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Record labels try their luck at comedy

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The Recording Industry Association of America released their mid-year report, showing revenue industry wide is down almost five percent from last year as audiences turn towards streaming services like Spotify and Pandora.

But for one iconic indie label, there’s hope sales can bounce back, and that hope relies on comedy.

“Our two comedy releases that we’ve put out in the last twelve months have sold better than all the other records we have put out in the last 12 months, combined,” says the President of Kill Rock Stars, Portia Sabin. “It’s pretty wild!”

That’s a big change for Kill Rock Stars, which released albums from noted music acts like Sleater Kinney, Bikini Kill and Elliot Smith. This week, the label released comedian Cameron Esposito’s critically praised new album, Same Sex Symbol.

That comes as other indie labels are taking a similar tact. For example, record label Sub Pop, which first made its mark with the bands Nirvana and Soundgarden, is now home to comedian Sarah Silverman, while the label Drag City has signed comedian Neil Hamburger.

Portia Sabin joined Marketplace’s Lizzie O’Leary from the Kill Rock Stars office in Portland, Oregon, to talk about comedy and the future of the recording industry. 

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