This week, The New York Times published a story about Martin Shkreli, a former hedge fund manager whose start-up Turing Pharmaceuticals acquired the H.I.V medication Daraprim, immediately raising its price from $13.50 per tablet to $750.00 per pill. The Infectious Diseases Society of America and the HIV Medicine Association called the price increase “unjustifiable for the medically vulnerable patient population” and “unsustainable for the health care system.”
Today, Noisey pointed out that Shkreli was a patron to Collect Records, home of GEN F alums Sick Feeling and goth rock outfit Wax Idols, among others. We also learned that Philly shoegazers Nothing recently inked a contract with the New York-based label.
Label owner Geoff Rickly, who's probably best known as the lead singer of early-aughts post-hardcore heavy-hitters Thursday, told Noisey, "My head is still spinning, and though I want to believe that there is some reason that he would do this that is some remotely positive way, the only thing I can see is that it is totally and completely heartbreaking. I can’t see my future at all in the label."
Nothing frontman Dominic Palermo—who posted a Facebook status early this afternoon detailing his discovery of the situation, simultaneously revealing that his band was signed to Collect—told The FADER that he figured Shkreli "was some rich kid that got some money and was a Thursday fan. I realize at this point that this person is barely a human being. I’m sure the whole world is filled with people like this. I try to keep those kinds of people as far away as I can."
Sick Feeling has also shared a comment. "We have been dismayed as details continue to trickle in about the business life of Collect Records silent investor Martin Shkreli," the band told FADER over email. "One thing is clear; as long as he has a part in the label, we, Sick Feeling, cannot. Our experience with Geoff, Norm, and Shaun has been nothing but positive, however, we cannot continue to work with Collect as long as Martin Shkreli has any part in it."
Hether Fortune, aka Wax Idols, also took to Facebook. "I personally 100% am NOT FUCKING OK with this guy and his business tactics," she wrote. "If any of you have learned anything about me through being a fan of the band, I hope that you would know by now that this kind of advantageous rich guy greed goes against everything that I stand for."
Palermo also told FADER about his uncertainty regarding the fate of Nothing's new album, which he says is completed. "I don’t know how hard it’s gonna be to get out of this contract," he said. "We have a two record deal. I’m hoping that we can just get out of this with someone else and not have to go down whatever ugly road that could lead to. [Shkreli] obviously doesn’t seem like he’s the most mature person. I can’t imagine he’s happy with me at this point, but I know he has much bigger fish to fry."
UPDATE 9/23/15 5:02 PM: This afternoon, Pitchfork posted a statement from Collect Records' Geoff Rickly in which the musician and label head announces plans to completely sever ties with Shkreli. Read in full below.
"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."