No Fly List: Notes from Sub Pop’s Airport Store, May 2015
What I Haven’t Learned After One Year at the Airport Store
After reading the general manager’s write-up of the airport store on our 1 year anniversary, I was naturally revolted by all of the praise and felt compelled to undercut any inflated expectations about our humble retail operation. Despite the label’s best efforts to indoctrinate me in all-things Sub Pop, and foster excellent customer-service skills amongst the retail staff, I still feel like I’m mostly fumbling my way around. So, without further ado, here are some things I still haven’t mastered after working for a year at the Sub Pop Airport store*:
Snappy comebacks to any of the following FAQs:
I. What is SUB POP?
II. What does SUB POP stand for?
III. Is that VINYL back there?
My best answers:
I. Sub Pop is a record label that started in 1988, in Seattle, Washington. Fast forward 26 years, and many illicit ingested substances later, they got the harebrained idea to open a store in the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
II. Sub Pop is an initialism for Superior Unique Bro-fessionals Pursuing Overwhelming Profits.
III. No, those are wall calendars. All for the year 2015, but reusable in 2026!
Coherent music recommendations: Working at a record store in an airport means interacting with people from all over the world, with all different kinds of music tastes. On occasion, I am asked to help someone find music in our store that sounds like “viola-fusion,” “cabaret,” or “Dire Straits.” My answer for any and all requests is usually Goat. All roads in music lead to Goat.
Playing along when a customer decides to “stump the millennial sales clerk”: No, I don’t know the location of the Sub Pop recording studio, nor do I know the name of your best friend’s cousin’s neighbor who totally played bass in Soundgarden back in the day. Take your Mudhoney shirt and leave me alone!
Knowing what size t-shirt your child/spouse/sibling wears: It’s probably for the best that I don’t know intimate details about your family members who I’ve never met before. Just sayin’.
Reacting to all the enthusiasm in the store: The majority of people who visit the store (and are at least somewhat familiar with Sub Pop) are usually blown away and ecstatic to find our outpost at the airport. It is super gratifying/humbling/inspiring to see this response, and it often makes my face hurt.
*Let me reiterate that I’m speaking entirely about myself here. The rest of my colleagues are professionals who routinely show their expertise in the store, and I hope you interact with any one of them during your next visit.
Sub Pop Records: Digital Communications Coordinator
Pop Records is currently looking for a new Digital Communications
Coordinator, working here in the label’s Seattle headquarters. This is
an important role within the company with responsibility for maintaining
and growing our social media presence and managing direct-to-fan
communications. This person will work closely with marketing and sales
staff and the Director of the Digital Communications department.
ideal candidate for our growing Digital Communications department is an
enthusiastic, creative and skilled social media manager and content
producer who has a solid understanding of social media marketing and
online communities, the artists and music represented by Sub Pop and how
best to serve them and their fans in this digital environment. This
person must have excellent written and overall communication skills and
an appreciation for how to continue to develop and expand the Sub Pop
voice within each unique social platform. A thorough understanding of
social media campaigns and a drive for creating and sharing engaging
content and recognizing new opportunities is essential. The ability to
work well as a member of the Digital Communications and larger marketing
and sales teams, representing the priorities of each is crucial as
The closing date to apply for this position is Monday, May 25th.
Summary Social Media and direct-to-fan communications Communication & Reporting
Responsibilities Social media and direct-to-fan communications
the social media efforts on behalf of Sub Pop Records to increase
awareness of our releases, bands and the Sub Pop brand, and maintain
regular communication on social channels for customer service
opportunities, general fan interaction and identifying trends.
our growing email list and in coordination with Sub Pop’s Mega Mart
(ecommerce) priorities write and deliver a bi-weekly newsletter to this
list, with the goal of growing direct-to-consumer sales as well as
artist and brand awareness.
Schedule, organize and
execute direct-to-fan communications, and create and distribute
marketing assets on behalf of the label and its bands within a shared
Digital Communications editorial calendar.
effectively leverage ever-changing social media tools; stay current with
best practices and tools and evolve different strategies as
Address social media challenges and suggest solutions.
Communication and reporting
Work in partnership with the Director of Digital Communications and marketing staff as a whole.
Attend weekly marketing and departmental meetings to evaluate emerging opportunities and report on current projects.
and and report on digital analytics and effectively convey these
findings in department and marketing staff weekly meetings, and at
Responsible for all updating and maintenance of project reports; identify new needs for additional reporting and stats.
with Director to help evolve strategies and determine best metrics to
measure and report the results of social media initiatives for Sub Pop
and our bands.
Attend relevant conferences and maintain
and develop contacts with all relative platforms and services, such as
Facebook and Twitter.
