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Our Noise : The Story of Merge Records, the Indie Label That Got Big and Stayed Small
by John Cook and Mac MacCaughan and Laura Ballance


Overview - Merge Records defies everything you ve heard about the music business. Started by two twenty-year-old musicians, Merge is a lesson in how to make and market great music on a human scale. The fact that the company is prospering in a failing industry is something of a miracle.  Read more...

 
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More About Our Noise by John Cook; Mac MacCaughan; Laura Ballance
 
 
 
Overview
Merge Records defies everything you ve heard about the music business. Started by two twenty-year-old musicians, Merge is a lesson in how to make and market great music on a human scale. The fact that the company is prospering in a failing industry is something of a miracle. Yet two of their bands made the Billboard Top 10 list; more than 1 million copies of Arcade Fire's Neon Bible have been sold; Spoon has appeared on Saturday Night Live and The Tonight Show; and the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs is a contemporary classic.
In celebration of their twentieth anniversary, founders Mac and Laura offer first-person accounts with the help of their colleagues and Merge artists of their work, their lives, and the culture of making music. Our Noise also tells the behind-the-scenes stories of Arcade Fire, Spoon, the Magnetic Fields, Superchunk, Lambchop, Neutral Milk Hotel, and Butterglory. Hundreds of personal photos of the bands, along with album cover art, concert posters, and other memorabilia are included.

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Details
  • ISBN-13: 9781565126244
  • ISBN-10: 1565126246
  • Publisher: Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill
  • Publish Date: September 2009
  • Page Count: 289


Related Categories

Books > Biography & Autobiography > Business
Books > Music > Business Aspects
Books > Music > Genres & Styles - Rock

 
Publishers Weekly Reviews

Publishers Weekly® Reviews

  • Reviewed in: Publishers Weekly, page 44.
  • Review Date: 2009-07-06
  • Reviewer: Staff

Freelance reporter Cook and Merge cofounders McCaughan and Ballance trace the history of the North Carolina–based record label that started in a bedroom and now releases some of indie rock's biggest names. The story is composed as a book-long conversation between McCaughan and Ballance (also founding members of Superchunk, hailed as the next Nirvana in the 1990s and one of Merge's first major hits) and myriad other voices from the music industry. Started in 1989 in Chapel Hill, Merge always put music and musicians first, with McCaughan and Ballance hand-stuffing the label's first seven-inch releases and eschewing contracts in an effort to keep things friendly. In a prime example of its dedication to artistic vision over pure profit, Merge took a gamble on Stephin Merritt and Magnetic Fields's ambitious three-disc opus, 69 Love Songs, when any major label would have balked. That record made numerous top 10 lists in 1999 and has sold more than 150,000 copies. While some of the label's artists may be beyond the scope of the casual music fan, bands like Magnetic Fields, Spoon and Arcade Fire demonstrate how vital Merge is to the indie rock landscape. (Sept. 15)

 
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