New Canadian music distribution system launches

Wyrd Distro hosts parties across the country.

The Canadian music blog Weird Canada is now offering a service it hopes will bring independent bands and their fans closer together by making the merchandise for small and local acts available across the country.

“The Wyrd Distro is an online store for Canadian music that exists to connect artists with their more remote and not immediate fans,” said Rachel Weldon, Director of Outreach and Communications for Weird Canada, in a promotional video for the service.

For well-known artists this process is almost organic and completely taken care of by record labels, but for small DIY projects there is a void here. It is a void that means many thousands of hours spent producing physical copies of art that may or may not find its way into the hands of the people who truly want it.

“Wyrd Distro is a really simple service,” said Aaron Levin, the creative director for blog, in the same video. “You send us your stuff; we will sell it on your behalf. We will sell it to record stores because we will have a whole bunch of it. We will also sell it to consumers because now consumers have a one stop place to go for all the stuff that they are excited about.”

The distribution service launched across the country on Feb. 15. The organization hosted eighteen separate and simultaneous shows in every province and two territories. In the grand scheme of the launch, however, this was just the beginning. A quick second series of shows celebrating the launch and laying more infrastructures is also set to happen next Sunday and will include a show here in Sackville. The pay-what-you-can event will feature performances by a pair of Nova Scotian bands, Construction & Destruction and Cousins. The bands are well suited to play together, already having a history of collaboration that has a physical manifestation in the form of a split LP.

The new service was made possible by a $50,000 grant Weird Canada received from the Foundation to Assist Canadian Talent on Records (FACTOR). Both organizations have a similar goal of supporting Canadian artists, and similar ideologies regarding how to do so.

“I don’t think that artists should have to be businesspeople,” said Marie Leblanc-Flanagan, the Executive Director of Weird Canada, in an interview with the National Post. “I think that’s absurd to put that on them.”

But this is a challenge most independent artists face. With incredibly small markets that are hard to break out of, being a musician outside of the mainstream is often economically unviable. The size of Canada inflates this particular issue by geographically isolating artists from the support and exposure they need to succeed. But this is a known issue in Canadian music and one that Wyrd Distro will try to mitigate.

“No one is going to make a million dollars off selling their LP,” Leblanc-Flanagan continued. “But, there is something about people spending their money, their labour hours, on your LP that feels really good. Hopefully, Wyrd Distro results in a growth and maybe someday an explosion in people making more DIY music and art.”

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