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Freelance reporter Cook and Merge cofounders McCaughan and Ballance trace the history of the North Carolina–based record label that started in a bedroom and now releases some of indie rock's biggest names. The story is composed as a book-long conversation between McCaughan and Ballance (also founding members of Superchunk, hailed as the next Nirvana in the 1990s and one of Merge's first major hits) and myriad other voices from the music industry. Started in 1989 in Chapel Hill, Merge always put music and musicians first, with McCaughan and Ballance hand-stuffing the label's first seven-inch releases and eschewing contracts in an effort to keep things friendly. In a prime example of its dedication to artistic vision over pure profit, Merge took a gamble on Stephin Merritt and Magnetic Fields's ambitious three-disc opus, 69 Love Songs, when any major label would have balked. That record made numerous top 10 lists in 1999 and has sold more than 150,000 copies. While some of the label's artists may be beyond the scope of the casual music fan, bands like Magnetic Fields, Spoon and Arcade Fire demonstrate how vital Merge is to the indie rock landscape. (Sept. 15)
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Merge always put music and musicians first. . . .[B]ands like Magnetic Fields, Spoon, and Arcade Fire demonstrate how vital Merge is to the indie-rock landscape.--Publishers Weekly
From small beginnings, twenty years later, Merge has become one of the top independent labels in the world. --NPR's Sound Opinions
One of the most respected imprints in an often disreputable industry, Merge has defied the odds by releasing some of the finest rock and pop music of the last 15 years. --Chicago Tribune
The fact that they exist and that they've survived is really kind of amazing these days. It's really difficult and they've done really well. --David Byrne --This text refers to the Audio CD edition.
This book props Merge, rightfully so, as the model that any and all record labels should model themselves after. Read morePublished 8 months ago by Garrett Cottingham
Okay, I just found out about this book. I read some of the good reviews and some of the bad and figured for 15 bucks it was worth a try. And I am very glad I bought it! Read morePublished on September 1, 2011 by Jason from Iowa
What a great history of music! This book has inspired me in so many ways. As a small business owner I've been inspired by Mac and Laura's wrestling to stick to their values, and... Read morePublished on December 27, 2010 by Louis Vigo
This book serves two distinct purposes. The first is that of a history of the Merge record label, the second is that of the history of the band Superchunk. Read morePublished on September 29, 2010 by Lee L.
This is basically a promotional book about some bands on the label. Also, the book actually shows how Merge started using most of the same tactics that major labels have used for... Read morePublished on May 9, 2010 by Fuzzle
The reviews give the impression that this book has something to say and that the company it is based on was of any real importance. That is the farthest from the truth. Read morePublished on January 29, 2010 by Sabine Henre
For an essential part of the music industry, independent record labels have a short shelf life. Most either serve as clearing houses for great bands that jump to the majors once... Read morePublished on January 2, 2010 by Trevor Seigler
This books is amazing. Well written and great photos that shows Merge from the beginning til now. This books has alot of behind the scene info that alot of us record collectors... Read morePublished on October 21, 2009 by Chad Cardoza