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Sons Records was set up in 2004 as a platform for the release of debut album by This is Seb Clarke “Rover”. The album sold relatively well (5000+copies) and resulting revenue was re-invested in the label - Sons deciding to build it’s own recording studio and expand it’s roster of bands.
Sons first chart success came with the simultaneous release of 3 singles in January of 2007 by This Is Seb Clarke, Friends of Ken and The Title. Upon national airplay across 6music and Radio 1 all three singles charted, respectively, at 7, 9 and 15 in the UK Indie Chart.
April 2007 saw the Label hold it’s first Showcase event at the Kings Hall, Stoke (of Northern Soul Fame). The event was both an incredible success - (1500 attended!), and an absolute disaster; – mass brawls broke at 1am and 3am. The later fracas required 30 odd police officers in riot gear to break it up and, needless to say, the venue was ordered closed at 3.30am – it was meant to run till 4!
The label’s team re-organized however, and just over a year later in March 2008 Sons once again released 4 singles simultaneously, this time all making the top 5 of the UK Independent Chart: This is Seb Clarke, the label's longest serving assignees marked the label's highest chart position to date, knocking Warner Brothers ‘The Futureheads’ off the number 1 spot!
Building on this success, 2008 saw three more Showcase events, all now held at the Victoria Hall in Hanley, Stoke-on-Trent. Each event pulled capacity crowds of 1800 and generated as many accolades in the press and radio alike. Sons began to be compared to Factory Records for its DIY ethic and its unique label sound – ironically, Seb Clarke, Sons label founder had once actually worked under the late, great Tony Wilson at Granada TV in the late 90’s!
However, a hard time lay ahead for the label: the internet was to have a devastating effect on all areas of the music industry – even EMI effectively went bust! A small label like Sons was certain to be hardest hit.
The ever-insightful Seb Clarke however, had recognized (before practically anyone else on the planet) the ultimate internet conundrum: it costs money to make music good enough to sell – but all music could/would be consumed for free! In reaction, a sideline 'music/internet' business concept had begun under by Clarke and other key members of the team early 2007, and by 2009/10 this project was beginning to snowball.
During this time though, This is Seb Clarke were still touring throughout the UK (in order to bank role the label!!) and subsequently, the pressure on resources began to show. There were no Showcases after 2008 and the next batch of releases became repeatedly postponed. Regardless, in effort to appease pressure from the numerous musicians on the label, three new singles were released in early 2010. ‘Note So Sure’ by The Novellos, ‘Her Name is Sophie’ by the Turbervilles and ‘Saturday Night, Sunday Morning’ by This is Seb Clarke. Each sold three times as much as any previous release by the label, but, through another repercussion of the internet, the highest chart position of any of the three singles was only No 12 (‘Not So Sure’ by The Novellos). To accommodate the download market the Indie Chart had changed the way it was compiled and now many artists back by Sony, Warner, Emi etc were now also eligible!
The need for a major re-think for the label was obviously necessary and luckily, Seb Clarke's internet/music ‘side-project’ had gone from strength to strength. ‘SonStream.com’ - is to be launched March 2012 and promises a future, not only for Sons Records, but for music industry as a whole!