Henry Stone On Indie Label Distribution: “Distribution Is Everything, Man. It Really Is”
“I don’t know if you’re aware of this in the story, I don’t know if it means anything to you, but it should. A good part of my career down here in Florida has been, I distributed every independent label, like Atlantic, and Warner Brothers, and all those labels….Scepter, Wand, Fire, Fury, Specialty, Bullet, Savoy, Aladdin, Gee, End, Gone, Roulette, Old Town, Imperial, National, Jubilee practically all of em’ yknow. There was usually about a hundred little labels at a time. And most of em’ would have one hit and then go bust. Are you familiar with that? The distribution that I had down here, Tone Distributing.
Distribution is everything, man. It really is. And you gotta spend a buck to make a buck. You can’t have it all.
I remember a guy named Raoul Shapiro. He ran the big one stop during the juke box era. There was a one stop where all the juke box operators used to come and pick up their records. Raoul Shapiro, that was Eddie Shaw’s father. Eddie was my engineer for the Ray Charles records I cut. He was my right hand man. His father Raoul Shapiro used to write some articles for Billboard Magazine.
Raoul had his big one-stop on 36th street, somewhere around there, closer to Miami Avenue. They used to carry all the records: Decca, Columbia, RCA and then all the independents. I’m the one who sold him all the independent stuff, yknow, cause I distributed all the independent records.
I even had the Latin American music…stuff from Cuba. My friend George Goldner used to go to Cuba and bring the records back. He had a label called Tico Records. Just sort of ethnic type music that didn’t do too well.
I was doing everything. If it was records, I was doing it. I was the record man here in Florida. I used to distribute all those independent records.”
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