Indie has grown a lot since we started as a record company. What were once independent artists are now often indistinguishable from their major label peers. What were once zine-back mail order music "companies" (i.e., kids with stacks of records in their bedrooms mailing them out to people who sent in $2; or half the time trading them for other records) are now lucrative distribution centers, complete with online stores and bicoastal warehousing.
Now, for the record, we think this is great. Nothing pleases us more than to see a grassroots undertaking soar to the heights of success. We love to see talented people with good ideas rewarded for doing what they love to do. Props a'plenty.
At the same time, however... as a genre, indie's head has outgrown its body, and now it's lolling about like a drunken marionette. Financial ventures now recognize the inherent profitability of the indie rock market, and are cashing in. The result is often (though by no means always) more product than substance; more varnish than volume. Certain deserving artists benefit from this, and are able to navigate the existing structure without compromising their music; but the hipster quotient is high, and scenesterism is thick. Again, our aim is not to judge or condemn this, but we have to admit, sometimes we sit here and look around wondering what the hell happened. Where did all the self-made bands go? ...the hungry fans, the tiny but packed shows, the d.i.y. releases? While it makes us happy to hear some of our favorite artists' songs in commercials, thus hauling in cash by the truckload, it makes us think that maybe, just maybe, the original spirit of the movement has gotten covered over a bit.
So in the midst of all this, we find that the term "indie" no longer represents what we as a label wish to accomplish. There's too much baggage to it--too many assumptions made when people hear the term. It's too vague now. So we're coining ourselves sceneless, not to sink into a further level of snobbery, but to differentiate ourselves from the bloated, heaving mass that is much of "independent" rock nowadays. Is an indie band with a $50,000 recording budget really independent anymore? We don't think so. Again, it's not something we're against, but it is something we're separate from.
You're thinking, "Okay, so now I know what Rotary-Dial isn't, but I have no clue what it is!" Well, we're a small independent record label... "Wait a second! I thought you said you weren't indie! What gives? If you're independent, what are you independent of?" Money, for one. We're just a small group of people who love music and want good musicians to thrive regardless of their commercial viability. This is not to say that we are against commercial success--far from it. That just isn't the reason we're here. If, by extension of doing what we love, we make money, great. If not, great. We're still just doing what makes us happy. We have an Ethic that guides us in matters of business, but apart from that, we're not much different from any other small company.