Interview received: November 25, 2016; April 9, 2016.
What is your name?
My name is Dimitar Kalinov and I represent Dusted Wax Kingdom netlabel.
Where are you located?
We are on world wide web, but personally I’m based in Varna, Bulgaria.
How do you define what is and what is not a netlabel?
First, netlabels publish music available strictly for free download. Second, everything is online, in digital format only. Of course there are some netlabels that put out physical releases for connoisseurs and collectors.
How and when did you first learn about netlabels?
I’m addicted to music. I looked for places on internet where I can legally download free music. And that’s the way I found out about netlabels. Later I released my debut EP with a Finnish netlabel called Lo-Kiwi. I was impressed and realized it’s a great tool to promote music and I started Dusted Wax Kingdom.
What was the first netlabel you heard of?
It’s Lo-Kiwi netlabel, I think.
What are some netlabels that inspired or influenced you? Or that you admire?
Lo-Kiwi, Dirtybird Rexx, Kahvi, Mahorka, Bump Foot.
What made you decide to start your own netlabel?
Guerilla marketing is a very powerful instrument to promote any product online. That’s what netlabels do. Every artist “connects” their audience to the netlabel and indirectly to the other artists. The more artists a netlabel has in its roster, the more connections and interactions appear.
What were the reasons you had to choose releasing music for free? And why did you choose to not release physical albums?
I believe that music should be free for personal use. We, the unknown artists, spend hours after hours in the studio to produce a track we could sell on a major music store for less than $1. We all create music for ourselves, but we also love to share it.
I love simple things. Why waste resources when we can minimize and make everything cheaper in just one-click distance? Releasing music with netlabels is like that: easy and handy to manage, publish and promote.
What is the name of your netlabel?
Dusted Wax Kingdom.
Why did you choose the name you chose?
Because we promote old school music, cooked with yummy jazzy, soulful, funky samples taken from forgotten old dusty wax records.
When did you start your netlabel?
Dusted Wax Kingdom was born on a very happy date of 07/07/2007.
What is the focus of you netlabel?
Organic samples-based music. It’s so rare to find music like this nowadays!
Are your albums released under creative commons, copyleft or copyright? Why did you choose the method you chose?
We picked Creative Commons: BY-NC-ND license. Dusted Wax Kingdom netlabel releases and promotes instrumental music and we don’t want rappers to ruin the idea of a pure tune to chill to. That’s why we don’t allow creating of derivative works.
What is your relationship to the artists that you release? Do you maintain any contact once you’ve released their work? Do you help promote them outside of their release itself?
We are like a one big family. We often collaborate and co-operate.
How do you decide what artists you want to release? Do you approach them? Do they approach you? Do you have any specific guidelines that you follow? Do you act as a curator or is it all luck of the draw?
Sometimes I contact the artists, sometimes they hit me up. We promote very specific music genres and our sound is organic. That makes Dusted Wax Kingdom is a very notable place on the web.
What are or were your criteria for the music you curate and release?
Strictly organic, samples based, dusty, oldschool sound. As simple as that.
What genres have you never released before, that you would love to release on your label or on a future label of yours?
Maybe a fusion between drone ambient and trip-hop beats.
Are there any artists that you have yet to release that you would like to work with? Or that you always wished you had been able to work with?
I wish I could make a compilation with unreleased tracks by some popular artists in downtempo genres.
How many albums have you released?
Currently, more than 330 releases.
Who are some of your most notable artists?
Oh, boy! All our artists are like my children! I love them all!
Which are some of your most significant releases?
I dunno! I love them all!
Do you release your own work on your netlabel? What do you think of that practice?
Yes, of course! That’s absolutely normal. I came across a netlabel (Webbed Hand Records) that releases different projects of just one music artist. That’s great and the netlabel is great!
What do you enjoy about running your netlabel? What do you get out of it?
I often say that I try to make music, so I can communicate with other people who try to make music. We all try to do something. When we do something we love, we are happy. And that’s the point of life.
What are some difficult things about running the label? Or what are some challenges?
When you love what you do, difficulties make you stronger and raise your experience level.
Has anything about it been disappointing or frustrating?
How much time do you put into running the label? Approximate hours per day, week or month?
I dunno. I used to put a lot of time into running Dusted Wax Kingdom. Now artists prefer to release their music themselves through Bandcamp. It’s a great tool and amazing business model. It could make all record labels change their priorities.
