Behind the Vinyl: The Fallout of SCP Merchandising's Bankruptcy on Artists and Fans

Julia Falcone
Paul Miller

I recently got an unexpected email about a preorder regarding a vinyl record I ordered from an artist named Donna Missal. In the email, Missal explained how the merchandising company SCP Merchandising she was using went bankrupt and immediately ceased all orders. It resulted in orders not being fulfilled through the company, causing customers like myself to make a dispute with their credit card companies for a refund. As an apology and a way to continue her sales, she gave a promo of a signed card with your new vinyl purchase through a different company. At first, I was hesitant; I knew that US and Canadian-based vinyl and CD making plants ceased to exist when COVID-19 occurred. Now, most production regarding those products is made in Europe and occasionally Mexico. Hearing about this merchandising company was new to me. I waited a few days before repurchasing and did some research. I learned through an article on Billboard that many other artists as well as YouTuber’s were affected by this company. Some major names include – Mitski, Lizzy McAlpine, Carly Rae Jepson, EDEN, Good Mythical Morning, and many others.

SCP Merchandising was a company based in Chicago that started in 2013. Their LinkedIn profile says, “Past and present clients include: Billie Eilish, Keith Urban, Carly Rae Jepsen, Freddie Gibbs, Mitski, Smino, JackSepticEye, Ninja Sex Party, Neck Deep, Cavetown, Unus Annus, Concord Music Group, Manchester Orchestra, Dashboard Confessional, 3E Love, and Modist Brewing Co.” Their last post was about three months ago, and the post was an image of t-shirts from the band State Champs. It seems that the company had some issues with payment for production as well as consistently pushing back deadlines for their products. They officially had to file for Chapter 7 bankruptcy, which led to the dissolution of SCP Merchandising and the laying off of all their employees. When you click on their website, they have an obituary for a man named Stephen “Stevie” Hopkins, the founder and CEO of the company, and another clothing company called 3E Love for disabled individuals. Here is a statement from Hopkins detailing the reasons for the company's closure and his apology to his employees. The layoffs appeared towards the end of December, which shocked many of their employers and employees. On LinkedIn, I read posts from former employees about how they were let go and in search of a new job. It shows why so many artists and other creatives started to reach out to their customers in January. The industry usually takes a two-week break for the winter holidays at the same time when SCP merchandising was ceasing all production and work. The company had some issues with payment for production and consistently pushed back deadlines for these products in the year before the bankruptcy.

I feel sorry for many of these artists, creatives, and all others involved with this company. Merch is a way for fans to connect – representing artists and creatives they admire and love. It’s also an essential way for artists to make money since streaming isn’t profitable, only in the influence sense. I can’t say what comes next for merchandise for some artists, but now’s the chance for some smaller companies to come forward and use some up-and-coming creatives. For now, I feel lucky to be one of the few who still received my merch and even a personalized card.

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