Buck Owens, M83 Among Record Store Day Releases
Buck Owens, M83 Among Record Store Day Releases

Essential Music & Marketing Expands to North America
Essential Music & Marketing, a U.K. and European indie distribution company, has launched a North American division, which will be headed by Erik Gilbert, who previously was VP of client strategy at IODA.

In opening up in New York City, Essential will offer American indie labels strategic global marketing and distribution services for Europe while providing European indie labels with marketing services and digital distribution in North America.

Essential, which distributes such labels as Arts &Crafts, Cooking Vinyl, Decon, Stones Throw, R&S Records, Easy Star, Unison Records, Fat Possum, Megaforce, Dine Alone, Luaka Bop, Prawn Song, Shout! Factory, Vagrant and Weathermaker in overseas markets, will be based in the Soho neighborhood of Manhattan, New York.

In a statement, Essential USA CEO Erik Gilbert said his goal is to build upon the success that Essential has achieved in the U.K. and Europe. "The rapidly changing physical and digital landscape offers a great opportunity for us to provide North American labels with a viable alternative to some of the leading distributors in UK and Europe, as well as provide marketing services in North America."

Redeye Lands London Labels
Redeye Distribution has landed two London-based labels for U.S. distribution, Wichita Recordings and Lex. Wichita Recordings' roster includes Frankie and the Heartstrings, Gruff Ryhs, and the Cribs; and its first new release being handled by Redeye is First Aid Kit's "The Lion's Roar," which will street Jan. 24.

Lex, which has issued albums by Danger Mouse, DOOM, and Neon Neon, will offer an album from Complex for its first Redeye release, sometime in the coming months.

Iggy Pop Named Record Store Day Ambassador
The indie retailers who bring Record Store Day to the world are already gearing up for the next one, which falls on Saturday, April 21. This year's Record Store Day ambassador is Iggy Pop, who offers his reasons why record stores are important.

"I got my name, my musical education and my personality all from working at a record store during my tender years," Pop said in a statement. "Personally I feel best in a store that, while staying small and socially relaxed, still keeps a complete variety of music types and non musical recordings on offer. I'm aware though that a lot of great places are genre-specific, like dance hall shops in Jamaica or Compas here in Little Haiti. In Europe and on the West coast the same goes on for Punk and Goth. All of this is cool and has a much bigger future than most people realize today."

In addition, the Record Store Day coalitions also chose as the "VINYLMANIA: When Life Runs At 33 Revolutions Per Minute," a film by Paolo Campana, as the official film for Record Store Day.

NARM Honors Epitaph Founder
In gearing up for its annual convention, NARM announced that its Independent Spirit Award will be presented to Epitaph Records founder and Bad Religion member Brett Gurewitz at the meeting, which will kick off on May 9 at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Los Angeles.

"Brett personifies the independent spirit, inspiring countless punk and indie bands through his work in Bad Religion and helping many of them reach their full potential at Epitaph Records, including The Offspring, Rancid, and NOFX," NARM president Jim Donio said in a statement. "His creative entrepreneurship and commitment to thinking outside the box make him a strong player in today's music industry."

Gurewitz co-founded seminal punk band Bad Religion in 1979, playing guitar and writing some of the band's best-known songs, including "Infected" and "21st Century Digital Boy." The band continues to record and release albums, with their most recent, 2010's "The Dissent of Man," reaching No. 35 on The Billboard 200 chart.

In 1987, Gurewitz established Epitaph Records, which has brought bands like the Offspring, Rancid, Pennywise and NOFX to the world. Moreover, in 1999 the label branched out with imprint Anti- Records in order to host a more eclectic and less classically punk roster, releasing albums from influential musicians such as Booker T. Jones, Mavis Staples, Solomon Burke and Tom Waits.

Past recipients of the Independent Spirit Award include Rachelle and Joe Friedman, founders of J&R Music & Computer World in New York; Don Van Cleave, formerly the president of the Coalition of Independent Music Stores (CIMS); and Tom Silverman, founder and CEO of Tommy Boy Entertainment.