Optional Music

Optional Music

Optional Music from Berkeley, California was a label circa 1978-81 that released early Dead Kennedy's, Negativland, Voice Farm, and USA pressings of German stuff like Der Plan and Populäre Mechanik.

Systematic Record Distribution was a west coast USA indie music distributor from 1978-1981 and Optional Music was a label run by the same partners. Systematic went out of business in the fall of 1981 when Joe Carducci moved back to Los Angeles to work with Black Flag's label, SST, through early 1986.

Joe Carducci co-founded Systematic Record Distribution as an indie distributer circa 1978 in Portland Oregon, initially associated with a record store named Renaissance Records. Carducci moved Systematic to Berkeley California at the end of 1979 and was then involved with the Optional Music and Thermidor labels, as well as the launch of Rough Trade US. He later worked with SST from 1981-86.

In 1980 the US branch of Rough Trade opened in Berkeley in collaboration with Systematic, and that spawned another label for one release by the Toiling Midgets that was declined by for release by RT US and was then manufactured and distributed by RT US/Systematic under the label name of Instant.

Thermidor was a related label, a partnership between Joe Carducci and Jon Boshard (an MFA from UCB). Their first release was a Flipper record co-released with Steve Tupper of Subterranean. ("Systematic had a label but my partner was not easily interested in this or that band so I kicked a few hundred dollars to Steve Tupper and we called the first Flipper 45 a Subterranean-Thermidor co-release.")

After Systematic went out of business Subterranean gradually started doing more distribution and grew from Steve Tupper's Berkeley living room to a storefront warehouse space in the Mission District of San Francisco, then to a warehouse only distribution business.

Negativland followed Carducci from Optional to SST and that went on to be a huge mess legally for SST and Negativland over the handling of legal threats from Island Records on behalf of U2 over a parody release of a U2 song.
Contact Info:
Optional Music Distributed Thur (sic):

Systematic Record Distribution
Berkeley Industrial CT, Space 1
729 Heinz Av, Berkeley CA 94710




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August 8, 2012
It's JOE Carducci, NOT Rob.