Indie

Mannequin Pussy And Others React To Adult Mom Calling Out Tiny Engines Over Alleged Royalty Issues

Musicians have a longstanding history of disagreements with their record label. Earlier this year, Lil Uzi Vert went into musical hibernation and announced he was leaving music due to spat with his label. But rap isn’t the only genre that sees artists frustrated with their label. Over the weekend, a slew of indie artists came forward to share their negative experiences with record labels after Adult Mom accused her label, Tiny Engines, of breaching their contract and missing royalty payments. Musicians like Mannequin Pussy, Speedy Ortiz, and Jeff Rosenstock came forward to support Adult Mom and critique the music industry.

The conversation started with a Twitter thread from Adult Mom, who chronicled her experiences with Tiny Engines’ CEOs Chuck Daley and Will Miller, saying the public call-out was a last resort. “I’ve been really cryptic about what I’ve been going through recently in the industry, but I’m really ready to be transparent now,” wrote Stevie Knipe, the band’s frontperson. “I promised myself I would be as fair as possible in describing my experiences I’ve had with @tinyengines, so I apologize for the length.”

Knipe went on to say that she signed a two-LP contract with Tiny Engines in 2015. Her contract states the label must give her royalty payments twice a year in conjunction with a statement, but according to Knipe, “from the year 2015-May 2018 we had received 0 statements or royalty payments.” Knipe said she asked for the statements several times, then eventually enlisted the help of her manager. Eventually, the label gave her a statement that read she was entitled to nearly $8,000 of compensation, which they finally paid her in December of 2018.

Knipe said she was “deeply self-conscious and depressed” about the security of her records since her contract entitled Tiny Engines to all her masters, a common experience that recently pushed Taylor Swift to decide to re-record her masters. “Clearly, my work was not in safe or responsible hands,” Knipe wrote.

When Knipe confronted Tiny Engines’ CEOs Daley and Miller over the phone about the contract breach, it was “one of the most unprofessional encounters” she had ever had.

Knipe said Daley called her “ungrateful” and said losing Adult Mom on the Tiny Engines label would have significant consequences, specifically for his mortgage, children, and other smaller bands on the label. Knipe responded to the phone call by sending the CEOs a “breach of contract” notice, which stated the label had 30 days to hand over royalty payments, but the label responded with silence.

Knipe went on to say she knows of at least 10 other bands who have had a similar experience with the record label.

After the lengthy thread, other bands came forward in support of Knipe and those who have had similar experiences with their label. Mannequin Pussy responded that Knipe’s experience was “very familiar.”

Speedy Ortiz’s Sadie Dupuis spoke out as well, saying it angers her when record labels want to own artists’ masters.

Jeff Rosenstock had a similar sentiment, adding expletives to make his point.

Other indie record labels joined in on the conversation. Get Better Records and Father Daughter Records chimed in by saying all of their artists own their own masters.

Don Giovanni Records, who put out music with bands like Screaming Females and Waxahatchee, also added to the conversation. They said that when a label fails to pay an artist, it not only damages the artist’s life but also the community as a whole.

Top Shelf Records, Jay Som’s former record label, spoke about the situation in their own thread. Essentially, the label admitted they had their own “hiccups” in their 14 years but agreed that labels owning masters is an “antiquated” practice that leaves musicians feeling somewhat ripped off.

So far, Tiny Engines has yet to respond to the accusations and has stayed quiet on social media.

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