TVT Does The Collapse

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Long-running independent label TVT Records has reportedly terminated a majority of its employees and is expected to file for Chapter 11 bankruptcy protection by the end of the week, according to Billboard and Started in 1985, the label—now home to artists ranging from Lil Jon & The Eastside Boyz and Ying Yang Twins to the Polyphonic Spree—first found success with Television’s Greatest Hits collection, a compilation of TV themes songs, and has also released albums by artists such as Nine Inch Nails, Guided By Voices and Sevendust (above).

A few weeks ago, TVT artist Pitbull criticized label head Steve Gottlieb for insufficiently promoting his album The Boatlift, and urged fans to download it rather than purchase it.

Around the Matador offices, we’re always gonna think of February 19, 2008 as the day the music died. I’m sure this is hard for you kids to fathom, but back in the late ’80’s when Chris Lombardi was contemplating leaving the Peace Corps and I was still earning big money in the modeling industry, we’d sit around late at night in our one bedroom Upper East Side apartment and fantasize about starting the ultimate independent label. Sure, you had your Factory, Rough Trade, Touch & Go, Dischord, etc., but we were thinking of something so much bolder and adventurous. The kind of label that leave an aesthetic stamp on contemporary culture that you couldn’t wash off no matter how hard you scrubbed.

We never quite got around to starting that kind of label, but that’s mostly because TVT beat us to the punch. From the very first time we heard Sevendust’s “Black” — clearly that generation’s equivalent of Nirvana’s “Smells Like Teen Spirit” or the Sex Pistols’ “Anarchy In The UK”, we could see the writing on the wall. Music had changed. The world had changed.

Anyhow, that’s all ancient history. Once upon a time, this business was ruled by risk-takers and people who really loved music. The end of TVT Records — easily the most visionary independent imprint since the heyday of Enigma — should send a chill down the spine of every man, woman and child.

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