Last week, on an episode of Radio CPR's program, Dissonance, Sockets Records label head Sean Peoples made public his plans to close down his D.C.-based indie label. Sockets started humbly as Sockets CD-R in 2004, dropping the suffix and expanding formats shortly thereafter. Their roster consisted primarily of progressive indie bands from D.C., including Hume, Deleted Scenes, Buildings, Imperial China, and Laughing Man among others. In a statement sent to the Washington City Paper and posted on Sockets' home page (which you can read in full at either link), Peoples mostly cited financial reasons:
"Record labels, aside from curating and serving as a base for like-minded bands, are changing. And that is a good thing. The tools for bands to connect both musically and financially with their audience is expanding in ways that I see as really positive. But to stay relevant, the amount of money needed to compete with similar indie labels, from the small ones like Sockets, to the bigger ones like Matador is staggering. Promotion and publicity are driving a lot of the profits around bands. And, if you don't have the money, the serendipity that comes with bands rising to the top via their own grit and hard work seems like a vanishing prospect…"
It's unfortunate news, especially considering the pedigree of the most recent releases from the label and its place as a unifying entity during one of the more notorious "droughts" of band activity in D.C.'s underground rock history, but it seems quite likely that Peoples will still be heavily involved in the local music community. Sockets will be hosting a final showcase at the Black Cat in February 2013 and have confirmed Deleted Scenes, Hume, and Buildings thusfar.