Hi everyone, thanks for coming.
I only knew Mammoth Cave through Paul Lawton of The Ketamines. Ever since I've been online Paul has been thinking and writing about music at 7,10,12 or Weird Canada. I have to be honest I didn't even know he was from Canada or I probably would have liked him even sooner.
It wasn't long before he launched Mammoth Cave as a way to document overlooked local bands that indirectly became the great "Bloodstains across..." series. That's the story of countless important record labels that aren't about pushing units. I personally can't thank them enough for introducing me to the Famines. Mammoth Cave kept it as pure as that which is probably why we're now looking back on one of the greats. I want to believe that if you care about what you're putting out in the world like this you will find an audience to support you and that the boring business side will figure itself out. They did for 7 years and 44 releases. I guess things can't go on forever and there must be a point when that thing you loved starts to become that financial drag or just a pain in the ass.
At the risk of sounding too serious I guess what I'm saying is that you really can't take anything for granted. It's a sad day. Mammoth Cave, you will be missed. You are still an inspiration to go big, to press as many records as you think you possibly can - and to hell with the consequences.
You may leave your condolences on their facebook page.
After a solid run, we are shutting down Mammoth Cave Recording Co. All of our records are teeply discounted except for BA Johnston's records ("Shit Sucks" isn't even out yet!). Everything must go, and we are gonna be shutting the site down shortly. It's been fun. This is hard.
Many reasons for pulling the plug. We are bankrupt - financially and spiritually. We had some highlights, and are proud of the Canadian music we've been a part of sharing, but the well is dry.
We screwed up a lot. We lost a lot of money. We made a mill All in the misguided attempt to find something that worked. To get people as excited about the amazing Canadian bands that were more or less being undocumented.
But the world of creating and selling physical music artifacts was just getting harder every year. So the truth is that we tried, but we cannot stand in the face of the massive cultural shifts taking place that are completely out of our control.
The reality of being a truly independent Canadian label in 2015:
1) Pressing records: records take 120% longer to press than when we started. The "vinyl comeback" and "record store day" disproportionately favour Beatles reissues. SAMO Media were a life saver for us (if you are pressing records in Canada, it's SAMO or nothing), but vinyl production industry can be almost impossible for labels of our size.
2) Weak dollar: the weak Canadian dollar adds even more strain we have to import our records into Canada, and it costs Mammoth Cave 26% more to press a run of records due to the exchange rate, and we were already selling records at close to cost due to extra importing and shipping fees.
3) Canada Post: It now costs more to ship a record than it does to buy a record. And since we started charging the actual amount to ship an LP, we saw customers flat rejecting the REAL price. Postage rates gone up 44% in Canada since 2010. Also, Canada Post fails to deliver records sometimes, so we get to send things twice for twice the cost, but that's a whole other mess.
4) Music consumption patterns have changed: Since we started, music fans went from "collecting" to "downloading" to "streaming." We are a record company, not a digital music servicing company. We love records, we don't love playlists. And the nonsense about the "return of vinyl" has come at the cost of the people who have been keeping it alive all these years.
5) Granting: This whole letter could (and maybe should?) be about the uncompetitive nature of the Canadian music industry. The impenetrability of the Canadian grant system that should be primed to help Canadian music is in fact inhibiting competition. When some labels that sell just as many records as we do are able to subsidize all the issues above with millions of dollars in grant money, something is not right.
The result of this?
We are not alone. Many labels our size are barely holding on. We heard more than once already "we looked to Mammoth Cave as the label doing it right." We weren't.
This email may be preaching to the choir, but take chances on bands not delivered to you via mainstream channels. We had enough support to keep us going for 7 years and 44 releases, but ultimately it is completely unsustainable.
Lots of thanks for the love and support over the last 7 years, especially Arif Ansari, Jeff King and Tony Zucco. We couldn't have done this without true music fans like Dave Shiroky, Jordyn Marcellus and Chris Zuk whose constant enthusiasm kept us alive from day one. Thanks to all the bands who took this trip to the bottom with us. All the people we would love to single out and can't, don't think you were not appreciated. We could not have made this mess alone.
If you are still waiting for an order, it is coming. We won't disappear with your money. We will make everything that is wrong, right in the way that we always have.
In the meantime, fill the holes in your Mammoth Cave collection, and celebrate the amazing music we've been apart of over the years.
Lots of love,
Paul + Evan