Henry Stone Music

Here’s How The Independent Record Business in L.A. Started


“During the time of the  Second World War, records were made of shellac, but shellac came from India, so during The War we couldn’t get it in the U.S. They couldn’t bring the stuff in on the ships. There was no record business.

After The War, shipping resumed, and that’s when the independent business in California started to kick up out there. There was about four or five different independent labels, Modern was one of them. Aladdin Records was another. There was Cadet with Slim & Slam and the “Cement Mixer.” There was Exclusive with the Honeydrippers. So it started up there in California bout 1946.

When I got out of the Army I ended up doing a lot of work with Modern Records; and one of my little gimmicks was I’d go around and pick their records up in the morning and sell them out of the back of my car and I ended up going down to the train stations, where the porters were on their way to St Louis and New York y’know and I’d sell them the records and they’d get wherever they were going and sell them for a profit. That to me was one of the first forms of independent distribution, on a national basis.

I brought them the record, they’d give me a buck for the record, and then sell it for two bucks when they got to New York. Those little California records weren’t available out there, or around the country, cause there was no distribution, no nothing. It was all new at that time.”


  • From a 2011 interview with Henry Stone

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