2011 has been a year of immense growth for the label. I made the decision in 2010 that I would focus solely on metal releases, and that was a choice I’ve become very happy with. I’ve released a large quantity of records this year, especially for being a one-guy operation with some-time help from friends. I handle almost every aspect of a release, organizing the mixing and mastering of the audio, rendering and laying-out art files for packaging and inserts, screen printing all patches and posters that come with releases, and making all buttons. It’s a huge task for just one release, let alone the batch I’ve done this year. As of November 19, 2011, that total is seven new releases and six represses - all of which were vinyl.
It’s been a crazy year, and it’s been rough. While doing all of this I’ve also been managing a screen-printing shop, Offbeat Press, and working on producing a film I co-wrote and co-directed, Dead Weight. 2011 has been a year of very little rest, a lot of coffee, and a lot of stress. On the opposite side of things, this has been the most productive and fulfilling year of my life.
On the label side of things, I owe that success to all the people that have ordered records and to all the folks that run websites, blogs, magazines etc. that have covered or promoted my releases. I’ve met tons of incredible people and built some great relationships over the course of the year. The level of support I’ve had is overwhelming. It started to feel like the label was unstoppable.
That’s what made things so hard when I found out I won’t be seeing much, if any, of the $5,500 I was owed by my old retail distributor, the Independent Label Collective. It was like running full speed into a brick wall.
Earlier in 2011 there was a situation of inner turmoil at ILC, which involved people I considered friends, many of whom I’d known for quite some time and to whom I had grown close. Having helped found the company from the ashes of the Lumberjack Mordam Music Group, I took everything very personally and was thoroughly irritated with the situation. People say business isn’t personal, whatever, that’s ridiculous. Everything is personal. For me it is. I’m not a business guy, so when I build a relationship with people on a business level, it means a lot to me personally and I take it very seriously.
So, in light of the drama and turmoil at the company, I pulled Gilead Media from their distribution network. Three months later the company imploded, having fired their three key employees that were integral to department management and operations. The owner is now MIA, the company is a mess, there are serious pending issues, there are no assets, and essentially no way for me to get the money I’m owed. Remember that killer month earlier this year when I released the Fell Voices LP, Ash Borer/Fell Voices LP, Northless 2LP, and took over the Thou Peasant stock from Autopsy Kitchen records? Yeah, that was the period I’m owed sales for, first quarter 2011, great timing.
Some of the other ILC labels took over the company’s operations to try and bring in as much money as they could from open invoices to pay off the labels. It’s going to be an uphill battle to collect on invoices and whatever they can mange to collect is going to be spread thinly across the many labels owed money.
There are definitely a lot of labels that are owed much more than Gilead Media, so I’m not trying to throw a pity party for myself and claim that I’m in a dire position all alone, the sole victim. Every ILC label got hit hard and they all need support from their respective groups of fans. What I am telling you is this: Gilead Media is a label that operates with minimal overhead, but also operates with minimal profit and reinvests 100% of the meager profits back into the label to release more records. I do everything I can to ensure that each release is of the highest quality, and that costs money. I press all of my records in the US, and I purposely avoid using the cheap and easy routes. I use manufacturers and printers that I trust, that I know create high quality products. I use manufacturers that will provide the best customer service to me, and therefore ensure the best results for my customers and supporters. I keep prices as low as possible so people can afford the records and ultimately feel as though they are getting the best value for their money. I’ve never taken a paycheck from Gilead Media.
Right now I also owe the pressing plant and printer a fairly large collective sum for the pressing of recent releases. My plant was gracious enough to pump out these represses for me, despite my situation, so that I have more to offer to get money coming in. But right now I can’t send anything else to the plant until I’m settled up with them, until everything is paid off. They’re willing to be patient, and they know I’ll pay them as money is available, but I’d like to ensure that happens sooner rather than later.
So, that being said, $5,500 is a lot for me, especially in a year when I’ve been trying to avoid using my credit card for a single release and I’m paying off bills with cash. I don’t want handouts, and I’m not asking for donations from people. All I want to ask is this: if you were thinking of picking up some records, and haven’t, now is a really good time. I always say that every dollar spent with Gilead Media directly supports future releases. Because of this situation I’m in that is more applicable now than ever before. The flow of records coming out of Gilead Media at this point depends solely on continued support from folks who buy records. Many of you have already done so much this year, and I’m very grateful for that. Anything you can do to spread the word and get some other folks to pick up a record or two is going to help out immensely.
I just printed a large batch of new shirts for Ash Borer, Fell Voices, and Thou that are available in the merch section of my online store, in addition to the addition of odds and ends of random older shirts I had lying around. I’ve also added some new distro titles that have been lying around, and put a ton of older Gilead Media releases and older distro titles on mega-sale. I have to clear out these shelves and pay off some bills, so if you can grab some stuff you normally wouldn’t, please do. If you can talk someone into doing the same, please do.
What this financial issue also means is my release schedule had to take a serious hit. I had to cancel a number of records and delay a couple more. For the records I’m still committed to I’m working on a plan to get those releases out in a timely manner. Gilead Media is not closing, not for the foreseeable future. I love doing this, I can’t stop doing it, and I will continue to. But there is going to be a period of down time while I step back, collect things, get back on track financially, and then attempt forge ahead once everything is stable. Another aspect of support that will help things move in the right direction will come from retail stores. If you work at a store and want to carry Gilead Media releases you can now order from Revolver and Cobraside in the US and from Hammer Heart Records in Europe. Or contact me directly using the email on my website.
The upcoming records I will be working on are: Mutilation Rites I Am Legion 180g 12” and Thou Collection 2CD. Anything else beyond that is going to be contingent on many factors, primarily how much of this debt I can pay off. At the present time I can’t commit to anything more.
If you’ve bought a record I released this year, or any year, published kind words about records I’ve released, seen any of the Gilead Media bands on tour and bought a shirt, or even just told some kid on a message board to check out an album I’ve released, I thank you. Your excitement and love for the projects I’m involved in means everything. Things will be back on track soon.
Owner, Gilead Media LLC
Online store: http://www.gileadmedia.net/store