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Luzern Alternative Music City - Little Jig Records
Lukas and Greg of Little Jig Records do away with cliché-ridden images of Swiss homemade sound
By Anthony Kammerhofer, GATEWAYmusic
(more articles from this author)
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What's the stories behind how Little Jig Records was founded?

Little Jig Records Greg and I founded the label in 2002, and do date, we have done about 30 releases. We only do a few, high-quality releases a year. We are more into quality, not mass appeal. Little Jig Records is about traditional label activities, but we also do promotion, which includes online promotion, radio and press pitching and promotion via various social media. We also apply various campaign strategies to enhance exposure. We run our own booking agency and publishing which makes it possible to offer integrated solutions to our artists(including artist management), and we also work with partners. We operate out of Switzerland and are based in Luzern.

What is your main focus and what do you consider to be your area of expertise?

Little Jig Records I think that we are currently focusing on promotion and new media. This is where we see big potential. We have also worked for a number of German bands and Canadian labels in Switzerland and Germany. However, we know that we are particularly strong in Switzerland.

How would you describe Little Jig Records' activities globally?

Little Jig Records Well, to give you an example, we have "Heidi Happy" on the roster, our most successful release sofar, which includes releases in Canada, Benelux and Japan. We are actually a fairly small label and cannot perform all activities on the international level without teaming up with partners. Also, it is not like we distribute on a worldwide level if we estimate sales of about 100 records. In such a case, it is even hard to cover postage for sending the records to the USA. We are quite open to things there, and if there are opportunities for working cooperatively with others. In fact, we welcome this. In most cases, this is about licensing deals, or whatever.

Regarding the "Booking" services – do the acts on your roster have opportunities to play at international hot spots and international stages? Do you offer international booking?

Little Jig Records No, we fully focus on Switzerland. We once tried to get a foot in the door in Germany, but the German agencies are further developed, and we are well-connected with all stages in Switzerland, both big and small. I think we have booked about 2,000 concerts over the past 3-4 years. This is why we are personally connected to all promoters and all festival promoters.

What are the challenges on the ground in Switzerland?

Little Jig Records Switzerland has always been a rather complicated story. This is because of our rather limited creative industries, thus, the music industry over here is a really small operation, too. There is not that much of a structure in place to fall back on that has developed over the past 30 years. Such structures are developing as we speak, however. For example, Swiss Music Export has been truly active for 2-3 years now in exposing Swiss music to the world. SUISA [Swiss performing rights society for composers, lyricists and publishers] has always been active, at MIDEM, Popkomm, wherever. Still, it is boutique-like activities we are talking here, which make it more difficult for us to establish artists without any structures in place to support the advancing of artists on a broader scale.

Well, sounds like Switzerland is completely independent and solely produces for its home market.

Little Jig Records Let's put it this way: you can make decent money selling Swiss products. For example, the share of Swiss dialect lyrics is extremely strong in Switzerland. Frequently, Swiss bands, like "Züri West" (which is huge in Switzerland but people may not know about abroad) have been trying to penetrate the market in Germany, but are still singing in Swiss German. It never worked out. Still, they make a living off Swiss music, and a decent living at that. And we are an independent label, so it's crucial for us to have Swiss artists moving into other markets - primarily Germany, because it is just around the corner - and to have the artists constantly on the road.

How important are industry events taking place on the ground in Switzerland, like m4music for example?

Little Jig Records Well, I think that m4music is particularly an event that is bringing national stakeholders on the scene (if we can call it a scene) together. I see it as essential, so there will be progress in the future, and there are small groups meeting regularly. I think m4music is fantastic, but it is a small event with maybe 100 expert visitors attending.

What's next for Little Jig Records?

Little Jig Records We're working on a new release by Swiss-Canadian artist Christina Maria. This will be released in Switzerland first on 29 October 2010, and we are also doing prep work for a GSA-wide release.

True, the singer/songwriter market is now particularly strong in Europe. Are you planning to do a European release with this lady?

Little Jig Records I think so, yes. Of course, we are working on this. However, we realized that preparing a continent-wide release means ten times the work, and that is not so easy to master. There is so much to do back home in Switzerland.

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