Collect Records' acts criticise Turing Pharmaceuticals drug price-gouger Martin Shkreli
A host of bands signed to the Collect Records label have reacted to the revelation that controversial former hedge fund manager Martin Shkreli is an investor in the label.
Shkreli’s company Turing Pharmaceuticals has been criticised this week after buying the rights to life-saving drug Daraprim and significantly increasing the cost to users.
Since Turing purchased the rights to Daraprim, the cost of the drugs has increased 5,000 per cent – from $13.50 a tablet to $750. Daraprim is a medication used to help treat malaria and infections suffered by HIV-positive patients.
Collect Records is run by No Devotion and Thursday frontman Geoff Rickly. Music fan Shkreli was recently revealed to be a major investor behind the label and speaking to Noisey, Rickly expressed his surprise and regret at the news of Shkreli’s actions.
“My head is still spinning, and though I want to believe that there is some reason that [Shkreli] would do this that is some remotely positive way, the only thing I can see is that it is totally and completely heartbreaking,” he said.
Rickly added that the developments could mark the end of the label. He admitted: “I can’t see my future at all in the label. I have to see what the bands want first, and see if there is any meaning or any mission following all of this. More than anything, I want the bands to see that I hold art as the guiding force in my life. Ultimately I see this going in the same way it always does, where all the artists get blamed for everything and capitalism is never held accountable.
“I really think that if Collect is going to be scrutinized as being capitalism, but that is how music survives. I’m not making excuses for what has happened, but there is no corner of the music industry that doesn’t live and breathe from subsidies from business. It’s reductive and hypocritical to hold us and only us accountable though, we are all at fault in some greater way.”
Some of the bands signed to the label have spoken out about the news, with Dominic Palermo, frontman of Collect band Nothing, telling Noisey, “Nothing will never be a part of a label that involves Martin.”
Palermo continued in a Facebook statement, “Like [Rickly] has helped me with my problems the past few months, I plan on helping him in anyway I can.”
Meanwhile, Sick Feeling, also signed to Collect, told Fader, “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.”
Shkreli initially defended his actions, stating that the drug is so rarely used that the price increase will not have a huge impact. “This isn’t the greedy drug company trying to gouge patients, it is us trying to stay in business,” he said. “This is still one of the smallest pharmaceutical products in the world. It really doesn’t make sense to get any criticism for this.”
Shkreli later backtracked and has since announced his decision to lower the cost of Daraprim. He told CNBC: “There were mistakes made with respect to helping people understand why we took this action, I think that it makes sense to lower the price in response to the anger that was felt by people. I think in the society we live in today it is easy to want to villainise people, and obviously we are in an election cycle where this is very tough topic for people and very sensitive. And I understand the outrage.”
No Devotion, a band comprising of Rickly plus the former members of Lostprophets, release their debut album ‘Permanence’ via Collect Records this Friday (September 25).