Ian MacKaye’s bakery Matt 05 Dec 2005

25 comments Latest by dailybeard

In an old interview with Salon, Ian MacKaye, Fugazi frontman and co-owner of Dischord Records, talked about running his label like a bakery.

American business at this point is really about developing an idea, making it profitable, selling it while it’s profitable and then getting out or diversifying. It’s just about sucking everything up. My idea was: Enjoy baking, sell your bread, people like it, sell more. Keep the bakery going because you’re making good food and people are happy.

25 comments so far (Jump to latest)

benny 05 Dec 05

But wait, I thought music was not a loaf of bread. I can’t keep up with all these analogies and baking music stuff.

sb 05 Dec 05

ian mckaye is awesome. i first had a conversation with him when i was 12 years old. i think it’s a mark of intelligence, not treating a kid like a kid, not talking down. in addition to being a great guy, he was one of the first to really get the whole diy thing right. truly revolutionary for 1988.

Aaron Gustafson 05 Dec 05

And another feather in Dischord’s cap was always setting a limit on the cost of their products. CDs were printed with a label saying “Don’t pay more than X for this CD” (usually $9-12) and the tickets to Fugazi shows were always affordable (hovering between $10 and $15 even at the height of their popularity). It just goes to show that a great product + a low cost of entry = success (and a rabid fanbase).

That’s likely why boutique apps like Basecamp and Backpack have been so wildly successful.

Dave 05 Dec 05

The old way of business is gone guys.
This post is a great example for the new kind of business.
Interesting stuff about it in Uzish

JackRuby 05 Dec 05

One of the finest human beings I have ever met.
I bought my first Dischord record in 1982, and I have been a regular customer ever since.

I hope the “bakery” never closes.

Geof Harries 05 Dec 05

What a comforting post to read on this wintry afternoon (-26c here in the Yukon!). Such a different set of ideals than the typical web technology company these days - Ian’s ethics and actions were always something to be admired no matter what your business.

My friend went to a Fugazi concert once, and the audience was sternly instructed to sit in their theatre seats the entire time. How cool is that? Fugazi defines the term “straight edge”.

bryan Bedell 05 Dec 05

I’ve been to Fugazi concerts and ian’s “stern instructions” to the crowd get a bit tiresome (imagine Jason F. preaching to this blog, but using a microphone and amps, in a cold, leaky abandoned roller rink with the power cutting on and off*), but their music is right-on, and Dischord is a great model for anyone who wants to make a reasonable, sustainable income. Unfortunately, most americans aren’t satisfied with ‘reasonable’ or ‘sustainable’ so i dont’ see the ‘business world’ changing to the Dischord model. As long as there are greedy and impatient people, there will be giant corporations, but there will also always be cool companies like Dischord out there to balance things out.

*Sorry, Jason. : )

Nick Dominguez 05 Dec 05

That’s why Ian McKaye is my hero.

bryan Bedell 05 Dec 05

Oh, and Ian’s a VERY righteous guy, don’t get me wrong, I just think he overdoes the ‘please stop jumping up and down in appreciation of my music” thing, ha.

Dan Kozak 05 Dec 05

Two things:

Fugazi charged $5 for every show up until the late ’90s at which point it went up to $6 (not “hovering between $10 and $15”).

Ian (and the band) _never_ had a problem with people jumping up and down in appreciation but had a _big_ problem with people hurting other people under the guise of free expression. When the slamming/moshing/stagediving/etc. ended (and it did at their shows—people eventually got the hint) so did the lecturing from the stage.


IM 05 Dec 05


pwb 05 Dec 05

I lost most respect for MacKaye for his lame outrage at Nike’s borrowing Minor Threat album cover aesthetics for a dinky skateboarding concert poster. As if concert posters never use pop culture imagery!! Sheesh.

impact 05 Dec 05

pwb: “As if concert posters never use pop culture imagery!!”

It’s never lame to fight for what is right, and something you own. If you allow theft to happen without resistance, you condone the behavior. MacKaye has never, ever been one to support corporate behemoth bully behavior. His outrage was an effort to support and protect his method of business, which this SvN article embraces. Gotta fight for what is right.

essrog 05 Dec 05

That was theft - not “borrowing album aesthetics”. I’ll allow that these art issues sometimes enter a grey area, but the Nike ad doesn’t even come close.

Nike did issue an apology and retracted the ad.

To understand MacKaye’s position, I guess it’s sort of similar to being a liberal advocacy group (Children’s Defense Fund) that witnesses its motto (“No Child Left Behind”) get co-opted to promote a conservative agenda.

OH yeah, sorry for going OT here - anyway, yes I dig MacKaye’s integrity, etc etc

Ryan 05 Dec 05

It would be nice if all companies did business with Ian’s example. I used to live near a bakery (a real one) that baked high quality bread at very reasonable prices. They opened at 8am and were sold out of bread by 10am. Incredible!

niblettes 06 Dec 05

Reminds me of a bakery in Vancouver called the Transylvania Bakery (i think). One guy, one clay wood burning over, several bags of whole wheat stone ground flour. He makes one kind of bread and only one kind of bread, but man is it fantastic. He obviosly loves what he does—you can taste it.

Marina Architect 06 Dec 05

Just discovered this blog after listening to Jason Fried on Venture Voice. First post I read was about Fugazi. Yeah, now that’s what I’m talking about. I had A feeling and a connection with the ideas outlined on the podcast. Good content. Cheers. Will offer some engaging comments over time.

Christophe Stoll 06 Dec 05

Has anyone seen The Evens live (McKaye’s new project together with Amy Farina)? The show here in Hamburg was in a small movie theatre, everybody was seated, no stage-diving � so he had the tranquility to release amazing “entertainer” qualities such as a lot of very sympathetic interaction with the audience and making us all sing along “the police will not be excused, the police will not behave”. What a wonderful evening. These things should last forever.

Nick Jones 06 Dec 05

I saw the Evens play in a warehouse in Baltimore a few months back and it was a real treat. It was a quiet and thought-provoking show, and was accompanied by a showing of portraits from the 80’s DC hardcore scene. MacKaye’s been a hero for me for a long time, and is a real touchstone of the DIY/Punk scene for a lot of other people too.
To clarify the whole “stern instructions” thing so many people seem to be misrepresenting, I’d like to point out that MacKaye does not start every show with the sole intent of preaching to a crowd for two hours; Fugazi only plays all-ages venues and their music seems to draw some rowdy types (a holdover from the Minor Threat days I suppose.) He’s been known to stop shows where people are being trampled or otherwise acosted.
It’s not based on a belief that Fugazi’s music must be enjoyed in total stillness and silence, but rather that it should be enjoyed by people who are concious and not being carted off to the local ER for stitches.
Nice choice for inspiration Matt, and cheers on all the success of 37Signals.

joey 27 Dec 05

im so tired of everyone talking about Ians “ethics” Fugazi is awesome music and THATS why i listen to it, period….maybe they couldnt have mad it without shunning attention, fine, but the music is what changed my perception of art and music, not Ian McKayes stubborness

J. 27 Jul 06

I met ian M. the other day, it was pritty sweet.

J. 27 Jul 06

I met ian M. the other day, it was pritty sweet.

dailybeard 17 Aug 06

When an indy band uses a corporate logo for their band flyer its intent is to mock and belittle, to make light of. When Nike uses the logo from a small independent business like Dischord it is simply trying to get mileage off of Dichord’s “diy” credibility and integrity.

They are not the same things.

I hate to think that Nike even gains a shred of credibility due to their apology.