dromedary records. no, not that one.

So there’s been another increase in traffic to this blog over the last few weeks, and some other things that have been going on recently have gotten me thinking that perhaps I should reiterate this little anecdote for anyone that might be curious.

There are two Dromedary Records.

Actually, there aren’t.  There’s only one: this one.  It was started in 1992 and released eight titles over the years.  Although it never turned into a “significant” indie label, it worked with a number of nationally-known indie rock bands.  It received  radio play and press coverage in the US and abroad, and sold records and CDs through national and international distribution.  I continued using the Dromedary name long into the mid-2000s, still signing emails as “Al/dromedary” or “Dromedary Al,” still doing the occasional interview, still answering snail mail and email and – as you will learn as the story in this blog continues to evolve – never truly letting the label die.

Then, some other guys in Arizona decided that they wanted to start an indie label and, as some people are unfortunately inclined to do, didn’t do the necessary homework.  They settled on the awesome name of Dromedary Records, signed up a band, and put out a record.

I reached out to them as soon as I found out about it, I really did.  I sent them an email and said “Hey, my company is ‘Dromedary Records’ and we’ve been around since long before you even thought about putting out records.”

They were very nice about it.  They said ‘Oops.”  But unfortunately for them, they had already pressed their CD and printed their booklets.

Now, you’ve read the story of our Dromedary so far, or (hopefully) at least enough of it to know what a fuckin’ nightmare it can be when things go wrong while you’re in the middle of pressing a CD.  We’ve experienced it all – pressing plants going out of business, bands backing out on their agreements, printers refusing to print our artwork, artwork produced with disastrous results, and more.

I didn’t want to wreck their first album.  I didn’t want their first release to have a setback so bad that it required their entire CD to be re-pressed from Square One.

So I agreed to let them hang onto the name “Dromedary Records” while they marketed their first CD, which was released in March of 2007.  I also agreed to let them hang onto the Dromedary domain name.  They, in turn, agreed to turn the domain over to me after their CD had run its course, and then stop using the Dromedary name in favor of some other, as-of-yet invented name.  We signed it with a virtual handshake, I wished them the best, and went on with my life.

I figured six months was an acceptable time frame to let them use my name.  So, just to be safe and not be accused of being an asshole, I doubled that time frame and let them have it for a year.

After a year, I reached out to them once or twice as I started pulling together all the files and info necessary to start this blog.  Unfortunately, I didn’t hear back from them.  I saw – clearly – that they hadn’t put out any more records, and figured that perhaps the first release was enough for them, and that they, like so many other fledgeling labels, had given up after one shot.  I felt bad for them, but I figured at least I was getting my name back.  I checked their website every couple of weeks and saw no updates for years, of any kind, and figured they had hung it up after just one release.  Unfortunate, but at least uncomplicated (for me).

So I waited.  The domain name was slated to expire in February of 2009, and I didn’t have any intention of launching this blog (and all the stuff I’m planning to do with it) until January anyway.  

In January, I started the blog, and it was pretty well-received from the start.

Now, this blog isn’t huge, traffic-wise.  It gets more traffic than the website of my current dayjob, but less than Amazon.com.  But I was encouraged by the reception it got, and even more so by the number of old friendships that were being rekindled as a result of the blog.  Then in early February, something happened (that I’ll get to in the story) that really got me fired up about the blog, and from that point I started making bigger, more ambitious plans for it.  And I patiently waited for the domain registration to expire, so that I could purchase it and move this blog over to the proper address.

And then, two days before it was set to expire, the owners renewed it.

At that point I reached out to them again, via email.  And received no response.  I tried another address that I found online.  Again, no response.  I signed up for a MySpace account and sent them an email through MySpace.  No response.  So I found the MySpace page of one of the label’s owners and emailed him there.

Finally, he responded.  Except this time, he wasn’t all that thrilled about giving up the domain.  In fact, he stated that he had no recollection of agreeing to turn over the domain, and instead said that, while he’d be happy to link to this blog from their page, he wanted to hang onto the domain for a while – since, essentially, he’d spent time building a brand and he wanted his fans to know what was going on.

I responded by letting him know that I’d been building a brand since 1992, and that he had absolutely agreed to turn over the domain.I made it clear that I wanted the domain back, and that I would be happy to link to his site.  Unfortunately, he never responded to that email.

I don’t want to be a dick.  Best I can tell, that label was started by a couple of nice guys who just missed a step in the process, and did not think to check and see if any other companies were doing business in the same class of trade, using the same name, or whether the other company had already established itself in interstate commerce.  There was no malice intended on their part.  Having done it a few times, starting a business is a complicated process that has all sorts of pitfalls – it’s a huge pain in the ass, and its very easy to miss a step.  Even one as simple as checking to see if your idea for a name hasn’t already been thought of by someone else.

But at this point, they still have a MySpace page and a website, using domains on which they are squatting, for a company that is no longer in business, by their own admission.  They have also publicly acknowledged that the Dromedary name has been in use since the 1990s.

Again, I don’t want to be a dick.  But eventually, I’ll have to, since I’ll need those domains in order to continue the evolution of this blog according to what I’m planning.

So that’s why you see some other dude’s website when you try and visit our domain, or visit us through a search engine.

~ by Al on July 29, 2009.

5 Responses to “dromedary records. no, not that one.”

  1. And yet they acknowledge you, and the original Dromedary Records, and the fact that they are “no more” on their latest post from March – and they still want to hold onto it? That’s pretty insane. I think they’ll give in, fairly soon. It’s the right thing to do, and they seem to have a new name anyway.

  2. Hey Al – I know you pride yourself on doing business in a gentleman-like fashion and like to do handshake deals. And you’ve been more than generous with these guys, and a good guy all around in terms of your business dealings. Just chiming in to say this: Stop doing handshake deals. Not having things in writing just opens the door for people to take advantage of you. Give almost anyone – even a friend – an open door to screw you over for money, rights, position, whatever and many times they’ll disappoint you. I know that’s kind of a defeatist position to take, but I find that when things are in black and white, I actually preserve more friendly business deals by nature of having not given someone the opportunity to screw me in the first place. No opportunity = no regrets.

    On another note, it might not be the other Dromedary’s fault that the domain renewed. Most registrars have some sort of auto-renewal process in place unless their customers opt out of it. At least three times a year I get dinged by Register.com and others for domains I registered back during the dot com boom and forgot about. Maybe one of these days I’ll take them off domain lock…

    I’m still really enjoying the stories, man. Keep ’em coming. I hope you remember that back in the day, you gave me a copy of Elizabeth and I loved it. I still have it, despite having gotten rid of 99% of my CDs a few years ago. (I saved only stuff that had sentimental value.)

  3. You hated Godspeed. 🙂

  4. Don’t hate me, but I did dig that Melting Hopefuls tune.

  5. What’s not to dig? It’s a great song.

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