Longtime indie mainstay K Records announced that it is selling the building it occupies in order to make good on the debts they have to their artists. While some artists are only owed sums in the $100, there are several who are owed in the thousands, and even more.
According to Stereogum, K Records have been avoiding paying their artists for their work for many years now, among those artists are Kimya Dawson of the Moldy Peaches and Phil Elverum of Mount Eerie and The Microphones. Elverum says that the company owes him nearly $65k, while Kimya Dawson claims that the label owes her nearly $100k for her work. “They owe me in the range of $90,000,” Grammy-winning singer-songwriter of Seattle said in a phone interview with The Olympian. She said the label has been making small quarterly payments since early 2014, but before that, she received no payments and no statements for years. In fact, Dawson had made sure to save eight years worth of corresponding emails with K Records, asking for statements of the exact amount owed to her before actually receiving it.
Sadly, Elverum is in no position to be waiting on the company to send him his well earned money sporadically, because his wife has collected an overwhelming amount of medical bills that stem from her stage 4 pancreatic cancer treatment. The musician was forced to take to the internet on a GoFundMe campaign in order to help pay or the medical and living expenses.
Owner Calvin Johnson decided that the best thing to do in order to help break even with the debt is put their headquarters building up for sale. Listed at $399k, the company hopes that this will take care of all the money issues they are experiencing, but reassuring that the company is not going anywhere. When asked in the interview with The Olympian about the extent of the label’s debts, he said, “We’re hoping that with selling the building and some of the equipment that we’ll be able to get back to break even” continuing on ”
“Some of the artists, they’re touring a lot, and we owe them money, but then they take records to sell on tour, so it all gets evened out,” he said. “But when artists stop touring, and they’re not taking records, then we realize we owe them this much money. It can sneak up on you pretty fast”
K has chosen in recent years to work with fewer artists, only releasing four albums total off the label, rather than the 12 to 15 they were releasing in previous years. “I just don’t want to make commitments to people that I can’t keep,” he said. “I would like to be more committed to my own work. Those things come together.” Lets hope you are right, Johnson.