Work with and help educate marketing staff on emerging social media technologies and industry best practices.
Skills & Experience
3-5 years experience overseeing and developing content for a lifestyle or entertainment brand.
knowledge of Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, YouTube, Tumblr, Pinterest
(and more) and integration of tools and third-party applications, such
Advanced computer skills required; strong
technical skills preferred; aptitude with the usual suite of current
office software and tools are all expected.
Data, analytics, and metrics oriented; strong analytical and quantitative skills.
to create and manipulate images and video for use online &
familiarity with basic editing programs required; specific
experience/background in graphic design, multimedia, video production
and all relevant software (Adobe Creative Suite, Pro Tools, Final Cut,
Must be highly motivated and organized
self-starter with the ability to multitask and communicate clearly and
effectively to large and small groups alike and interpersonally as well.
A creative thinker with the ability to work well both independently and
as part of team to see tasks through to completion.
Now there’s one more good
reason to ride your bike all the way from rainy Seattle to Portland, OR, and that
is to raise money. Sub Pop Records employees will join in the 202-mile Seattle
to Portland (STP) Bicycle Classic held on July 11 -12, 2015. Now in its 36th
year, the STP is the largest multi-day ride in the Northwest with up to 10,000
riders making the journey through Western Washington and Oregon.
In January of 2013, Sub Pop Records
Co-Founder Jonathan Poneman was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease. In a 2013 Seattle Times article, Poneman states, “I
accept that I have this disease, but that doesn’t give me the right to be
passive.” In response, Sub Pop Records employees will be raising money
for the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation (NWPF) by doing the infamous STP bike ride.
What We Need & What You Get
Since being diagnosed, our
President has done everything he can to show others that there is life beyond
Parkinson’s. He actually explains it as sort of a blessing. Parkinson’s has
allowed him to “recalibrate” important values.
as it sounds, I am truly grateful to the disease.” Poneman explains further that, “My love of
life and its precious elements became more vivid at the thought of seeing them
Our goal is to raise $20,000 for the foundation. We need your help! See some of our incredible incentives for donating here.
Your donation will go directly to the Northwest Parkinson’s
Foundation. NWPF is the only independent regional Parkinson’s organization serving
Washington State. NWPF aims to establish optimal quality of life for the
Northwest Parkinson’s community through awareness, education, advocacy and
Located in Seattle, NWPF proudly invests every dollar in
local programs to support the Northwest Parkinson’s community. NWPF plays a vital role in
helping people with Parkinson’s live meaningfully with the disease. In
addition, NWPF provides information that gives patients and their families the
tools they need to find quality medical care, better manage their disease and
take charge of their daily lives.
Sub Pop has a long history of supporting non-profit organizations
around the globe but prefers to focus on local organizations in the Pacific
Northwest. We have been involved in fundraisers for the uncompensated
care for Seattle Children’s Hospital, donated food and funds to
Northwest Harvest, given time, support, and funds to the all-ages music
venue ‘The Vera Project’, supported the campaign for marriage equality
in Washington state, among many more. We believe in supporting the
community that has always supported us. The Northwest Parkinson’s
Foundation is an organization we feel proud to be riding for.
Other Ways You Can Help
can also go to the Northwest Parkinson’s Foundation main website (www.nwpf.org) and give
directly to the foundation through a gift
at a different time if you are not able to help now.
Or simply get the word out
about our campaign! Share our story and spread some awareness for
Parkinson’s Disease. While science looks for a cure, the NWPF is looking
out for the Parkinson’s community. We are grateful for anything you can
do to help.
Melbourne’s Deaf Wish will release Pain, their first full-length album for Sub Pop, on CD/LP/DL worldwide August 7th.
The album, featuring the highlights “Eyes Closed,” “On,” “Calypso,” and
the title track, was recorded & produced by the band at Reservoir,
Victoria, mixed by Mikey Young and mastered by April Golden at Golden
Mastering. Pain is the follow up to their label debut, the 4-song St. Vincent’s 7” single, released last October.
You can now listen to “Eyes Closed” via Stereogum, who say the track: ““Eyes
Closed” initiates with the sound of off-white noise, a fragile rumble
that opens the track’s seams and makes room for it to grow into
something much more sinister. The song is an exploration of various
tiers of dreaming consciousness: “I’m not awake, I’ve got my eyes
closed/ I’m sleepwalking, with my eyes closed.”…There’s a certain sense
of spontaneity to this debut single, suggesting that Deaf Wish formulate
their songs in short, sharp moments of inspiration (see song premiere May 12th).”
