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Spare a thought for independent label Topshelf Records today, which is scrambling to deal with the after-effects of its mail-order fulfilment partner going bankrupt.

The shutdown has left the label “tens of thousands of dollars” out of pocket, and dealing with the fact that “the property management company they leased from is withholding access to our inventory, treating it as collateral”.

To pay for the legal efforts ahead and other costs, the Portland, US-based label launched a Kickstarter crowdfunding campaign to raise $24k.

“Our business is still operating. We expect we can endure this and not have to lay off any staff, continue paying out artist royalties, cover our expenses etc,” explained the label in its Kickstarter page.

“We have started this campaign because we don’t know if we’re vastly overestimating how dire this is; we don’t know if we’re immensely underestimating how dire this is; we don’t know more than we know at this stage, but we know we need help.”

Here’s the good news: with 26 days until the campaign ends at the time of writing, the campaign is about to cross $34k of pledges.

But at a time of considerable economic uncertainties – not least around energy costs for all kinds of partners to music industry companies – it’s a reminder for Topshelf’s peers of one of the age-old threats for independent music firms operating on tight margins: a partner suddenly folding.

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