention was the pressure the FCC is under from Congress, corporate media's biggest lapdog, for even considering legalizing public use of the airwaves. So please, contact Community Powered Radio, a Seattle group campaigning for microradio legalization (, and find out what you can do to help with even 10 minutes of your time.

Eric Galatas

via e-mail

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