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Collect Records cuts ties with pharma CEO, likely dooming label

Posted by on September 24, 2015

Earlier this week, people looking for a face of heartless and uncaring big pharma companies found one when it was revealed that Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO Martin Shkreli bought the patent to Darapim, a drug used to treat HIV, and announced plans to raise the price from $13.50 a pill to $750. It got found a musical angle when it was found out that not only was the 32 year-old former hedge fund manager a fan of emo, but that he was a financial backer of Collect Records, a relatively new label founded by former Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly that was home to Nothing, No Devotion and more. Nothing wrote about it on Tuesday, saying that they couldn’t in good conscience, work with him. It turns out neither could Rickly, who had no idea of the murky moral and ethical background of Shkreli when he allowed him to financially back the label. Following an interview with Noisey, where he conceded he couldn’t see the label’s future, he said yesterday that he’s cut ties with Shkreli.

In an interview with the New York Times, Rickly says that Shkreli looked at his investment in the label (around  $600,000) as “an endowment for the arts.” The article also interviews Shkreli, who says “all I did was put money in. I want to be a patron for musicians I really respect and that have a hard time making ends meet.” Here’s Rickly’s full statement, which he gave to Pitchfork:

Today, Collect Records — with the support and encouragement of all of our artists — have agreed to fully sever our relationship with Martin Shkreli, effective immediately.

When I decided to get into business with Martin, we took him on as a patron. He was completely silent and allowed us to do business as we pleased. His only ask was that we sign bands that we believed could make great art given the right environment and not to focus on a profit, no matter how dire the bottom line.

Never in a million years did any of us expect to wake up to the news of the scandal that he is now involved in. It blindsided and upset us on every level. As such, we know it is impossible for us to continue having any ties with him. For my part, I’ve always strived to make Collect a place that was so liberal, encouraging, and artist-friendly that no one would ever walk away from us willingly, though to do so at any time would be very easy. To that end, I hope that our bands continue to believe in our guidance and passion. Any of them that have had an incurable crisis of confidence will be allowed to leave with nothing but the kind of encouragement that we’ve built our label on.

For all the kind words of encouragement that I’ve received over the past two days, I’m forever grateful.

From all here at Collect Records, thank you.
Sadly, this likely means the end of Collect Records, as the Times article notes:
Mr. Rickly said losing Mr. Shkreli’s financial support might result in the label’s closing. “This is going to end the career of the record label, no doubt,” he said. “If I were a band on the label I would be having a serious crisis of faith right now. The amount of money I have in the bank doesn’t cover my outstanding invoices. It’s devastating.”
Shkreli, for his part, says he respects Rickly’s decision, even if he doesn’t like it:
Of the choice to remove him from the business, Mr. Shkreli said, “I don’t like it — I want to be involved in all this — but I respect their decision.” He added, “They can move forward from here. I kickstarted the company. I’m not the kind of guy that takes back a — if they can find a new investor, great, if they go out of business then it is what it is.”
The whole thing is really unfortunate. No one is mad at Rickly, but seeing that he doesn’t have the funds to continue to run the label without having an investor unless someone else steps in, Collect, which seemed like a passion project for everyone involved, is over. And while public opinion has led Shkreli to roll the price back from a 5000% increase to only a 100% increase, if even Donald Trump is taking shots at you, you should probably re-examine your life.

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