UK and Austin based merchandise company awesome merchandise and its distribution service Awesome cast both closed abruptly at the end of August after going bankrupt, and have not only customers complained about paying for orders that didn’t fill, it also had a big impact on at least one beloved independent record label: High-end folderswhose founder Kevin Duquette says the complete inventory of records tags and all is currently held by the warehouse owner. Awesome also owed them tens of thousands of dollars when they closed, including money customers paid for orders they never received! Label founder Kevin writes:
* The mail order fulfillment company we partnered with, Awesome Distro, has gone bankrupt.
* they abruptly closed, owing us tens of thousands of dollars in revenue and forcing us to immediately move 17 years of inventory without notice.
* they laid off all of their staff without telling us, leaving us with no immediate way to ship orders or send records to our touring artists.
*the property management company they rented from denies access to our inventory, treats it as collateral, and indicates that their agreement with Awesome creates a legal basis to seize everything in the building.
* we launched a Kickstarter Campaign as a preventative measure to help support ongoing efforts to fund a legal defense and to pay for the growing expenses associated with this disruption.
* our business is still in operation. we expect to be able to handle this and not have to lay off staff, continue to pay artist royalties, cover our expenses, etc. but we launched this campaign because:
* we don’t know if we are grossly overestimating how serious this is.
* we don’t know if we are immensely underestimating how serious this is.
* we don’t know more than we know at this point, but we know we need help.
As Kevin says, it’s complicated and there’s a lot of information, and you can read his full article on the Topshelf Records website for much more.
Since its inception in 2006, Topshelf Records has released music from The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid to Die, Pianos Become the Teeth, You Blew It, Braid, The Velvet Teen, Wildhoney, The Jazz June, The Saddest Landscape, Tancred, A Great Big Pile of Leaves, Field Mouse, Ratboys, Really From, Knifeplay, and more. It was a major player in the development of the emo revival of the late 2000s/early 2010s and has continued to expand into multiple other genres of music and continues to produce great stuff all the time. If you can, they deserve your help. We feel awful for everyone affected by this, and at least hope Topshelf can get their discs back somehow! Meanwhile, head to their Kickstarter Campaign make a donation.
As Kevin details, “Awesome” was a British company that opened a US branch in Austin in 2018 and went on to work with numerous record labels, bands and more. We also worked with Awesome Distro in a number of ways in 2019 and 2020. They sponsored some of our SXSW events (maybe you have a BV bag they printed for us), and we ran our own little store of by-products for a few years. , but we closed this one in early 2021 and haven’t worked with them since.