Can you describe all the work that you do on a regular basis in order to run your label?
Everything! From coming up with the conception, building the website, contacting artists, helping with licensing, promoting the releases/music events.
In what audio format and bitrate do you release your albums?
Audio files are in MP3 format, 320kbps, 44kHz, stereo. I wish more people used FLAC or OGG.
Why do you wish that?
Because they are open formats and they are not protected with patents.
Why did you choose that format?
It’s concurrence between the size of audio file and the quality.
Do you zip your files into a package? Or are/were the albums uploaded as individual files?
Albums are available as package. Tracks are available for download separately.
Aside from the audio files, do you include any other types of files or information with the album?
Yeah, sometimes artists include additional files – extra artworks, information, dedication, links.
What software programs do you use to run your netlabel? For converting and encoding audio, for metadata, for ftp, for making cover art, etc.
I’m a Linux user. I use open source applications – Audacity, GIMP, Easytag, VLC player.
Where do you share your releases? On your website? Free Music Archive? Internet Archive? Et all? A combination of these things?
Yeah, spread the word on all places on the web that I know.
What do you do to promote your label?
Sharing releases on biggest social networks and specific forums for netlabels and creative commons music.
Do you send releases out for review? If yes, is it traditional media – review sites, magazines, blogs, etc. Or are there non-traditional methods?
Nope! It’s like begging for attention. Let’s do things naturally! The law of attraction knows how to connect the dots!
How much success have you had in getting people to review your releases in magazines, blogs or websites? Any frustrations regarding this?
My focus is on promotion of quality music from talented artists, not on getting reviews. Great music brings reviews itself.
Have you had success in getting people in general to listen to your releases?
In the very beginning it was hard. I spent lots of time on gathering the right audience. But when you establish your name, it starts working for you.
Do you keep track of your download numbers and, if yes, how have they changed over the years?
I collect stats about downloads mainly to figure out how to reach the right audience in better way.
How important are download numbers and number of listeners to you?
It’s important for those who believe it’s important.
Do you feel that the lack of a physical object – vinyl, cassette, eight track, etc. – is a hindrance to building an audience? To getting any media to pay attention? If yes, why do you think that is the case?
You know, the stone age didn’t finish because we ran out of stones. It finished, because something changed. We discovered new and better things. The way, we prefer to listen music to, depends of what we’ve learned and discovered. In the end we all get the music as sounds in our ears.
Has the lack of a physical object been a problem for any of the artists that you have worked with? If it has how have you responded?
Nope! Dusted Wax Kingdom is a pure netlabel with digital online releases only. Artists know that really good.
In addition to promotion, publicity and releasing albums do you organize live performances or festivals for your artists?
Sometimes we organize and promote some live performances. And I think I should focus on that in future.
How do you finance your netlabel, including the labor you put into it?
Things work for now from donations. I’m happy to help artists getting to a wider audience. It’s priceless!
What do you think is your label’s legacy might be?
Keeping alive the organic samples-based music of early 90s.
Do you feel that you are filling a niche that other labels were not?
It happened naturally. Ninja Tune was a great inspiration. They were a true legend, but went into another direction.
What do you think about Bandcamp and any similar music hosting sites?
Bandcamp changed the music history and industry. It made most of record labels pointless. Bandcamp’s business model is amazing. Hope the human greed won’t “eat” this great place from inside. History shows that every successful organization sells out at some point. I’m really curious what will happen in future!
Do you think netlabels are sustainable? If yes, what do you think the future is for them? Should there be more?
Netlabels are very low budget organizations. We’ll see what will be.
Are there too many netlabels?
The number of netlabels is never enough, I think.
Will netlabels be obsolete before 2025?
Yeah, maybe they will fuse in a huge platform offering legally free music.
Does your netlabel align with any political or philosophical positions or thoughts? Do you get involved with politics at all as a netlabel?
Nope! Netlabels stand for freedom. Politics are everything, but a freedom.
Are you aware of a chronological history of netlabels? If yes, what is it?
It’s a long story for another interview, lol! 🙂
Is there anything else you would like to write about that wasn’t included here?
Thank for your interest in netlabels! More people like you and me should browse, search, learn and understand!
What questions would you ask other people who run netlabels?
I don’t ask. I just observe and I learn.