Odradek featured in Hannoversche Allgemeine, from January 6 2016. Article by Stefan Arndt:
The internet and the record industry: up till now, it wasn’t a love-story. For producers of music, the web appears as a threat – after all, downloads at iTunes & Co. cause CD sales to go down even further. Remarkably, a label found a way to use the Internet in a positive way.
The American pianist John Clement Anderson was frustrated by how difficult it is as an artist to get a recording contract. Of course, everybody can release their interpretations on Youtube – but that is exactly what diminishes the worth of such a publication. A CD with a beautifully printed booklet definitely looks better on a shelf. In 2012, Anderson founded the label Odradek Records, which recruits its artists in a democratic selection process on the Internet: each musician can upload a recording to the website of Odradek, which is then judged by a jury of many other musicians. What appeals gets published.
The idea of a non-profit company paid off surprisingly fast: a recording of the, up till then, relatively unknown pianist Mei Yi Foo from Malaysia made it to the “Best of”-list of the BBC, and a recording of the complete piano works of Rachmaninoff by Artur Pizarro is currently attracting attention. For those that don’t want to only listen to Lang Lang and Sol Gabetta, Odradek offers lots of interesting alternatives.
But the musicians featured don’t have to be unknown, as is proven by the new Jazz imprint, that has been launched by the label. On its first disc, the singer Bill Ramsey celebrates a charming comeback almost half a century after his first successes in Germany.
But these kind of patriotic feelings are rather the exception with Odradek Records: the name is derived from Kafka’s story “The cares of the family man”. The Odradek is a strange being, which cannot be categorized by the righteous protagonist: it lives as an unpredictable part of the family in an orderly household – and shall survive all of them in the end.
In any case, nobody is afraid of the internet at Odradek Records – and neither is Odradek Records afraid of the established competitors, apparently.