It is a sad day for DJs and electronic music producers. The website of Watts Music, America’s largest distributor of dance vinyl, has announced it is officially closed for business. Most people have never heard of Watts, even if they are a DJ, but they have been directly responsible for moving tons and tons of vinyl every year from Europe to America and vice-versa.
Just to give you perspective, I run a small label with some of my friends, and when we release a record, we look to distributors to buy up some of our stock and move it to stores overseas and domestically. In a couple of cases Watts has been there for us, and probably for thousands of other little labels. Without them, we have even fewer options: Forced Exposure and Syntax most likely. Under the pressure of the closure of Watts, competition for these smaller distributors will get even more intense, and labels like ours will have no option but to turn to fully digital distribution. This means that our days of making records is over, unless we’re prepared to pay for the production, marketing and shipping costs of every copy.
In the next few months the breadth and depth of vinyl at your local record store will start to dwindle. Labels that were being distributed by Watts will have to seek other means, and in some cases they may be forced to stop shipping internationally. Within a few months I would guess that their effect will be fully visible, where DJs find it hard to get their favorite labels without ordering on the internet. It’s hard to say how this will impact the electronic music scene, but it is bound to have a large and immediate effect.
For such a big distributor to close is a powerful omen: vinyl is dead. Well, in the US anyway. Rest in peace.
11 thoughts on “Watts music closes”
Yes it’s really a sad day for independant music industry. We operated a dj records shop in Canada for over 15 years and Watts was a really good source for vinyls.
We operate now a distribution company company (since 2001) and we work with many overseas distributor. We have really good relationship with them.
As you know, Canada is very near USA and it could be easy for us to export vinyls to Europe and Asia.
We could be a new alternative for independant US labels.
and what is the name of this new distribution company you operate?
Really sad news, watts was the main pool over the years, another tree is falling by the digital storm…
there is a new distro company in New York
18 Bridge Street, 3i, Brooklyn, NY 11201
they carry house, techno, drum&bass, etc…they have the best prices, good customer service.
I know this sounds stupid but I have to say it. I havn’t dj’d for about 12 years and just recently got back into. I started up again in August of 2007 and now find out Watts closed as of Oct 2006. I’ve bought all and most of my music out of Toronto Canada at Play De Record and Starsound back in the days and still all I mean all my pieces of 12″. Play De is still open and I still buy out TO, Montreal, Chicago, New York City of course, and San Fransico, I will only buy vinyl and will only till the day I die.
DJ Vinyl sorry to the bad news.
was just googling the old days… miss Mary Ann and the Watts gang …this post is so very true. So much of the great vinyl passed through the Watts gates….
I used to have a Watts account back in 96-98 and sell records in my small town skateboard shop. I used to also shop at Play De Record and various other stores in Toronto. I was amazed a few years ago when I went in Play De and the place was a virtual ghost town, it’s sad that CDJ’s have become the way of the future, but everything these days is about convenience. Sad to hear about Watts, they used to have a pretty massive inventory, wonder where it all went?
Well, it is been good article, keep up with the good work.
Watts music was really important for the scene in Brazil! Respect!
We had DOCTOR DISCO record shop in the south of Brazil, and watts music was always our best supplier!
Reverson and Rodrigo
Watts Music was one of my customers. And just as Watts had to close, I am facing the same problems. The world is changing, distribution of everything is changing. To Annemarie, Maria, Wendy, Della, and Rae, many thanks for your years of buying from me. I hope you one day see this post. I greatly appreciated all of you. Best Wishes always, Harry