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You Can Always Go Back to School

DENVER (Hypebot) –
Starting this Friday, Hypebot will debut a new column by indie label entrepreneur Virgil Dickerson. "You Can Always Go Back to School" is the title he has chosen for his occasional column. The phrase is something his Korean mother reminds him of any time mention of his business comes up. Virgil will look at the indie label sector including what is working and who is making it work.

Virgil has been running Suburban Home Records, a small, independent record label based in Denver, Colorado for the past 14 years. It started as a fanzine in September of 1995 and has become a label, a distributor, a mail-order, and 3 years ago, he started Vinyl Collective, a vinyl imprint and vinyl-only online store. Virgil booked shows at the University of Colorado at Boulder campus from 1995 – 97 where he got a degree in Molecular Biology.

After working in a lab for a year and hating every minute of his life, he took a job at Hopeless Records in Los Angeles. After a year in Los Angeles (Van Nuys) he moved back to Denver where he started a mom and pop record store.

During that time, he had been running Suburban Home the entire time and realized that he was generating more revenue doing the label than he was running the store. Suburban Home became a full-time entity in 1999.

Virgil remains optimistic about the future of music sales although it is tougher now than it has ever been trying to sell a product people actively get for free. Suburban Home's bands include Drag the River, Tim Barry, In the Red, Mike Hale, Josh Small, The Takers, Joey Cape, Ninja Gun, The Revenge, Useless I.D., Stereotyperider, Austin Lucas, Two Cow Garage, Yesterday's Ring, and Jon Snodgrass. Not one to sit twiddling his thumbs, he is always working on new ideas (Suburban Home has a Drunk Dial Hotline, markets and sells a Shotgunator, and is currently working on publishing a book, Talking Shit, the Number 1 Book About Number 2 which will include extraordinary stories of people crapping their pants).

Although no longer active, Indiehq was a site he ran that featured independent music industry topics. It is his quest to explore new business models within the music industry, a quest he hopes to share with the readers of Hypebot.