- Justin Jones is the first artist signed to 9:30 records (publicity photo)
Northwest D.C. music venue the 9:30 Club announced last night that it is launching a record label, 9:30 Records.
Singer/songwriter Justin Jones, a Virginia native, is the label’s first artist. Jones is managed by Seth Hurwitz, chairman of I.M.P., and co-owner of the 9:30 Club. The first 9:30 Records release will be Jones’s The Little Fox EP.
“It’s no secret the traditional record business is in total disarray. But I’ve been an independent businessman my entire career and have been used to taking things into my own hands, so we decided, hell, we’ll launch a record label so we can launch Justin Jones,” Hurwitz said in a press release.
The club is holding a launch party for the label on Thursday, Sept. 16, and the night will include a performance by Jones. Although the event is invitation only, the club said in a statement that members of the the club’s online discussion group and social media outlets, as well as subscribers to its print newsletter and e-mail list will have an opportunity to obtain tickets by lottery.
Jones’ EP, which will be available beginning Sept. 14, will be distributed by Nashville's Thirty Tigers.
UPDATE AFTER THE JUMP: Jones talks about playing Live Nation venues and Ian MacKaye's influence on the decision to launch the label.
UPDATE: Justin Jones says he doesn't think getting offers to play venues other than 9:30 is something that will come up anytime soon.
"We’ll have to cross that bridge when get to it, but it's not much of an issue now," he says. "Quite the opposite, actually."
Jones doesn't foresee a scenario where he would be asked to perform at a venue owned by Live Nation, the entertainment company that Hurwitz has sued. (In June, he and I.M.P filed a lawsuit against Maryland officials regarding the use of state funds in the construction of the planned Fillmore Silver Spring music venue. Last year, Hurwitz sued to stop Live Nation's merger with Ticketmaster.) And if it ever came up, he would consult with Hurwitz.
"Seth has put so much into what I’m trying to do, whatever route he tries to take me down, I'm going to listen," Jones says. "He's the only one who has taken a chance on me, so fuck it."
Jones, who says he has worked as a bartender at 9:30 for eight years and has been managed by Hurwitz for four years, also says that he and Hurwitz began talking about the label seriously prior to he and his band's performance at this year's SXSW music festival.
"We did SXSW, we gave the EP out, and a lot of people liked it," Jones said. "At this point, we'd been pushing and pushing and in the months leading up to [SXSW], we were saying, 'We should start our own label and not get any label involved -- just us.'"
Jones adds that he and Hurwitz has a meeting with Ian MacKaye while batting around the idea for 9:30 Records. Jones says the punk legend and co-founder of Dischord was encouraging.
"He was very much about doing it yourself," Jones says.