Eclectic Discs - eclectic perhaps, responsible perhaps not?


I'm sorry to say that I have a beef with Eclectic Discs, the company which recently remastered and reissued four CDs by Jade Warrior.

A representative of Eclectic contacted me in May of 2006, alerting me to their plans to reissue these albums and asking whether I'd be willing to write a set of sleeve-liner notes for them. She said that Eclectic wanted 1500 words per album (more or less), that I could choose the content as I felt appropriate, that Eclectic was prepared to offer a fee of 125 pounds sterling per album, and that Eclectic needed the material fairly promptly (within about two weeks).

I emailed back my agreement, write up the material over the next ten days or so, and emailed the notes to Eclectic a couple of days prior to the deadline. I also provided them with copies of some graphic material (a rare Jade Warrior poster, in particular). Eclectic used most of the material I'd written and provided, and at no time did they express dissatisfaction of any sort to me.

The CDs were announced a few weeks later, and were actually shipped around the first of September 2006.

It's now February 2007, and I have yet to receive any payment for my writing. I contacted Eclectic in October, and was told that the payment had gotten sidetracked because the woman with whom I'd been working had left on maternity leave. I was assured that the payment would be processed at that time.

Since October, I've heard nothing from Eclectic on this. My emails to their Accounting representative have gone un-answered, and an email to another of their employees was forwarded by her to their Accounting department, with no apparent action taken.

I've come to the reluctant conclusion that I've been stiffed. Eclectic did an excellent job in remastering and reissuing these four albums, but it looks to me as if their business methods fall far short of the same degree of excellence.

As to why they have chosen to renege on their agreement - I don't know. Several possible motivations come to mind, but as I lack accurate information about their corporate finances and attitudes I have no way of knowing which is correct.

2/16/2007 - finally, an email response from someone at Eclectic has arrived. There's at least some hope of progress in getting this issue cleared up, perhaps. More news as it develops.

4/4/2007 - no joy. I've been informed by a representative of Eclectic Discs that the label is having "short term cashflow problems". She asked for a copy of my invoice (sent) and said she'd try to find out when it might be paid. Six weeks, no further communication... sigh.

I received an email this week from a gentleman who had read The Story Thus Far, and wanted to inform me that he's had a similar problem with Eclectic. He's a musician who did some work for the label on a project, a while ago, and was not paid for the work. He said he's had to take court action, and is still owed a substantial sum (several times what they owe me). So, it appears that I'm not the only person Eclectic has burned.

It's probably unnecessary to say that I would not be willing to work for/with Eclectic Discs again, nor can I recommend that anyone else do so.

7/17/2007 - I've been informed that Eclectic Discs has filed for bankruptcy. They may be attempting to reorganize and continue operation under another name, as part of a larger label or distribution consortium.

I've written to the auditor in charge of their case, to see if they acknowledged me as a creditor due payment.

1/26/2008 - I never heard anything further from Eclectic Discs management, or from the auditor in charge of their case, I don't know whether the bankruptcy case involving Eclectic has been through the courts yet.

The principals of Eclectic Discs (Mark and Vicky Powell) have indeed formed a new label, Esoteric Recordings as part of the Cherry Red Records. They have a couple of dozen different titles listed for sale (all of which seem to have stock numbers beginning with "eclec"). They have also announced their intention to reissue on the Esoteric label a number of the more popular albums in the Eclectic Discs lineup - identical content and artwork, just different logos and barcodes.

It remains to be seen how the management practices of Esoteric Recordings will differ from those of Eclectic Discs.