Pain is now available for preorder from Sub Pop Mega Mart, iTunes, Amazon, and Bandcamp. LP preorders from megamart.subpop.com
will receive the limited Loser edition on clear, black marbled vinyl
(while supplies last). There will also be a new T-shirt design,
available individually and as part of a bundle with purchase of the new
About Deaf Wish:
When Deaf Wish found themselves in a room together for the very first
time, they agreed on a guiding philosophy: “Let’s not make anything
that’s going to last. If we’re together for just two shows, then that’s
what it is.”
They’ve deviated some.
Over the course of eight years, the Melbourne foursome—bassist Nick
Pratt, drummer Daniel Twomey and guitarists Sarah Hardiman and Jensen
Tjhung, with each member contributing vocals—have instead amassed one of
rock’s most exhilarating bodies of work, a concise run of wooly
seven-inches and white-knuckle LPs whose legendary live translation has
been most accurately described as “unhinged.” All this despite their
being scattered across multiple continents, with no way of getting to
know one another outside of intermittent touring. “We didn’t really know
what this band was,” Tjhung says. “We had something, but it wasn’t
clear—we had to figure out what that was.”
This year marks the arrival of Pain, the first they’ve written
since coming together again semi-permanently in Melbourne, and their
appropriately titled first full-length for Sub Pop. (Last October’s St. Vincent
EP was their proper Sub Pop debut.) It is a miraculously dissonant,
wonderfully immediate display of Deaf Wish at their mightiest, alive
with the same wild chemistry and sense of possibility that made their
first recordings so vital. With more time together than they’ve ever had
before, they’re found themselves confronted with ideal (yet foreign)
conditions. Two-minute freakouts like “Eyes Closed” share airspace with
the meditate squall of “On” and the guitar-born majesty of “Calypso.”
Everything was captured in three takes or less, in a bleak, nondescript
studio on the lifeless outskirts of Melbourne.
“It’s a simple thing,” Tjhung says of their approach. “Simple takes the
worry out of it. If we try to step it up and go sideways, it just
doesn’t seem to work. But we’ve grown up and been through some shit. To
get to this point you have to bust through a few walls. It’s easy to be
new, and I think, in the end, this is what it is. When you put these
people in the room, it’s Deaf Wish (read bio at Sub Pop).”
Sub Pop Records is currently
looking to fill a newly opened position as the label’s Sales Director,
working here in our Seattle headquarters. This is a leadership role
within the company with responsibility for our physical, digital and
streaming business. This person will work closely with our main
distribution partner, the Alternative Distribution Alliance (or ADA),
and all aspects of our internal sales department. Our ideal candidate
will have significant music sales as well as managerial experience. The
closing date to apply for this position is May 17, 2015.
Summary Sales department management. Management of relationships with distribution partners and key retailers. Communication and reporting.
Responsibilities Sales department management -
Manage a sales team within Sub Pop Records, members of which handle
direct retails sales, direct-to-consumer sales (via
megamart.subpop.com), and international sales and distribution. -
Work with the sales team to create and implement cohesive retail
strategies for all Sub Pop and Hardly Art releases and related
merchandise across all sales channels, globally (through ADA, direct
digital accounts, direct physical retail accounts, direct-to-consumer
sales, and international distribution partners) - Lead weekly sales meeting to ensure the sales team is on track with all projects, covering current priorities and tours. - Conduct annual performance evaluations for each member of sales team. - Participate in the hiring and training of new employees in the sales department. - Work with the sales team to explore new sales opportunities.
Management of relationships with distribution partners and key retailers. -
Manage relationships with ADA as well as relationships with key
physical and digital retailers, both those who are direct accounts and
those who come through ADA. - Personally responsible for the management of direct digital account relationships. - Establish Initial Order Goals and advertising budgets with the General Manager and ADA. - Provide all necessary marketing and sales information and direction to ADA for new releases and ongoing priorities. - Attend necessary sales conferences and meet regularly in person with distribution partners.
Communication and reporting - Work in partnership with the Marketing Director and the International Sales and Distribution Manager. - Attend weekly managers’ meetings and provide detailed information on upcoming sales programs, promotions and operations. - Disseminate internally all pertinent information from stores, distributors and customers. - Provide sales, streaming and other sales data to the company weekly, and at biannual meetings. -
Provide production input and guidance using sales-based estimates for
manufacturing needs, and attend weekly production meetings.
Skills Necessary -
Must be motivated, organized, have the ability to multitask and
communicate clearly and effectively to large and small groups, problem
solve and provide conflict resolution when needed. Proficiency with data
analysis and manipulation, plus experience with the usual suite of
current office software and tools are all expected as well.
Supervisor: General Manager
Please send all resumes and cover letters to Mary Wood at email@example.com.