Reporting on the recent mess at indie mavens Touch & Go Records was a tricky proposition today. I blew it and so did several other scribes. The story leaked out bit by bit which seemed to say that T&G was going under... or it was just gonna do back catalog... or it was cutting off distribution. In the Net age, everyone wants to rush and get the info out first but the problem is that sometimes that means getting the story wrong, which ain't a good balance or compromise.
I saw a notice posted in a mailing list about T&G's demise, confirmed by an employee who said that they'd been laid off there. Because of the later, I thought it was safe to tweet (you know, a Twitter post) about it. So did several other journos on Twitter. And so did Pitchfork, who reported the story on their site, but then had to update the story twice after that.
The real story, confirmed by T&G's head, came from the Chicago Tribune's Greg Kot and can be read here.
And how did Kot get the real story while the rest of us were scrambling around?
"Word started trickling out over the weekend. I made a few calls to some contacts in and outside the label. Lots of rumors, a few salient facts from people who had actually spoken to Corey Rusk. Most saying the label was going down. I checked with Corey on Tuesday once I had assembled enough information to at least ask him some relevant questions that weren't completely based on hearsay. Corey asked me to wait a day until he had informed most of his employees, and he would tell me what really was happening. The gist of what he told me Tuesday in asking me to hold the story was that most of the stories out on the street and the Net at the time were bullshit. But he wanted to hold off until he could tell most of his employees. 'I don't want them reading about this in the paper before they hear it from me,' he said. He called the next day and simultaneously emailed his statement to me and Dero at the Sun-Times. We happened to be at Sound Opinions taping the radio show at the time, and briefly discussed the matter with him on the phone and asked some follow-up questions, then went off to write our separate stories."
So chalk one up for the MSM or old media. All of us Net pups could learn a lesson here...