Rainbo Records – In Memoriam

Regarding a certain LA Times article:

I’ve seen this touching eulogy concerning Rainbo Records’ closing posted by at least five of my Facebook friends. I figured it was time to chime in once again.

I realize this might come across as ungracious.

Rainbo’s pressing quality and, especially, customer service were among the worst. Rainbo closed because it couldn’t compete with plants that were better at both.

When working at my previous job, at least two or three of our exclusive labels insisted upon using Rainbo, despite our protests.

Project after project found the labels being repeatedly lied to about the job being ready and “on the dock for pickup.” Or the “paper” (jackets and inserts) had been lost. Or plates had gone missing.

I can’t count how many LPs didn’t make street date because Rainbo was incapable of getting the majority of jobs done on time, or even being straight with clients about delays.

Maybe Rainbo treated other larger indies such as Rhino and Concord (back when such labels existed as indies, decades ago) better. Doesn’t matter. Unless you were in the upper 5%, apparently, you received the lamest excuse for customer service in the vinyl pressing business (and that’s saying a lot).

I spent about 20 years sitting across from our production manager. Week after week he’d get calls from the labels, listen, sigh, scribble some notes on the release schedule, line a couple things out, hang up, and mutter “fuckin’ Rainbo.”

I only post this because nostalgia doesn’t always translate to reality when it comes to small labels trying to get vinyl to its customers. You may believe Rainbo’s closure is emblematic of a difficult business climate, or changing market conditions. But it’s really because other pressing plants produce higher-quality vinyl, and definitely better customer service.

Goodbye to Rainbo?

More like good riddance.