NEW YORK –
“The life-style of many independent distributors is undergoing a profound change, change which is pregnant with possibilities for the future of the independent record business. A prime example of this is the operation of Henry Stone, veteran independent distributor who has headed Tone Distributing in Miami for years, and who in the Iast 12 months has quietly turned in a spectacular performance as a manufacturer with about a dozen labels of his own. Stone, contacted at his headquarters in Hialeah, Fla., said: “I have a nice distributing business: l have lightened it up and l am doing in that field what I consider to be a tremendous, hustling job. But I felt the need to diversify, owing to changes in the record business; and therefore I have set up a multi-label and publishing operation. What I am doing as a manufacturer also reflects the comeback of indie labels to replace those which are indies no longer as a result of absorption by conglomerates or branches.”
Stone’s labels include the following: Alston Records and Dade Records, both distributed by Atlantic; Kingston Records, distributed by Bell; Brownstone, which Stone owns with James Brown: and International Brothers, Dash, Dig, Blue Candle, Glades and Weird World, all disseminated through independent distributors.
A glance at the charts in last week’s issue or Billboard’s Hot 100 lists Betty Wright’s “Clean Up Woman” in position, having been much higher weeks earlier. The Betty Wright disk, which is estimated at having sold over one million was in sixth position on last week’s Billboard’s Soul Singles chart, having been No. 2 the previous week. Also on that week’s soul chart may be found Clarence Reid’s “Good Old Days” on Alston, in 38th position, having moved up from 44: and Bobby Byrd ‘s “Keep on Doin’ What You’re Doing” on Brownstone in the 43rd slot, up from 45.”