Gosh, this is sad news. The label that was home at one point or another to Screeching Weasel, Green Day, Avail, Rancid, and Operation Ivy, among others, stopped putting out new music in 2005, and since then has struggled to right the ship. Unfortunately, losing their distributor, CD printer, and mail order provider in the span of a year was too much to overcome. This is a microcosm of something, but really the label kind of died in 2005 when they gambled on new bands with money owed to the higher earning older bands. They lost and thus lost the rights to Green Day and Op Ivy’s back catalog. The specifics aren’t clear in their blog post, but it looks like their sending everything left over back to the bands. Here’s an interview with Lookout Records co-founder, Larry Livermore.
Lookout Records will be closing its doors over the next few months. Most people that are reading this know that the label stopped releasing material towards the end of 2005. It was then that Lookout ended its long relationships with Green Day, Operation Ivy and a few other artists. That development meant significantly scaling down the business, which included letting the staff go and moving from the label’s Berkeley headquarters and warehouse into a small office.
It wasn’t easy to keep catalog items in print and that became especially challenging when our primary compact disc manufacturer and our distribution partner Lumberjack-Mordam went out of business unexpectedly. Having our physical distributor and a manufacturer go belly up disrupted our sales, meant a significant loss of income, and caused inventory and accounting problems. The next year when our mail order partner, Little Type, went out of business, Lookout was also dealt another significant blow. We did our best to resolve the issued caused by these developments but both ultimately amounted to a lot more work and severely impacted income.