Granted, things weren’t looking especially rosy for Gypsy Eyes Records a few months ago when Washington City Paper ran this story, but co-founder Kalani Tifford was resolute that despite the music industry’s sagging fortunes, his label would be in it until the bitter end.
But last Thursday local blog DCist acquired and published an e-mail that Gypsy Eyes had privately circulated to its artists stating that it was “time to shutter” the label and that the musicians were being released from any contractual obligations. In other words, it’s the bitter end. When contacted for comment Tifford stated that Gypsy Eyes wasn’t entirely through—it’s just through putting out records. “We are still pitching tracks for licensing, still doing shows, and will still be fulfilling mail orders. We just are not actively doing anything to help promote our bands as we just don’t have the money,” said Tifford. “As a result of that, I can’t in good conscience pretend that we are doing anything for our bands and rather just let them go, give them the albums we have and wish them luck.”
Tifford made it clear that the label’s artists are still making music, even if Gypsy Eyes will no longer be putting that music out. “When that letter leaked—it just sheds a bad light because people will think that none of these guys [the bands] exist anymore,” explained Tifford. “That’s not true, they’re all still doing things.”
As for the decision, Tifford states that a number of factors were involved—including declining record sales, distribution woes, and the current state of the market. “We had been talking about it for a while, we had to look at the cold hard financials of it,” he said. “We can’t make the money, just flat out. Financially we all need to focus on things that are putting food on the table and paying the bills.”
Obviously, this is disappointing news for the artists on the label’s roster, but despite the leaked e-mail, Tifford says everybody has taken the news gracefully. “Everybody’s supportive of it,” said Tifford about the roster’s reaction to the news. “They’re like ‘It sucks, but thanks for trying.'”